Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

PURRR......fect Night Out!

Last night the Mid-Atlantic Bellas met at the Cork bar for Happy Hour and meeting new Bellas. We had such a great time, this is sure to become a regular event!

A few folks had a hard time getting into the city, but by the end of the evening we had well over 14, much to the dismay of the poor hostess, Diane!

We talked about road and criterium racing, but most were interested in hearing more about cyclo-cross.....I think there will be a few more interested in trying that out this season! Bella Melanie Swartz hosted a fantastic CX clinic on Wednesday, and Nikki and Kimberly were proud of their top Bella!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cyclocross Season is Here!

Come join the Bella's for a special Women's only Cyclocross clinic sponsored by DCMTB and City Bikes!

DCMTB/City Bikes will be conducting a series of free Cyclocross clinics on Wednesdays in September at Ft. Reno in Washington DC from 6pm untill dark. The clinics will feature basic cyclocross instruction from DCMTB team members and other experienced local racers.

September 3rd will be a special women’s only DC-ChiX clinic with instruction by Velo Bella Melanie Swartz

September 10, 17, and 24 will be open to all.

Space is limited, so email gwadzilla8"at"yahoo.com

Dates: 9/3 (Women Only), 9/10, 9/17, 9/24

Time: 6pm

Location: Ft. Reno Park, Northwest Washington, DC

Cost: Free; bring your USAC license is you have one, if not we’ll cover the cost of your 1-day license

6:00 pm - 6:10 - registration
6:15 - 6:45 pm - skills instruction
6:45 - 7:30 pm (light permitting) - unstructured skills work and ride on practice loop.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mid-A Bella In The News!

Cyclingnews.com wanted to showcase the Velo Bella-Kona cyclists who were also serving in the military. While there are 5 active-duty Bellas, they chose to write mostly about Mid-Atlantic Bella Nicole Shue! Check out the full article below.

Velo Bella-When Duty Calls

DISCLAIMER: Nicole has never been ashore in Iraq. She was last stationed off the Northern Arabian Gulf in 2004, but has never been stationed ashore, and is not currently there. That is a very sensitive distinction, as I'm sure all can appreciate. There are thousands of Navy personnel currently serving ashore in Iraq and Afganistan, in very dangerous, important positions helping out the other services, but she have always served aboard a ship when deployed, and is currently serving in Washington, DC.

Also, she was actually training for a half-ironman, not a full ironman distance race.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Shiny New Velo Bella-Kona Bike!

The frame has been sitting around my house for almost a year, but this week I finally got all the various parts and pieces together, thanks to sponsors Kona, Easton, Giro, Crank Brothers, Bikeman, and my favorite bike shop, Conte's , who built up my bike.

She's soooo pretty! I'm thinking that I need a pink saddle too. Maybe Santa's watching!

I'll be doing my very first Cyclocross race on the bike tomorrow, DCCX, the first and only cross race inside the District! I rode the bike today for about an hour since the rain has finally stopped. I'm not very good at clipping into the "eggbeater" pedals, so tomorrow shall be entertaining.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Shue Finishes Strong at the Nation's Triathlon!

What a difference a week makes! I went into this race with zero expectations, bummed about last week's poor finish and podium miss. I was ready for the tri season to be over!

I awoke to a fantastically fabulous fall day. Not a cloud in the sky; cool, clear, crisp air and a definite electric charge all around! It was awesome to walk out my front door and ride my bike to the race site in Georgetown. The Georgetown waterfront was beautiful, clear blue skies--a perfect "San Diego morning".

THE SWIM (29:53)
Age group 10/31
The Potomac isn't the nastiest water I've ever been in. It was actually quite nice. Didn't smell bad, didn't taste bad, and it was actually better visibility UNDER-water than above. We jumped off the floating dock into the water, swam down to the Key Bridge, and then turned around for the down-stream, slightly longer leg back. Problem was that the sun was right in our face. It was a total white-out. The entire river seemed on fire with light. I couldn't see anything. I had to stop 3 or 4 times to try to hear others around me, and look backwards at the bouys to know where to swim forwards. Needless to say, it was a brutal swim!

