Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hudson CX

Saturday CX - Hudson
I headed over to Hudson, Wisco for the CX race with Bella Maria on Saturday. She brought the Kona MTB with some sweet commuter wheels for her cross rig. That girl does it all - last year she did the Boom Island CX on a road bike, with regular road tires. Wow. Anyway, we pre-rode the course and I decided that it was pretty much made for me - flat and fairly technical with lots of tight corners, sand and mud. There was one little drop-off into a puddle, and Maria warned me after we warmed up not to go off the left side of it, because there was a big hole that she'd been fortunate enough to ride into. ....

Read more at Karla's blog...

Irongirl Duoathlon

Irongirl 2006 Cycle
Originally uploaded by evilpanda.
News girl note: You know those friends who always call when you are getting busy... it seems that me and blogger are the same way. Sorry about the lateness of this post.

This season has been a strange one for me – not really getting to
ride too much due to the personal life and injuries…but none the
less, I decided to sign up for the 2 duathlons I did last year, once

This past weekend, I raced in the Iron Girl Duathlon in Bloomington,
MN. Last year, the bike portion was terrible! There was a stretch
where we couldn't pass and I got stuck behind some grandma out for
her Sunday ride….literally…the woman wasn't even in the race! This
year, they changed the course due to so many complaints from the
athletes last year (which numbered 250). I had done a lot more
training last year for the race, and ended up 3rd in my age group,
and 26th of 250. This year, I had high expectations of myself to
finish in the top 15…maybe even top 10!

Boy, was I wrong at the level of athletes that would be there this
year! I knew that the pool had grown to 600 women competing, but I
didn't realize that there would be some people there who had just
finished the Ironman in Wisconsin, qualifying for Kona with a time of
less than 10 hours!!! I believe 3 of the top 5 all did that!

Needless to say, I decided that I couldn't compare myself to them…I
had not been training like they had this summer, so they could blow
me away. What I decided I'd do is compare myself to me from last
year. The distances this year were longer for running and for
riding, and the course was MUCH better!

I had a birthday the week before and decided to spend the time, until
Saturday in New York City. The plane ride home was nice (first
class!), and I did catch some good zzz's. However, there is
something to be said for traveling right before a race – I think I'd
like to not fly the night before. Oh well…I made the choice to have
fun on my birthday, now it was time to pay for that!

Running around Normandale Lake, the scenery was beautiful as the
colors are hitting their peaks. Starting out, I remembered how I
need to pace myself and not let the first run take my energy. I ran
comfortably, then got to transition (which was not designed well ---
you had to run around the area before getting into it --- doing that
with cycling shoes was not fun!). I realize that transitions are not
my strength! I hop onto the bike and start my clock. The gals who
had passed me on foot --- no challenge for me on the wheels! I
caught up to many and passed many women who were really strong on the
run. Their advantage is that they have another run after the bike –
my advantage is that the bike portion is 5 times as long as the run
portion! Not realizing how hilly Bloomington is, I was amazed at the
change in difficulty of the ride from last year. I kept in mind the
information that I had learned at Balance from Fiona, and Barb
Harrick in my mind saying "Keep the Cadence!" So I did that on those
long climbs. At one point, there was a spectator, obviously familiar
with cycling, who shouts at me on the climb "Great Cadence! You're
smoking!" Wow – that was really good to hear --- I was doing it
right, and someone noticed!!! I continued to play leap frog with
some of the gals who were strong, and on the second ½ of the ride,
managed to drop the leap froggers. My average was MUCH better than
last year on a course that was much more difficult. I heard many of
the other women stating how they thought the course was harder than
they had anticipated as well. Don't get me wrong – it wasn't a
course that was extreme or unbearable…just exceded my expectations!

All in all, I ended up 37 of 600 Athletes. I finished the race in
1:44. I guess I can say I'm pretty happy with my time and
placement. What I'm even happier about is the fact that I was out
there again, racing! Representing the Bellas in stylish fashion,
some of the people that were cheering recognized the Bella colors and
even shouted "GO BELLA!"

I love being associated with the Bellas – Oh la la!

Until next weekend's report from Green Bay – Ciao~

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

St. Cloud Cyclocross-- 9/24/06

At least 2 of our bellas were up there racing-- Barb and Karla!. Karla! has a race report up in her blog.

