Friday, May 18, 2012

Lee and Sarah Win at Race Like a Girl

It was a bike smackdown at Union Park on a beautiful Thursday evening.  Incase you had not noticed, there is a lot of pink showing up at races.  Racers, fans, a tent.  Yeppers! 
As if  the awesome kits were not enough to distiguish the VeloRosa team, Carp has provided a pink tent.   This team is going pro!!!  On this night, it came with a cooler of beer.   Many thanks to Joann (and the team) for making sure everyone was refreshed throughout the evening.

Race Like a Girl is a series of races that take place one time a month.  Yes, they let the boys race also.  For the women there are two categories:  A and B.  There are three races for each category.  The first race is a regular race where everyone starts and everyone races until the first person crosses and line and wins.  (Think basic race format).  Then there is a points race where on given laps points are awarded for the first few racers.  This turns the race into several mini sprints for the line within the overall race.  The final race starts as a pack and on each lap the last two or three racers are pulled out of the race.  When there are four racers left, the bell is rung.  Then it is one lap with the first one across the line is the winner.

Sarah got the group going by winning the B points race.  Heather raced strong and took second.  Ali came in third making it a clean sweep for VeloRosa.   In the first race, Lee took third in the A race.  She looked strong at the finish against some strong racers.

Lee finished the night with her first victory as she bested the field in the pulled out race.  Ali finished fourth after lending Lee a wheel as the Pink Gals worked to best rival DMOS teammates.  To say that Lee was excited was an understatement.  She has proven that you can go from dead last for most races to finally winning one.

There were lots of fans also out to watch.  Thanks to Anne and Joann for volunteering.  Karolyn and Deann for cheering.  Dave, well for all that he does. Also to Elise for cheering for all of the ladies.

So if you have been thinking about racing, come out next month and give it a whirl.  It is one of the best nights of racing that Des Moines has to offer.

Your Roving Race Reporter,


It is not a race unless there are fans!

Dave tried to sneak in by wearing Pink!

The pink fork matches the jersey!

Start of the A race

Elise is squeezed in by bikes for the ride home

Pink Rules Water Works Circuit Race

Eight ladies showed up at Water Works park for the circuit race last Saturday.  This was an outstanding showing for the open Cat race.  This put all racers on the route at the same time.  

The ladies in pink road a strong race.  Kim, Lee and Megan took turns out front helping to protect Dee.  Lisa and Ali hung close in the pack and picked up the flow of the pack.  Ali and  Abby rounded out the showing.

Loren and Leah had a photo finish with Dee right on their rear wheel taking third.  Megan took fourth.  Newcomer Lisa (Carp) finished fifth in her first race. Kim and Ali finished seventh and eight, respectively.  Erika took 11th and Abby 15th.   This strong showing allowed VeloRosa to win the Team title for this race.

Congrats to all of the ladies but especially to those first time racers.   Welcome to the game.

Abby and Ali post race with team beer

Listening to the directions

Kim worked hard all race

Megan charges for the line

Pink dominates the final results

Tha is a lot of pink!

Pre-race strategy

Your Roving Race Reporter,


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Thought I had Seen it ALL!

Well, well, I was hanging out on a nice Sunday on top of a hill that was a pain to climb via foot.    There was a gathering of folks there set up for watching some racing.   I settled in to watch the open women's race.  Usually there are two women's races:  the open (Cat1-3) and the Cat 4.  That allows those in Cat 4 to have a race more set for the collective experience level of those races.  But not at the Breeder's Hill race.  I figured I would see the usual Pink Gals racing:  Megan, Dee, Lee to name of few.  Now on Saturday there were plenty of new racers at Water Works.  Nothing against those ladies but that was a nice, flat circle for the most part.

This race is a hill; with turns on the hill; a bit of downhill with the U-turn to head back up hill.  Oh a little more flattish area into another U-Turn and the start of the climb.  Now, a steep hill is climbable if you get some momentum and keep it going.  But if you have to take a U-turn when you start that saps any momentum.  Once you get going and then take a 90 degree right turn as the hill steepens.  Oh keep climbing, take a sharp left and climb some more.  When you think you cannot take it any more, the grade goes viral.  Out of the saddle and pound the pedals.  Pull the handle bars and push down the pedals.   Concentrate on the crowd because your mind is telling you it can NOT be done.  To say that your thighs are burning would be an understatement.  To say that you are wishing you would fall over so that the misery would end would not be far fetched.