T1 (3:12)
Age group 4/31
It was a fairly long run from the swim to the transition area--about the same as last week at General Smallwood.

THE BIKE (1:07:58)
Age group 3/31
I took off flying past the Kennedy Center, checked my computer and it said 24mph! WOW, I thought, this is going to be a good race! I was flying all the way until the tip of Hain's Point, and as I rode around "The Awakening" statue, I "awokened" to the fact that my 24mph was a result of a heady tailwind, which was now a full-on brutal headwind. It was all I could do to keep it in the 15-18mph range. Two loops, where 3/4 of each loop had the headwind or a nasty cross-wind. I was passing folks left and right, and really enjoyed the ride through all the Monuments. What a gorgeous course!

T2 (:56)
Age group 1/31 (Yeah!)
No cramping, no need for water, in and out, lickety-split!

THE RUN (46:42)
Age group 3/31
I had no idea where I was time-wise, but after last week's fiasco and my 5-second loss for 3rd place, I knew I needed to just run. Run, Forest, Run! The course took us up Whitehurst Fwy, then over a makeshift staircase to the other side of Whitehurst and back down again. The motorcycle camera caught up to me and I had a brief conversation with them, but then I was off! It was great seeing so many DC-Tri folks running, and we were all giving each other the "thumbs-up" as we passed; volunteers were shouting and encouraging, and the energy was unbelievable! Next thing I knew I was at mile 3. Completely afraid to look at my watch, I just kept on plowing, telling myself that I didn't have to do another run this year, so you better run your heart out and leave nothing in the bank! And then I saw the "Mile 5" marker. And I felt great! I picked up the speed again. Then some guy behind me actually asked me where the Smithsonian was; having told him there were numerous ones, but the Natural History Museum was right in front of us; he then asked which one was best!? Really. We had a total conversation while I was running a sub-8 minute pace; my fastest 10k run ever (triathlon or otherwise)!

THE FINISH (2:28:40)*Personal Best*
Age group 3/31
Overall 29/230 women (845 total participants)

As I turned onto 12th street from Constitution, I noticed that there were runners running in both directions. How long was Mile 5 anyway?!? Then I turned right onto Pennsylvania Avenue, running straight at the United States Capitol. WOW, what a sight! And then, at the foot of the Capitol, we did a U-turn around a red-hot new Porche, and it was a 4 block straight-shot to victory! I picked up the pace, saw a few folks ahead of me and kicked it in. There wasn't a chance that I was going to give up this week. This week I was going to FINISH STRONG!

It wasn't until I saw the finisher's clock (which was ~45 minutes ahead of my time) when I realized I might actually have run a sub 2:30 race. And then I looked down at my watch. I couldn't believe it! My watch said 2:29:17, and I started my watch about :40 seconds early before the swim (so I'm always a bit suprised by my "official" time). Not only did I finish strong, but I had CRUSHED my all-time-best, and finally made the "sub-2:30 club". I also managed to requalify for USAT Age Group Nationals again next year!

For all the nay-sayers, and folks who never thought it'd happen, the Nation's Tri is one of the all-time best triathlon experiences I've ever had! I can't wait till next year!

NBC News Coverage
Race Results

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cyclocross Season Begins

Today was the start to the cyclocross season - kicking off with the MABRA series race in Baltimore at Druid Hill Park. The numbers and rowdiness of the racers and spectators in attendance prove that cyclocross is hot (and so is the weather) in the Mid-Atlantic and growing.