9/23/06 morning ride

n spite of threatening rain and pessimistic weather reports, I showed up to Harvest Moon to find 4 other Bellas already there. Barb, Kate, Jen, and... oops, Bruce, I guess he's not quite a Bella. But we can pretend for now. We chatted for a good 15 minutes and then headed out towards Wayzata. We took the Cedar Lake Trail out to somewhere and then wound through some neighborhoods. We chatted about the drama in our (mine and Jen's - the single ones) lives and then Bruce beat me on the townline sprint into Wayzata. Darnit. We had a potty stop at the Caribou, and then decided to make our way back on McGinty Drive. Barb beat me on the townline sprint on the way back, and then she had some intervals for us to do, so we opened up the legs with two 4-minutes intervals. That felt good. All in all we had a lovely ride, and it was even sunny by the time we got home! Nice.

by-- Karla


Originally uploaded by evilpanda.
What a great ride!

We were 7 (count 'em, SEVEN!) Bellas strong today (Jennifer, Paula,
Brooke, Manda, Maria, JoAnna (on her first ride with us!) and me),
plus one bonus Betty (Heather). All of us were absolutely thrilled
to see the sunshine and blue skies! Though the morning started cool,
we warmed up in no time with the help of that lately AWOL glowing orb
in the sky.

We set out into Shoreview, rolled eastward to Withrow, with every
mile bringing us closer to White Bear Lake AND . . . donuts and
coffee and pie, OH MY! The orchard was a nice carrot for us as we
rode on, especially as it seemed to take a while to finally come (it
was at around mile 30). We were happy to stop for a break. It
really felt like fall out there among the apples, and it's starting
to look like it, too, with lovely fall colors.

Thanks to Jennifer (via her friend, Julia, who gave her a coupon) we
all enjoyed a slice of FREE apple pie! Mmmmm. We had just finished
up our goodies when lo and behold - there were Sara(n) and little
Leo!! What a treat - yet another Bella AND our podium baby! They
stopped to chat and we promptly overwhelmed little Leo with our Bella
baby coos and happy greeting. The poor little guy burst into tears.
The waterworks didn't last long though and I have to say, that Leo
gets more adorable every time I see him. What a sweetie! Thanks for
coming out Sara(n)!

Sitting down to enjoy our orchard stop did give us a little chill,
and we decided it was time to continue. After a couple of teeth-
chattering minutes, the sun warmed us again as we continued back to
Bald Eagle Lake and on to Shoreview. What a great day. There was no
shortage of chat and laughter on this very nice ride. I think the
happy spirit was contagious - we sure got waved on through plenty of
stop signs AND didn't get honked at or yelled at even once! Our
total mileage was 45 at an average speed of 16.9 mph. (I haven't
downloaded my photos yet. If any turned out, I'll post 'em.)

Fall has only just begun. I hope the orchard will be a nice lure for
another ride soon - maybe October?

Thank you so much, ladies, for coming out and making the orchard ride
a success!! A very special thanks to JoAnna, for joining in on her
first Bella ride! It was great to have you, and WELCOME!

Have a great week, y'all!

Saturday, September 23, 2006


The season starts.. umm... today.

The first races are a-ways from the Twin Cities-- Taylor Falls on Saturday... (WAY WAY up by the North Dakota border) and St. Cloud on Sunday. Good luck to all racing.

Check out this 1924 cyclocross race. Looks fun, huh? Get out and ride. Run what you brung. While it's nice to have a cross bike... either a mountain bike or a road bike works just FINE on cyclocross courses.

And.. there's usually beer and chili afterwards.


The Bellas who showed up for our end of the year pinic had the pleasure of riding with Annemiek Sisterman. She kicks a lot ass and is hella fun to ride with. And.. she just started her journey from Minnesota to Texas to celebrate 5 years cancer-free.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Testing out Flickr

Originally uploaded by evilpanda.
This is photographic evidence that our Saturday morning rides DO occur. This was a ride I (manda) 'led' out to Wayzata.

I dragged a couple of my friends who wanted to know how to get to Wayzata by bike with...

This was back in April... It was a great day for April.. sunny and pretty warm.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Chemequaeon Race Report -- Brooke

My ride at the Fat Tire Festival -2006.

My significant other wasn't scheduled to work this weekend and decided he'd like to make the trip with me but only if we drove up Saturday a.m. so here I am up at the crack before dawn (4 a.m.) to load up the truck and get on the road by 5:30 a.m. Boy is it dark out then. Needed to arrive in Cable, WI between 8:30 - 9:30 to get my registration packet. That 3 hour + drive was forever.....on to the report.

