Back from the Valley
I did have some pics from the NRC action in Visalia this weekend, but my Dell just died. I managed to get this one up before it happened. So, you will just have to use your imagination for the race action.
This was the first time in a bit, that I have traveled to a race where I was neither racing, nor had bellas who were racing. I must admit, that I felt a bit out of place, not really belonging. And the race director for Visalia did not make things any better when she gave me one of those passively aggressive "And you ARE....?" questions when I lined up at their free pasta feed thingie.
No, seriously, she did that. As if I came to mooch on her food. And the thing is, I really didn't know how to answer her question. In either a philosophical sense or literal sense. So I told her I was with Velo Bella, (who had no one racing this event), and she sort of reluctantly let the matter slide. And I helped myself to an extra portion of garlic bread.
However, what going to the event unencumbered did for me, was allow me to step back and be an observor. And I saw some cool stuff. I saw some ugly stuff, but I mostly saw some cool stuff.
The ugly stuff, I am going to ignore for now...but I if I find a soapbox around later, I might have to step up on it for a bit.
Now, on to the good stuff.
*Watching Ben J-M win the tt. Ben is dictionary efficiency on his bike. Nothing, nothing moves except those two hugely calved pistons. The same thing happens on the track when he gets in a groove. Its worth coming out to the track just to watch. Of course, I am a little biased because Ben is my neighbor and his wife is a bella, who also happened to help straighten Michael out a little.
*Watching Laura Van Gilder KILL IT in the time trial. She is not a tt specialist, especially for a long one like at Visalia. And she had a good shot at winning the next day at the crit, so you could easily forgive her for slacking a bit on the tt. But she does the opposite. She was attacking that TT and just forcing herself up those climbs. Damn..wish I had my photos for this cuz I have this great shot of her stomping up the final climb. And she's like two years older than me! She's just an awesomely strong woman who loves racing her bike.
*Brooke Miller's sprint smile. I always knew she smiled when she won a sprint. But she also smiles when she's second. She was trying so hard to overtake Ina. (Yes, I said overtake Ina, as if) And you could see that moment when she realized it was just not going to happen, and she broke out in a huge smile that seemed to note and respect just how awesome Ina is.
*Ina is awesome.
*The TIBCO leadout train. Wow. Its early in the season and this team is already turning heads with one of the most amazing lead out trains I have seen in a while in women's cycling. In fact, I don't think I have seen something that impressive since the Saturn days. That speaks volumes about the strength and chemistry of this team. They owned the last two laps of that race even though they were down a few riders. Lauren in particular used her sprinter's timing to deliver Brooke (if you get a chance, check out the last two laps in the video on IBN sports)
*Seeing Vanderkitten at the races. Yes, I have a bias towards kitties and Dave, but I could not help but notice how the Vanderkitten kits turned the heads of the young girls in the crowds.
*Knowing that Aarons and VAC both did school visits. I know exactly how difficult it is for an NRC team to race, travel and then still find time to do these kinds of local community activities. And I am super glad that Velonews covered it.
*Spending travel time with Michael. I have missed our road trips and silly times together. It was a good refresh and reminder of why I want to spend the rest of my life with him.
There was more awesomeness, but I need to go home now and try to fix my laptop situation.