The women's B field had about 30 racers (the biggest women's B field ever) - including two Velo Bellas - veteran cyclocrosser Marisa Peacock, and first time racer Hillary Styer. Both of them looked great and held their own against a stacked mixed field ranging from first time bike racers to the winner who is a top local road racer and already experienced cyclocrosser. The two Bellas looked great and raced well. Marisa is coming into form and will have a great season as a Bella. Hillary learned a lot from this first race - especially about warming up and what not to eat before races and will continue to get stronger as the season progresses.

Later in the day (after literally 100s of racers had already crossed the finish line) the elite women took off. For the elite women, the promoter was offering a huge payout for the women's purse ($900 total). I think 25 women showed up to take their chance to get some cash. The Velo Bellas (Jen Bodine and I) were at the front and for the most part in control of the early race, growing a sizeable gap with our lead pack of 5 riders over the rest of the field. We set Jenny up for the honorable first lap prime offered by BikeReg.com which she claimed. Mel's race turned into a melee of mechanicals and mistakes brought on by heat and frustration and bad luck and was able to finish thanks to the support of Morgan as pit crew. Jenny rode strong and was always there willing to drag her teammate back to the other riders if needed. The Velo Bellas ended up finishing in the money and in the top 10.

Alicia battled the boys in the juniors race. Some of them may have been faster, but she looked the smoothest going over the barriers. And she's mastered her dismounts and mounts of the bike better than most of the pros! Alicia may be the first junior woman in the MABRA series to ever race. If she keeps it up she may be paving the way for a new junior women's category next year.

Mel, Hillary, Marisa, and Alicia are going to carry the cx momentum in to next weeks MABRA race at LilyPonds in western MD, and will be joined by a few more Bellas - including Kim Wendell for her inaugural cyclocross race.

Jenny is heading to Vegas to join the Velo Bella cyclocross elite team to work at Interbike and to race the UCI cyclocross race Wednesday night, followed by the World Criterium Championship race Thursday (also in Vegas). Needless to say, Jenny will hopefully be taking Sunday off to rest while we are playing with our bikes.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hard Lessons at General Smallwood

The morning arrived hot, humid, and horrible! How it could be 40 degrees last weekend and 80 degrees at 5 am this race morning are beyond me!

My friend Jean and her boyfriend Ken (both Coppi riders) came to volunteer, and it was great to actually have people who knew me cheering me on at a race for once! Ken was on the bullhorn for the swim start....

THE SWIM (29:30)
Age Group 9/23
Overall 29/77 women

This course, same as last year, was very grassy--tons of hydrilla in the water made for a swampy swim. It's two loops out and back, easy enough. It was really hot in the wetsuit, but I had a pretty straight swim, only veered off course once!

T1 (3:46)
Age Group 5/23
Overall 18/77
Again, same as last year, a long, over .25mile run up to the transition. I stashed my flip-flops and they helped with the concrete/gravel to transition.

THE BIKE (1:15:40)
Age Group 2/23
Overall 7/77
I rented Zipp 404's from Conte's, and they were great! I had a great time on the course. It seemed flatter than I remembered it--guess that's what happens when you ride the Pyrenees a few weeks earlier! I had a smoking bike, and even got kudos on the course from a number of the women I passed. Go Bella!

T2 (:56)
Age Group 2/23
Overall 5/77

THE RUN (52:58)
Age Group 3/23
Overall 17/77

I thought I was mentally prepared for the out-and-back hilly run from last year. But, the race director, David Glover, had a trick up his sleeve! The final mile of the race was a trail/cross country route instead of back down the road through the park entrance.

THE FINISH (2:42:48)
Age Group 4th place
Overall 16th place

At about 400m to the finish line, a lady caught up to me, shouted "We're almost there, come on" and took off ahead of me. Well, she looked to be in an older age group (no number on her calf) and the course wound down a narrow path where it then went uphill over a wooden bridge. At this point, I was just not mentally tough enough, and I let the lady pass me. Turns out she was in my age group, and beat me by 5 seconds and ended up taking 3rd.

