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!