11/23/03 - Give me a beat! Surf City Race Report
You have to RAP this for the full effect. Have fun....
oh by the way do I get to be a member of the dirty dozen cult now???
Woke up this morning to the sound of my alarm
Thinking maybe Ill race cross, it wont do any harm
Wake up my legs, maybe dust out a lung,
take advantage of being young, check out the boys who are well hung;
so I pack up my jersey, shorts and mountain bike,
a little music to get me feeling the psych,
singin all the way over highway seventeen
Im a cyclocross queen and Im ready to get mean;
Show up at the venue, park, pay my fee,
Say Hi to my teammate with the foot hip and knee,
Watch the Men As do a lap or two
(really I was drooling over who-who?)
start to thinking this is crazy - I cant ride like that!
Im new to this and my tires are fat
Thinking Ill be at the very back for sure
I remind myself, Velo Bella is the cure!
Stroll over to the booth, grin tooth to tooth,
This team is full of funky spunky youth;
So the course I can check, I hop on my Trek,
Think what the heck? Im gonna hit the deck&
Get in a little warm-up nevertheless,
So I was slightly nervous - I will confess!
Line up at the start, get ready to go,
My legs are all for it but my peddles say no no -
Clipping in skills I guess I tend to lack,
Dont got the knack, Im at the back of the pack;
Chasin and passin - feeling good as I could
Getting my groove, now Im jiggin in the hood!
Got caught behind a racer who took a tumble
She picked herself up and started to mumble
She was goin too durn fast, tryin to blast,
Now her confidence was a thing of the past,
Rode by her, kept on goin, pushin the pain
Hoping on the riders in the front I would gain;
Off the bike, double hop, and a run up the hill,
Got no skill, only will, and competition to kill;
Took a corner pretty badly and ate some dirt,
Got some mud on my shirt, but man it didnt hurt,
Hopped back on and had a tiny problem
Somewhere to the left was the way of my stem
The bars werent straight but hey why wait?
The bikes still great and so is my heart rate
Huffin and puffin all the way to lap three
Riding with some chick, I think she is a B?
Cut her off in a corner, trust me I felt bad
But I think it just made her pretty frickin mad -
What did she say? Girl youre gonna pay!
I guess she had her way cuz on the dirt again I lay
Somehow did a faceplant, I told you my skills are none!
Thankfully Im not the only one
She asked if I was okay, I drudgingly said yes
Picked myself back up, man I was a mess
But Ive got a race to finish and Im on lap four
Gimme some more! Ill take you, whore! Even though my legs are sore
I run it up that beast, knowing its the last
Muttering obsenities, I dont feel very fast;
Lori, make no mistake, the winnings she did take
The rest of the field did buckle and break
But I rolled in for second in my very first race,
Not with grace, a dirty face, and off Loris pace
But hey that chick is brutal, I know her sprint!
Just thought maybe I should put this down in print:
Cyclocross is fun and I had a great day,
Feeling gray? Let me say, cross is the way!
Got a new respect, I mean some r-e-s-p-e-c-t
For anyone who tries it he, she, or me!
(or the walrus in my bath tub, scrubby dub dub!)
11/10/03 - A Happy Day at the Fairgrounds
Saturday morning I was in kind of a funk. The reason why is a relatively long, boring, career-related story so I will spare you all the details. Anyhow, driving out to the Watsonville fairgrounds I was feeling kinda bummed out. Alone in my Subaru, under the grey skies, the world did not seem like a happy place. Fast forward several hours and one cross race later & same girl, same Subaru (though now the tunes are pumping), and an entirely new attitude. It is really amazing to me how much happiness that biking, and Velo Bella in particular, can bring me. Its like a massivedose of good vibes and smiles being around Bellas, and especially at a Surf City cross race!
The fairgrounds are always my favorite courses. There is something about swooping around the stables that always brings out that blissfully happy inner child in me. I knew I would cheer up quick after seeing Laura soon after my arrival. She was just being herself if you know Laura then you know that thats enough to put a smile on just about anybodys face!