I learned a hard lesson today; never, EVER give up a strong finish. I don't care if it's a 90 year old man next time, I'm racing strong to the end.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Annapolis Inagural Triathlon

By Nikki

I had to set up the two transition areas race-morning, so my day started at 4:30 am, but my race wave didn't go off until 7:30!

THE SWIM (29:33)
I felt like I hadn't swam in months when I hit the water--pretty much because I hadn't swam in months! The water was really warm, and very murky brown. Apparently the wave behind me was a vicious attack of drowning attempts, and pulling legs to propel ahead, but I didn't get any of that in my wave. Perhaps because I just don't look like much competition in the water!

T1 (2:09)
I felt fine running out of the water, but when I got to my bike, my suit got stuck on my left ankle, so I flexed my toe to remove it and my calf seized up with a Charlie Horse. Nearly took me to the ground in excruciating pain! Had to stop and massage the calf for a good minute because I figured better once in T1 than have it cramp again on the bike.

THE BIKE (1:08:07)

The course was very crowded, single-file many portions and hard to pass, and had to use brakes to keep from drafting where there was no room to pass. Way too crowded! My calf was still very tight, but never seized on me. Had a good chase with the USNA and USMA girls--between me and the Middy we pushed really hard and in the end we pulled the USMA girl out of her comfort zone and she bonked on the run. Go Navy! Beat Army! The last few kilometers, a guy in a Mid-Maryland kit commented on my Bella pink, and we battled each other all the way to the transition, it was fun, but if he's reading, you still got beat by the older chick in Pink! While this was my fastest split ever, since the course was 2K short, no idea if this would have been a PR for me or not.

T2 (1:40)
It was an uphill dismount and people were stopped all over the place way before the dismount and I nearly crashed. Once I got off the bike and tried to run with the bike, my calf seized again; so I limped my way all the way to the back of T2 to my rack and had to re-massage my calf. Took 4 more thermalites and 2 excedrine and limped out of T2.

THE RUN (53:39)
I started out very slow, small steps, and rolling my foot fully to stretch my calf muscle as I ran. Mid-Maryland guy was right behind me, and I kept expecting him to pass me but he never did--took 'till mile 2 before my calf finally loosened up and I didn't feel it at all. By mile 3 I glanced down at my watch and saw that I was at 2:09 overall. Quick calculation said that I could probably get under 2:39 so I picked up the pace. At the top of the bridge my hip flexors were hurting, but I knew I had more in me so I took big strides coming down the bridge and picked up the pace.

THE FINISH (2:35:05--a Personal Best!)
At 400m to go I smiled to myself and thought of the last 400m on the Port de Bales climb and knew this was gonna be a piece of cake; then a chick with a "36" on her calf ran passed me, I kept pace, she picked it up, and at 200m we were in a full sprint, everyone cheering us both on, and as I saw the opening to the Stadium I bounded ahead, leaving her in the dust!

Overall, I was really frustrated that it wasn't a standard 1.5k/40k/10k race as originally advertised, but the finish line was pretty cool! And I got to see fellow Navy teammate Tommy Brown (what a cutie!) take the overall Professional Win too!

Complete Results
Overall Rank = 50/377
Age Group Rank = 8/53

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mid-A Bellas Together At Last!

The Velo Bella's managed to get together for the last road race of the season, the Carlisle PA championship!

The sun was still sleeping as we headed out of town, but by 7am, it was dawning to be a fantastic, and uncharacteristically chilly August day! It felt like a crisp fall morning as we stepped out into the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside.
Nikki and new Bella Zina were the first to arrive, shortly followed by the Styer gang--Hillary, Morgan and little Podium Boy Ethan.

There were 14 Cat 4 racers, 2 of us Bellas. This would be Hillary's first ever road race, only Nikki's second. Zina and Morgan were our support crew, decked out with grass skirt flair! Regardless of how painful the race was going to be, we knew that the Bellas would show everyone how to have fun!