Arrived Cable at 9:00 so about the start time for your race. My bike is a 1987 vintage Panasonic mountain bike long before any type of suspension came into play. (30 #s, 6 speed, 0 suspension) It was what they sold to kids who wanted to ride but not on skinny tires. I had brought along regular tires but because it was so dry figured I could manage on my commuter slicks. (Which, by the way was not such a bad idea for most of the course.) I had forgotten to remove my back brace so after I changed clothes and numbered myself and bike appropriately rode over to the Trek Tent to bum some tools to remove the extra weight. (Too bad I couldn't do that off myself, Ha!). It was about 9:30 by the time a stretched my legs out a bit from the drive and took my place in line about 1-1/2 blocks back from the start. That didn't really bother me all that much because I figured I could pass any really bad folks and I wouldn't be in the way of the really good ones. I don't think I saw but one or two other bikes without suspension and was thinking what have I got myself into now?

Within the first mile there was a major crash on a downhill on the paved road that took out 3 or 4 people right away. Another reason for me to hang back. That resulted in separating the thick traffic out pretty much and then we hit a very long dirty uphill which warmed everyone up and spread us out even more. I thought my heart was going to burst but got into a rhythm and just kept going. I was very impressed with myself that my mtb skills came back to me and was able to handle the course fairly well. The deep beach sand that occurred in several places caused me to fall right over like a turtle from lack of forward motion but only my pride got injured in the least little bit. I only had to walk to get going again because I couldn't get a purchase to start peddling. Most of the folks around me had to get off and walk as well so I was just part of the parade.

The downhills were a little bumpy without any suspension to help cushion the jolts and I had to keep reminding myself to let the bike choose the line and just float on down. I only hope I was talking to myself in my head and not out loud as I'm sometimes am apt to do when needing total concentration. There usually was no one around me as I reckless tore down the hills so I guess it really didn't matter. I had one other "crash" sort of when I tried to go up a very grassy long incline and flipped the bike over on top of me. Once again, only pride injured and I picked up the "horse" and got back on. I was forced to actually walk really only once on a very long grassy hill they called Big Bertha and even then I made it half-way up.

Coming into the final turns was very sandy and I spun out there but re-mounted and continued on. My finishing time of 1:45 was 15 minutes longer (a blazing 9 mph) than I had hoped but with the lack of preparation I put in I was fairly satisfied. I now know where all the other older women are that aren't out on the road, they're in the hills. There were quite a lot of oldsters on that list. Gladdened my heart to see all the 50+ on the list ahead of me. Next year maybe I'll do some more training and I'll be in the next age group and maybe some of them won't follow. I may also try to do the long course but 3 hours + of that may be more than I can take on the present bike. I'll need to see when March comes around and the Chemaqueon lottery is calling my name. It certainly was a blast and I look forward to doing it again.

Fat Tire Fest/Chequomegon--Barb's perspective

Congratulations to Sheryl, Brooke and yeah, myself for cometeing and
placing in the Fat Tire Fest.

Sheryl ROCKED! 12th woman overall in the 40, 1st 35-29 woman!
Brooke, 11th in her age group in the Short and Fat, btw, most women
did the S&F, so a competitive group.
Me, 41st woman in the 40, 3rd 45-49 woman.

It's great they give prizes in each age group. It's such a cool race
because you see every type of racer out there. Really, really fast,
and really, really not so fast. It's amazing to see all who come out
and do the thing. Just doing the thing is a big feat in itself. If
you have never done it, I highly recommend it.

This year the course was dry, dusty and fast. On the roll out to
Rosie's Feild, Robert flew past me with Sheryl tucked close behind.
Vroom! The transistion to dirt, grass and rocks was smooth and fast
and I knew this was going to be fun. Being a roadie it took me a
little while to get used to the bouncing going down hill on the Birke
Trial. Up,down, up down. I managed to follow one woman for a while
who was so smooth and picked great lines. I lost her when my pump
broke off and stopped to retrieve it. There it lay in the middle of
the trail; I played an exciting game of Frogger getting piciking it
up as riders came flying down a small, rocky hill. Back on the bike,
here and there there were traffic jams at the one mud puddle, and a
couple of sand traps. After a while the race settled in and I was
riding with a group. I had to give it some gas to get around this
guy I'll name Mr. Stinky Jersey. I'd pass him up hill, he'd pass me
downhill. Ack! I finally did get around him, only after a few
miles. The fire roads were fun; I'd pass a bunch of people, but
they'd pass me back on rocky sections. FireTower Hill was the usual
walk, ride, walk, "oh the humanity' grunt. At the top I managed to
ask about the free beer and about 5 guys offered me one. No, I
didn't, but I was tempted. I finished strong very glad for road
endurance and the small bit of riding off road I did the past couple
of weeks. I am pumped for next year.