The race itself was full of Bella Love. Amy and Dave graciously fed us, while Jen cheered us on. Being a bad-ass racer herself Jen knows exactly what to say to unleash our competitive sides and definitely encouraged everybody to dial up the suffer meter. Sabine graciously lent me her beloved Bonny, a bicycle that is fine beyond words. Ashlyn was out there tearing it up looking like her usual hot-mama self (ok, some day after a race or ride I think we need beauty tips from Ashlyn how can she always look so good?). I spent the entire race trying to catch Jessie, but alas, some things are not meant to be. I ran into Valerie as she was leaving. She has got to be about the cheeriest racer of all time. So much happy energy! Anybody who wears a french maid outfit to their first cross race is clearly someone that belongs on this team!
So, I ended the day with a smile on face being reminded once again of whats important in life.
11/10/03 - First Timer Race Report
Editor's Note: Valeries race reports should be read with the loveliest of French accents for full effect.
On Saturday, after a very short night, I arrived just in time to register, say hi to some of the girls, and preride the course. After some nice chatting, cheering and admiring the As then the Bs, here we went. I pushed of all my strength and nobody was in front of me: I didn't feel in the right place, and quickly after the first barrier I felt relieved to see this fast mountain biker take the lead, before another girl which followed her. Now I tried to stay there but... arriving at the first small rideable hill, I got a chain suck, and some girls passed me. Later, the chain would get out twice, and that long run up while pushing my bike killed me even more at each lap!
At the same time I had so much encouragement along the course, and I enjoyed so much chasing after being passed over and over that my joy of racing was greater than the deception about my bike and my fitness...I also laughed afterward: I did only 3 laps, and nobody around was sure if it was over; so I went on for a fourth lap with Gina following me, before we both realized that we were the only ones on the course, and that it was time to go back and rest ;-)
Sunday morning, I slowly ate my breakfast at 10am, until I realized that maybe the Pilarcitos C series started earlier than 12am. I checked on the website, and... damn it! I rushed the kids: "mom has to go, you'd better get ready and fast"! At least the drive was not too long (around 30 mn), and again I still had time to say hello, and preride.
I preferred that course to the 2 previous ones in this Series, for its technical turns and downs in the forest, though I'm never very fond of the fast parts on the pavement. Otherwise, pretty the same scenario repeated: the chain came out twice, I had a hard time changing my gear, but I had fun trying to catch up with the girls that passed me, sliding down, hopping the curbs, and pushing hard. Finally, I thought I was very lucky compared to that girl (Christine? I think) whose wheel came out!
What I learned from last week-end?
- I should have oiled my chain right after I washed my bike last Friday (I rode in the mud by the Bay to test my new thiner tires). Now it's all rusty, and even putting some oil on Sunday morning didn't help.
- The nice and warm cheering around the course "Yeah Bella!" is a more powerful encouragement to me than I suspected until now, specially when problems arise.
- I have more and more pleasure while racing, but I can't help thinking of Christine and now Kathleen (a strong MTBiker from TWW) afterward. I decided to be more serious warming up more before each race and not forget to stretch after (even if it's not all, I should at least do the basic)...
- I was amazed to see how the C group was getting stronger and competitive. Besides the Bellas, some mountain bikers, the impressive Velo Girls Team, and many others made our category look so professional! You go girls!!!
Now I will enjoy a race break, and I hope I will get better prepared for the rest of the season. See you all soon!
11/10/03 - Doubleheader Race Report
Too bad the big anticipated storm didn't bring us the soggy mud puddles we love to play in, but both the Surf City and Pilarcitos races had great course designs and good traction. I missed having Christine at the races to work with, but was really happy when I lined up at Surf City and looked behind me to see a swarm of Velo Bellas ready to rock! We are definetly the best represented team out there!