It was a short neutral roll to the start and then we were off. The course was 5 times around a 5.4 mile loop in the Pennsylvania farmland. There were a few very gentle undulating hills, with 3 or 4 very technical 90 degree turns, and one very steep 300m hill on the back side.

The first loop was definitely a warm-up, we were going very very slow. Half way into lap 2 the local PA team made an attack for the hill. Nikki and 3 other gals sped off to catch her, but couldn't keep the pace up the steep hill. So, there were 3 girls off the front, and a middle pack of about 8, and 3 or 4 girls who had fallen off the back end.

The race stayed pretty well broken up through the end. It was a great race, and we had a great time! Hillary finally did her first race and we're all very proud of her! The Cat 1/2/3 race had no breakaways, and ended up being a sprint finish, despite Melanie's hard efforts to get the other girls to work and put some excitment into the ride. In the end, Barb sprinted away with a second place finish, beating out many of the Cat 1/2 girls! GO BELLAS!

Race Results


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My First Triathlon

By Sheryl
Darleen and Sheryl in their First Relay Triathlon
This season has been kind of crazy. I haven't done any bike racing and we moved again for the second time in two years. So, despite having almost no time to train and not knowing how to swim, I decided to try a triathlon near my new home town.

The Wilkes Barre Triathlon is olympic distance. I was smart enough to know I needed help for this one, so I enlisted my cousin and honorary Bella, Darleen, to do the run. I took 6 weeks of swimming lessons, attached some aero bars, got my totally awesome Bella tri kit, and I was ready to go!

The triathlon was this past Sunday and there were about 500 competitors. Nervous, but excited, I got my race numbers painted on, and I jumped into Harvey's Lake for the swim. 0.9 miles of open water swimming is a whole lot farther than I thought! Not to mention, everytime I put my head down into the water to swim free-style, I would see the waving seaweed, get totally disoriented, and panic. I ended up swimming the whole distance backstroke.

I had a reasonably good swim to bike transition, but with the shaking fatigue in my body from the endless swim, I struggled on the hills. I was never so happy to see my runner waiting in the transition zone after cycling the 25 miles with my heart rate about 190 bpm!

We finished 4/5 in the women's relay field. I am just grateful that we did finish. Next year I am going to try it again and race as an individual...and you can bet I will be practicing swimming in open water!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Shue Racing for the US NAVY!

Mid-A Bella Nikki Shue was selected as a member of the Navy Women's team to race in the Armed Forces Triathlon championship!

Each branch of service has 6 men and 4 women on their team. Well, turns out that Andy Baldwin "The Bachelor" was on the Navy team! Yikes! He's as hot and hard-bodied as he was on TV, and a very nice guy, and actually a pretty good triathlete to boot! And I can neither confirm nor deny if I had anything to do with his recent breakup with Tessa.....

Friday dawned, and after another fantastic swim (sans wetsuit) in the Pacific Ocean, we headed to get our uniforms issued. Oh the schwag we got! Race kit, extra bib shorts, running shoes, polo shirts that were WAY TOO BIG, backpacks, arm-warmers, socks, on and on and on! It finally hit me; this was the big time!

Saturday arrived much too quickly and I was filled with more angst than I've ever had pre-race! there were only 75 racers; just 23 women. How the hell was I going to save face!?! I decided I only had three goals for the race: not be last, Beat Army!, and revel in the fact that I was racing with Elite athletes! While it wasn't my best performance, I can happily report that I met all three goals (but just barely!).

THE SWIM (31:01)
The thing about ITU/draft-legal racing is that it basically negates the bike leg of the race; if you aren't out of the water with the rest of the pack, you are screwed. I had a great first loop, and when I jumped back into the water for loop #2, I was right in the middle of the pack, well on my way to a PR. Unfortunately, I somehow failed to make the turn around the last bouy to shore, and I continued down the coast heading to San Diego....by the time I realized my mistake I was a good 300m off the back. Pathetically, I was 72/75 on the swim.