So, it is  another race.  What has the Roving Race Reporter in such a state?  A new VeloRosa racer appeared.    I had to quickly pull up my photo directory of the best bike team around to find out that Heather O was on the course.  My records showed that she had not yet raced for the Pink Team.  Was this a prank pulled by the more veteran racers?  A little hazing, maybe???   Well sit right down and pay attention.   No, Ms. Heather voluntarily came out to race.

So, now we have a newbie out with Cat 1-3 racers along with mountain biking expert Julie V and the race is on taking off down the hill to start the first lap.  The leaders came whizzing by and then Heather.  Lap after lap----for 45 minutes.  Each time they came around, Heather held her own.   It seemed on the hills like she had a motor on her bike.  That girl can climb a hill.  

But back to the rest of the race.   Leah, out of Nebraska, made the race look like a race on some rollers.  Chasing her down was Sandy from Mercy.  But guess who was chasing them down?  Our own Dee.  Now Dee racer her rear off the day before taking third in the Water Works race.  She was back at it again with a third place showing here.  I am not sure what she is doing for training but it must involve hills and gravel.

Back to Heather, she placed 8th, which is quite remarkable for her first race on this type of course.  In the Cat 4 racers, she was the fourth non-Cat 1-3 racer across the line.   Megan followed her with Lee close behind.

This was a very strong showing VeloRosa.  These pink ladies have come out this year and shown that you can look good in pink and slap down tread on pavement at the same time. 

Your Roving Race Reporter,


Saturday, May 12, 2012


Wow! The women of VeloRosa have found the racing bug. Five women came out on a windy May evening to push themselves for the seven-mile time trial. So, you may ask, how hard is just seven miles; I ride 20 or more every weekend? True that seven miles pales in comparison from a pure mileage stand point.
But let’s look at the nature of the beast called the time trial (TT). It is you again nature. No help. No draft. No fans, except for the start and end line. You. Wind. Sun. Dirt. Silence. Empty fields. As you wait in line to go, there is little chatter. As you watch the person take off in front of you and they disappear over the little rise in the road it hits you: you are alone. You. Your bike. Your fears. Your doubts. Your mind. Your body.

You sit in the ready position. Clipped in. A strange man holding your seat/buns. You on the bike ready to take off. Your mind doubts; wonders; ponders; wishes; hopes; dreams. It is like Zach Johnson preparing to sink the putt to win the Masters. The silence is deafening. "Go!" and you are off. Your heart is racing. Your HR monitor is binging at your to slow it down. Your legs are twitching. You can see the person in front of you and your have the NEED to catch them. But it is much like the mirage of water in the desert. You can see but rarely can you catch it. Then you need to settle down and settle in to a sustainable cadence. Seven is not that long but it can kill you if you start off like it is a 400 meter sprint.

So you reign in your mind and you try to find a rhythm. But don't get too complacent as 30 second behind you started another rider. Could be a Cat 1 guy; a masters' racer of either gender; a triathlon TT specialist. So hurry up and don't get passed. But don't burn your last match as you are only 1.5 miles into the race. The road appears to go on forever. A country road to nowhere. You can see the horizon but you have no clear view of where the turnaround is at and how much further you have to go. Concentrate! Someone is chasing you down. You are the prey that the person behind you is seeking.

Oh, but you say it does not matter unless the person behind you in your category? HA! When you are driving your car and another one comes out of nowhere and passes you I dare you to not try to accelerate to catch back up and pass that car right back. Remember the TT is you, the road, your sweet bike (and the person chasing you down).

Wait, you now can see the turnaround point. Cool, half-way done. This is not so bad! Oh no, got to slow down, but not too much, pick a line, pull a 180 degree U-turn. Be careful to stay on the road (try a U-turn at 10 or 15 miles per hour). Don't hit the course marshal. Don't hit the pylon. ACCELERATE. Dang, that person behind you is RIGHT there.