I have been working on my starts this year, and I did well, sticking with the lead group of Carmen, Rachel, and Gina through the first half lap. I was gapped on a windy straighaway and by the next lap I was surrounded by the Kelly team, Stella and Dorothy and some other tag alongs. Dorothy jumped in front for a bit, then Stella attacked and Dorothy blocked. I got around, caught up to Stella and attacked up a hill, shaking off all but one other rider. The were lots of fast turns, and I was loving the way my sweet Rock Lobster takes the corners like a crit bike - so smooth!! It seemed like a short race, and the first lap card I saw said 2 to go. I put in another surge as I crested the big run up, and had enough of a gap to ride in solo for 4th place.
Post race I talked strategy with my water-boy, Anastasio Flores, who has consistently given me great advice and helped me improve tons in the past year. He says the top girls normally get most of their gap on the first lap and then settle down, only gaining a few seconds on each of the remaining laps. I have found that although I hang with them for the first few minutes, I back off too soon out of fear of exploding from their lead out pace. I'm determined to try and hang in there longer and see if they do settle down. Soon, soon....
Sunday it was raining hard in Santa Cruz and I left early for the stormy drive to the Pilarcitos race. I ran into trouble on the 17, where on the first corner after the summit I had to come to a sudden stop, locking up the brakes in my soccer mom minivan and nearly crashing. Someone had just flipped their little Datsun 200sx and its flattened shell was blocking the right lane. I was one of the first to arrive post accident. I used to work as a beach lifeguard and marine rescue worker, so I still feel morally obligated to stop and help, even though I felt sick to my stomach imagining what the occupants of vehicle might look like in that twisted wreck. I was the only person on scene with any medical training. It seemed really grim. The lone occupant was able to crawl out of the wreck with some assistance, and I was so glad that he knew his name, age and had feeling in all extremities. He had a good gash on his head with lots of blood, and possibly more serious injuries that weren't visible, but mostly what he needed was reassurance. What still haunts me is how scared he was. I think most of us have experienced that kind of fear in bad bike crashes, but flipping a car on Highway 17 has got to be one of the most frightening things a person can do. We wrapped him in blankets and kept telling him he would be okay. Soon an ER doctor stopped to help, and confirmed my feelings that he would pull through. It took forever to hear those sirens approach, but finally the medics arrived. I left and continued on my way to the race, trying to psych up and put the crash out of my mind.
The course had a nice steep hill and a fun twisty descent, but about 2K of the 3K course was flat and most of that was paved. There was wind, so the smart way to ride was to be in a group and stay out of the wind. Ann Knapp joined the three top riders from the day before, leaving just one podium spot for us mere mortal riders. Again I had a good start, (and Ann Cigan was right on my wheel - yeah!!). I stayed with the top four riders until we neared the top of the climb. Again I got gapped (aarrrgggh) and before too long I was joined by Erin Kassoy (cat 2 road for Palo Alto) and Barb Howe (pro MTB). They are both super strong and this is their first year racing cross. Looks like they picked it up quick and are going to be contenders.
I was happy to be in a strong trio and imagined the race would play out like a road race, but I flatted with three and a half laps to go. I had a least a mile of riding to get to the pit, and by then I was way off the back. I put in some effort to chase, but the damage was done. Oh well, I just tried to focus on technique and smiled for the cameras.
Sunny weather is in the forcast, so I guess we'll have to keep waiting for the mud. There were many many Bellas out racing the double header, great job to everyone!
11/02/03 - CX in Reno&brrrrrr
Sarah, I will give you the short and sweet version of the race. It was
cold!!! Just how cold you ask? The temperature was 26 degrees at the start with a pretty good wind chill factor on top of that.
I used to think I was a MTN girl but living in Chico has spoiled me. The course was loose in spots and had two decent run ups that were extra hard since no one could feel there feet. Rachel was off the front quickly, and the rest of us try to maintain in the cold. I was able to work with Hillary and Melodie Metzger for quite some time until about 2 laps to go and Hillary surgedforward, and Melodie and I worked together until 1/2 lap then Melodie pulled forward. I was just happy to survive the cold, and all I could think about was a cup of hot coffee and a warm car!!!!!
You were smart to rest; racing below 30 degrees takes it out of you.