T1 (1:38)
Fortunately, teammate Kristen was still in transition when I stumbled to my bike, and we were able to work together to close the gap. Horay for Kristen!

THE BIKE (1:07:05)
As I said before, the importance of the bike is significantly reduced in a draft-legal race; unless that is, you need to crush the bike to catch up to the pack. Kristen and I hammered like I've never hammered before. We had a headwind coming off the ocean for half the course, and it was a 4 loop course! We did two loops ourselves, then caught a USMC gal who tagged along in our pace line, and on the back end we picked up fellow Navy teammate Lindsay. Unfortuately, neither the Marine nor Lindsay were experienced riders and they tapped wheels. Luckily, noone went down, but Kristen and I decided it was time to make a break. So, on the final lap we charged ahead and ended up passing 3 or 4 other riders right before coming into T2. I moved up significantly in ranking to 59th place in the bike (14th Female).

T2 (1:00)I got off the bike to run to my rack and nearly fell to the ground. My legs were toast. No, they were jelly. I knew I had absolutely nothing left, and this was going to be the worst run/race of my life!!

THE RUN (do I have to tell you? 58:34)
The Run. The--long, straight, into the headwind, up the sanddunes, down the sanddunes, back around the sanddunes, and up the sanddunes over and over again--Run. Thank God I had my friend Catherine there to cheer me on, and make me smile 5 times as I slowly turtled my way back and forth, back and forth, back and forth across that course. It was brutal.

THE END 2:39:18
I was being passed left and right, and there was nothing I could do about it. The brain wasn't computing with the muscles. It just wasn't happening. All I had going for me was that there was one Army chick behind me. And that's where she stayed!
I finished second to last, within one minute of my teammate Lindsay and 3 other girls, but a good 6 minutes ahead of the Army girl. And, technically, it was a PR. However, considering it was draft-legal and pancake flat, I should have been in the 2:25 range.

Overall, the Navy Men's team took the Gold, with Elite triathlete Tim O'Donnell taking first overall (1:49:32), followed by Tommy Brown in second place (1:56:12). The fastest female was former Navy-turned Marine Justine Whipple (2:05:45). The Bachelor beat that with a 2:05:05, so he is definitely legit! The Navy Women's team was last, but we did get Rachel Beckmann on the podium with a 4th place finish (2:15:55) and a spot at the CISM World Championships in India in October!

I had a fantastic time, and was lucky enough to race with some very elite athletes--look for Tim O'Donnell and Justine Whipple to be in the Olympics in Bejing next year!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I know, I know, it's been nearly a week, and I'm behind on my race report! Well, wait no more, here it is:

I arrived in Portland, OR on Monday, with a full week of visits and vacations to get in, as well as some taper workouts. I drove to the course on Tuesday and took a slow, easy one-loop ride around the bike course.
It was unbelievably scenic! The excitement of making the Age-Group Nationals was coarsing through my veins, and I was inspired to see other triathletes riding as well.

Thursday brought two more Bellas to the venue, and the three of us--me, Raja (San Diego) and Ashley (SLO) did another easy single loop of the course in the Oregon drizzle with a smoking-fast guy named Kevin (who ended up taking 4th place Clydesdale). We were definitely ready to race by this point! The girls then headed to McMenamins Grand Lodge for the biggest carb-loading dinner ever! We couldn't even come close to finishing all that we ordered: smoked salmon, freshly fried calamari, huge garden salads, and 3 heaping bowls of pasta!!

Finally, Friday dawned, again rainy (it is Oregon) and we went to packet-pick up and bike check in. After protecting our bikes from the Oregon weather, we headed off to Hagg lake to get in one final swim. I went sans wetsuit, and everyone thought I was crazy. The water was crystal clear, no silt, no marshy grass, and unbelievably clean and refreshing! After the swim, Raja and Ashley headed back to their families, and I went with my friend Scott, also from the DC area, to the Macaroni Grill for one final pre-race meal.