Now your legs are burning. They liked the previous rhythm. The slowing and turning and acceleration is like being jolted awake in the middle of an awesome dream. You shift, try to find a comfortable place on the seat, adjust your hands. Crap, the wind changed direction. You rethink your body position, cadence, speed. Where did all of these little rollers come from? You are sure they were not on the way out, which is the other lane of this same road. You are passing others that started behind you; a constant reminder that you are being hunted down by many. Back to the chase mentality. Go and get that person in front of you.
OK, so you only race TT against the clock. All of this nonsense does not happen in your mind. Sure if you are a yogi or Zen master I concede my position. Otherwise, turn those cranks and start praying for this to end. Meatloaf sang: "I am praying for the end of time." He must have meant time TRIAL.

One final rise and you think you can see the school. There was a school. Was there a ball field? Are those cars? It looks close enough that you can run there but it is not quite that close. Smooth pedal strokes. Your thighs are burning. You lungs want relief. This sustained effort has about drained your tank. Don't get too excited and blow up before you get to the end. Oh so close, yet so far. Contain!

Then there it is. It? The finish line. Manna. Relief. You cross. You lay across your handle bars. Wiped is an understatement. You spin for a brief cool down. You then do it some more because if you do not, it is really going to be a sore morning tomorrow. You congrat others. They do the same for you. You all have suffered the same. Whether you rode a sub 17, a sub 20 or a 30 minute TT. It all hurts.

Finally you sit up and ride back to the start. You feel a bit of pride coming on. You look at those Cat 1 guys. You look at the family and friends. You look at the volunteers. You sit up a bit straighter because you are now a TIME TRIALIST.

Even better, you are a PINK TT. You rock the biking world. Welcome to VeloRosa mystique. Where we tell you we just help women ride bikes but where we really transform them into conquering dreams they were afraid to dream.
This TEAM rocks. Congrats to all that rode that little TT called Elkhart. So how far is just seven miles.....
See ya at the races.

Your Roving Race Reporter,


W CAT 4     2nd Abby G       3rd  Erika Y
W 40            J2nd  Julie G
W Open       2nd  Aryn F        4th Megan K
Blogger note:  Julie G will always be VeloRosa to me!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lee Places at Iowa City Crit

Lee literally bounced back from Saturday's crash and put her training to good use to break away from a group of three to take fifth and bring home some cash for her efforts.

The course starts with a sharp downhill into the 90 degree right turn, a two-block sprint the next corner where the sharp right turn heads you right back up the steep hill.  This is a get-out-of-the-saddle and leave it all out there type of hill.  There is no mercy; no rest; no crest.  You need to clear the top of it by three or four bike lengths in order to carry any momentum into the next several blocks of sharp right and left turns. In true European fashion there are even some cobblestones.

Recent team practices have focused on keeping a good line with the other riders and picking your time to burn the last matches.  Lee worked the last several laps in a seated spin up the hill while her competitors labored out of the saddle.  On the final lap she stood up with 30% to go on the hill and heeded Steve Robinson's advice to sprint through and carry it to the end.   But wait right there:  this is grab-a-wheel Lee not take-the-front-of-the-pack Dee.   Was she crazy?  Well, rumor has it she was just that.   Lee bolted and then rode it like she stole it.   With fellow teammate Aryn screaming at the end, Lee brought it home without letting up.  It could have been the head whack from the day before!  Either way, she brought home the money for the fifth place finish.

Finally Lee raced her own race and reaped the reward.   So for any others that are considering racing or wondering if there is any place other than last to finish the race, take a look around.  Keep praciticing what coach Dave is teaching and you, too, can bring home the money!!!

Your Roving Race Reporter (that is looking for new, cool sweet pink helmet),


Erika 2nd at Old Cap RR

The biking world said, 'Welcome, Erika, you are now a racer!'. BIG congrats to her as she took second in the Old Capitol Road Race near Iowa City last weekend. The hills were a killer but she held on to finish strongly.

Condolences to Lee whom hit the pavement after her wheel was taken out by a sliding fellow racer. But her head was harder than the pavement and she was able to be back on the road the next day. lee's advice: 'Good thing I packed an extra helmet.'

Dee took on a strong Cat 1-3 field that had racers from Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. When the best travel that far, you know it is race time. Dee was 10th in a field that was over 20 ladies deep.

Next races are this Saturday at Water Works and Sunday at the state fairgrounds.

Your Roving Race Reporter, Luann

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Elkhart TT May 10

Don't forget that the second time trial is May 10.

Here is the link:

Come on out and give it a whirl!   You can do anything for 25 minutes (or less)!

Your Roving Race Reporter,