Sunday ride to Afton

The lure of an Afton ride brought Bellas Karla, Manda, Barb&Bruce, and
Julia Mairs (a potential Bella) and her boyfriend Bob (a GP rider) out
to St. Paul at 8:00 on Sunday morning. However, all were quickly met
with disappointment when we decided to not ride out to Afton and
challenge the ridiculous headwinds we would encounter on our return to
the cities.

BUT, the initial disappointment didn't last. We did a great loop down
through Eagan, past Lebanon hills, across 494 and I'm not certain
where all else. :) (Thanks Barb, for your extensive route experience)

Highlight of the morning was perhaps the reunion of the two long lost
Dartmouth alumni -- Karla and Julia. Karla will give you the full
story, and I'm sure she has Blogged about it.

So, look for another Afton ride in the near future. The Afton
movement will not be thwarted by one Sunday of soul-sucking wind.

Thanks everyone for coming out.

-- thanks to Greiber for the report.

Karla also blogged about the Sunday ride and her track exploits..

---- and from me..
thanks to everyone for letting me a total wheel suck, and not dropping me in the suburbs.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Jesse James Ride Report-- by Kristy

So, I am proclaiming that this is the Ride that I was the Leader
for....Yes, I couldn't let my Bellas who signed up for it down....I
must show, I must ride on! I must know the route!!! (does this
really count as a ride I led???) ha ha! Here's the ride report, and
I do apologize for not being a great writer...but I'll give it a shot!

"100 miles - no problem! I can do this!!! I've done it before! I
know I can...."
Those were the initial thoughts I had on Saturday morning as I was
taking a warm shower to wake myself up! I also had thoughts
of "You've only ridden 300 miles this summer...this is going to be
25% of your entire time in the saddle today!" (due to a shoulder
dislocation...) and I didn't factor in the fact that it really was
flippin' cold and I didn't grab the right stuff to wear. Still, I
was going to do it....and I couldn't let another Bella down....she
was my support (or as she learned on the SAG...standing
for "Support and "Guidance" "). I don't think Jennifer really
understood what she had signed up for...and it wasn't the pain of the
100 miles for was the PITA (pain in the a...) that I was!!!

It started out with 2 people who didn't know each other, hadn't
talked to each other, and only shared a couple of emails to one
another prior to the ride. Unknown to each was the fact that they
were practically neighbors! So, the arrangements for the morning
pick up were fairly seamless - a great way to start the day! The
Friday night before the ride was a late one for both girls --- Kristy
(me) had been out with some friends the night before for "Girls
Night" and none of the friends seemed to really care or understand
what "riding 100 miles at 7:00 AM" was all about...they wanted me to
keep drinking. I'd cut myself off early enough, but the text message
from the concerned boyfriend at 11:00 pm summed it up for me...all it
read was: "100 Miles". I got the point...time to come home and get
some zzzzz's. Jennifer had been asked out on a random blind date,
and much to her avail, the night went nicely and finished a bottle of
wine much later than she had anticipated. 2 sleepy gals getting
ready for the 100 mile ride....great introductory setting. At least
we were both in the same boat!

The chat to get to know each other on the way to Northfield was
great - I got to vent about how I hoped the ex wouldn't be at the
ride as well, and she got to tell me all about her and her job,
things she enjoys, how she got into cycling, etc. When we arrived in
Northfield, we park the car (near the smelly horses....had to get the
nostrils ready for that smell for the ride!) and start to get ready.
As we exit the car, we notice the sea of yellow-jackets....and I
don't mean as in "Buzzing Bees"....only a cyclist could appreciate
the sea of yellow we saw as we decided to get ready for the ride. Of
course, we were in our bella blue and pink, and didn't have a jacket
to cover it up (shoot - we were going to be cold in our short
sleeves! Oh well...we're tough Bellas.) We parked next to an
inquisitive gentleman who commented on the pink hubs I have. Glad he
was looking at those instead of Jen in the car doing the "Towel
Change" she executed in perfect time! It seemed as though he was
fishing for some riding buddies, but we both agreed - "too weird!"
Besides, we needed to meet up with Kate! As we were waiting for
Kate, I decided I'd be lazy and let the crew from Erik's pump up my
tires. I wheel the bike over to the tent where the tech
says, "What's this!??!" as he holds up my Flander's and Turtleman
(Gear West) water bottles. I innocently exclaim "I don't have any
Erik's bottles....what do you expect!" After much poking (and
perhaps flirting), he comments on the pink fluid I have to match my
pink hubs and gives the hub a whirl to hear the Chris King "tick tick
tick tick" that they do so well and exclaims "aaah, music to my
ears". Jen gets hers checked out too and he comments on the nice
orange bike as he examines her apparently acceptable water bottles.
We go to check in and get the goods so we can be ready when Kate
arrives. Kate arrives; we greet her, go back and forth with her a
little between the car and "should we leave yet??" while she waits
for her other friends to arrive. Jen and I decide we should get
going, but we make one more trip to the school with Kate to check for
her friends to ensure we don't leave a Bella stranded. As we are
leaving the school to embark on the Century, the Erik's tent guy
says "Hey Ladies! I have something for you...." as he holds up 2
Erik's bottles. SCORE! (I needed one that didn't leak anyway....I
was disappointed with my sleepy grabbing of water bottles as it
was...the Turtleman one really has an issue and should be
recycled...). So, he again comments on the pink fluid matching and I
tell him "Hey, if you are going to match, you might as well go all
out..." Which left him thinking thoughts he chose not to say as he
said, "I won't say anything...." and as a classy Bella, I whispered
to Jen "but I'm not wearing any panties..." to which we both laughed.