One of the things I miss most about Oregon is with it being above the 45th Parallel, the summer days are long! The sun was peeking up at 4:30, and twilight didn't fade until nearly 10 pm! I had a horrible night's sleep, even though I went to bed early, I never fell asleep until about 3:30, and with the alarm set for 4:30, it was quite the restless night. I arrived at the lake just before 6am. The caliber of athletes was unbelievable, everyone seemed to be picture-perfect and in top physical racing condition! It was very intimidating! Of course the usual "I'm undertrained, not worthy to be here, should have run more hills, should have ridden more hills" thoughts were running through my head, but at this point, all I can do is hope to have a great race and enjoy the moment that I had actually qualified for this race, and deserved to be here, with the best amateur athletes in the United States!

SWIM (~0:27:00 exact time unkown thanks to incompetent USAT timing)My wave started 1:15 minutes after the official race start, there were 65 women in my wave.
It was a chest-deep water start. I stayed to the near side of the bouys (all left-hand turns) and we swam directly into the rising sun. I fell off the front pack before we reached the first turn, and by the second turn I was being passed by the 40-44 men who started 4 minutes after us. It was a long, slow, swim for me. Not sure what happened, but I was really struggling on the swim, and while I'll never know for sure, I was definitely towards the back of the pack.

T1 (~0:3:00 exact time again unknown)
It was a long run from swim out to get around transition to my bike. I struggled getting into my bike shoes. Next year's goal is definitely to learn how to get into shoes on the bike.

BIKE (1:16:47)My plan was to go all out on the bike, ride as hard as I could, embrace the suffering, and just keep going until it hurt so bad I simply couldn't go any more. This course had two options: UP and DOWN. There was only one section that was flat, and it was about 1/4 mile long. Everything else was up or down! It was a really fun course, and while it did hurt, I enjoyed it. Apparently there was over 1500ft of climbing all told.

T2 (0:1:20)I was close to bike in, so racked my bike quickly, grabbed my Velo Bella "flair", hat and racebelt and was off.

RUN (0:52:01)As with the bike, the run had two options: UP or DOWN. And there seemed to be a helluva lot of UP! Seven hills in all, I believe. I did my best to push my legs up the hill out of transition to gain speed heading down the first long hill. But by the third hill on the out-and-back course, my hip flexors were screaming. I was getting passed left and right by the 40-44 Women, and really cursing that I hadn't run more hills back in DC. At one point I remember commenting to myself on the lovely wild roses growing alongside the road...my concentration was waning and it took everything to hit the turnaround and head back. I was upset that there was only water on the whole 10K course. I was dying for gatorade.

FINISH (2:40:02)
I believe I lost about 3 spots on the return portion of the run, but somehow I (as usual) found my final kick at the last little hill coming into the finish line, I finally felt good and stretched out my legs and had a strong finish. Turns out I actually had a Personal Best. It was only by 35 seconds, but considering I took a full 5 minutes off my time at the not-quite-as-hilly Columbia last month, I know that I've improved and will smoke this time on a flatter course!

All in all, the race was a wonderful experience, I finished 43rd out of 65 women in my age group, and am definitely going to do my best to qualify for Nationals again next year!

Overall Stats:
Overall 760/1061 finishers (1300 started race)
Female 279/475
F 35-39 43/65 (winners time 2:12:41)

USAT Age Group Results

Race photos

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Shue Heads to Nationals!

On June 30th, Our own Nikki Shue will be heading west, to Portland Oregon, for the USA Triathlon Age-group National Championship Olympic distance race.

And you know she'll be sporting the brand new 2007 Velo Bella Tri Kit! OOH! LA! LA! BELLA!

Her wave, F 35-39 begins at 8:28 am (PDT). For more race details, click here!

Make sure you stay tuned, and check back for the blog update!