The ride was to begin...The late night left room for the giddiness
and giggles. As we started our ride, more "get to know your riding
buddy" conversations ensued. As we pass most forms of Road Kill -
fox, skunk, coon, etc....the conversation morphs into having pets,
which neither of us have. We comment how it would be nice to have
one you could fold up and put into a drawer and pull it out when you
want and put it back when you want to drop everything and go on a
ride. Realizing that's not realistic, we discuss the opportunity for
Chia Pets....maybe we should ask for one in our stocking this year...

The ride was windy and on great roads (I was gaining points for the
smooth ones and losing them for the rough roads as the ride
leader...). Everyone in the pack was friendly and nice - what do we
expect from fellow bikers??!? Disappointingly, we didn't see many
women out there though.....but....there wasn't much eye candy either -
dang! We were cruising along averaging about 18 mph (which was
considerably fast in the wind and with the hills), until about mile
50 - when I told Jennifer "I'm 20 miles from the furthest distance
I've ridden all summer...and that was 2, 35 mile segments to
Stillwater!" I was getting tired, my legs felt tight....I was
becoming a complainer! ugh! Jennifer has great spirits and kept me
going (thanks girl!). As a group of guys passed us, around this
time, they commented "Hey, it's the pink hubs! Nice...!" and they
dropped us. We were ok with thatas we poked some fun back at them ---
there was about 6 yellow jackets in their group and they were all
pulling for each other. We were a team of 2 and we were side by
side...we are tough! At each stop, we spotted the guy who seemed to
want to ride with us....but he would usually leave before we did.
Eventually, we did come across a group of 3 guys whom we had earlier
dropped in a hurry on a down hill. **** By the way - if we wanted to
have a stellar cyclist, Jennifer's climbing abilities combined with
my downhill speed....we'd be a rock star!!!**** As we took off again
from the 3rd stop - about mile 65 or so....these guys commented on
our bikes once again - stating that the pink hubs and orange frame
were the 2 best looking bikes they'd seen out there! Then they
proceeded to tell us that WE were what was going to keep them going
at a decent rate. There was "The Dude" (We never did get his name)
who was leading their pack, Jeffery - the 60+ year old triathlete,
yoga instructor, and personal trainer, and Patrick - a cyclist who
had been out for 8 years and now has a bum knee.... So, what the
heck - I was getting somewhat tired, they were good humor....we stuck
with them for the rest of the ride and had a few good laughs with

There were no crashes or anything really adventurous to
report....just the simple fact that it was great to have a Bella
there with me!

Today I signed up to do the Ironman Wisconsin, 2007. I figured that
if I rode 400 miles this summer, 100 in one ride, I could do it.
I'll hear Jennifer in my ear saying "Oh come're doing can do it, just one stroke at a time!"

When Jennifer dropped me off at the house after the ride, I was happy
to be able to step into a warm shower, but was sad that the ride was
done "so soon". Going for that ride reminded me how much I truly do
miss riding with the Bellas and how much I look forward to finishing
this year strong and riding more next year with you gals. We have a
great crew --- and yes...even SAG amongst us - but it should stand
for "Support and Giggles"...There you go Jennifer --- that's what it
means....I've made another new meaning for it versus "Sorry A.. Get-

Signing off from the first ride report of the year --- sad and happy
to see the end of the ride -
along with Jennifer Greiber


Friday, September 08, 2006

Cross clinic on Sunday

It's a weekend full of events for Hollywood. He's sponsoring the Henderson Time Trials (is the name a coincidence..?! mayhaps...) and throwing a free cyclocross clinic. Click through to his site for more details.