Monday, May 19, 2008

To Hell and Back

Well, we survived another Kern.

It was truly a trip to hell and back in all meanings of the phrase.

Its good to be back. I mean, really back.


This was without a doubt the toughest Kern I have ever tried to complete. I kept going through sheer willpower and the generousity of my friends. They kept me giggling and motivated. I think Laura kept losing stuff like her shoes and race number, just to keep me entertained and distracted. What a pal!

The first day was like riding straight into a blow dryer, I lack the words to describe how it felt. I just remember thinking that this wind is not earthly. People are not supposed to survive something like this. Why are we racing in it? It scared me and I stopped racing in it. I am impressed by those who could push through such a thing, but I think you are crazy.

The morning of the second day was fun fun fun. Bella magic all over the place. Have I mentioned that I love my teammates?

The afternoon was another story. I set out on that stupid hillclimb with a heart heavier than those big ass motocross tires on my Dawg. As soon as it got hard, I wanted to stop. Linda and Andrea patiently tried to keep me motivated but I had pretty much given up. I told them to go on ahead. And I got off my bike. I envisioned the ripping off of the number that happens in a tour and how sad the riders look when that happens.

Then I dumped a bunch of water on my head, took a few breaths and got back on my bike. I repeated this a few times until I finally made up my mind to finish. And so I did and I saw Lorri calmly helping a new racer decide whether to finish or not. (They did!) And I heard Bob's clarinet and I rode the longest 1 K ever and finished and ate watermelon until I got sick.

A Velo Girl was at the top eating watermelon too and she just looked at me and said "that was hard". Yeah, sister, you ain't lying. And I told myself I would take it easy down the tricky debris scattered climb, but let go of the brakes anyway.

Sunday was good. We had a cool new venue and Tyler and Barret set up our bella camp. Our home away from home. The race went well, but I was not really a part of it. I fell off and came back about 6 times and just could not do it a 7th time.

The team was remarkable. Erika didn't want the responsibility, and Sue was there to help on that end. They made quite the climbing pair. Laura is the fighter. Don't let that smile fool you. She's nails. Andrea is rock solid and its like she's been on our team forever. And Linda, Linda is our guidelight.

I was more weight than help. In fact they all helped me more than I helped them. But sometimes its good to let your friends help you.

And Laurie Simonson stole my red lantern.


The pic up above is one of two very large traffic delays on the way home. That was almost harder than any of the stages.


At 1:23 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger CyclistRick said...

And despite it all, you had a smile on your face every time I saw you. Great job in toughing it out. As did a lot of the Bellas. I got to watch and admire some great efforts by all at times, but mostly by the 3's and 4's out on the road. Great racing everyone!

And the VeloGirl at the top had to be that little firecracker Lala, a bundle of energy that just keeps going. Hard to believe that up until about a year ago she had never ridden a bike.

At 1:24 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger chatterbox said...

OMG! Hecker Pass. I wonder if you guys were ahead or behind us. When we got there, it was only backed up to Casa de Fruta, but still took 1/2 hour to pass through the 156 closure.

Oh, and there was a brush fire just getting going near the top of the pass and fire trucks quickly moving up from Gilroy to fight it.

Then, another backup at the next minor turnoff to Hollister. We didn't get home until 8:30. A real slog to cap off a weekend of slogging!

Good job out there. It was hard, hard, hard. It was hard just to complete - let alone "go hard".

At 1:30 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger Velo Bella said...

The delay in the pic is one on Highway 5. We were at a dead stand still for about 45 minutes. That was actually better than the Casa de Fruita delay because you could get out of your car and stretch. Easier than the torture of going 20feet every minute.

But I can't get too whiny (well I can) because in some of those accidents, people would have been lucky to ever make it home at all.

At 1:33 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger velogirl said...

you just made me cry.

this was a very different Kern for me (in a good way). seeing you on the hill climb was part of that. you always inspire me. I "rode" this Kern to help my teammates. it was mentally tough not to "race" but by far, this was the funnest Kern ever for me.

At 1:34 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger Ippoc Amic said...

Somebody had a party on the freeway and the kitty people were not invited...

You were a major part of the racing and the Kern experience in a good good way. Andrea and I were super sad when you stopped under the shade. I felt bad because I had just mentioned the 15% grade displaying on my garmin. When you finished at the top of the climb right after us, it was like reaching the top twice! And what about the the practice helped us on Sunday.

At 1:34 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger velogirl said...

we hit the Casa de Fruita delay just as it was starting. so we pulled off and went to Casa de Fruita, Casa de Choo Choo, Casa de Chachky, Casa de Pisser -- fun times.

At 1:38 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger Ippoc Amic said...

and by the way, next Saturday in Bakersfield it is suppose to have a high of 71 degress...

At 1:40 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger velogirl said...

71 degree? maybe we should go do it again!!!

At 1:41 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger Velo Bella said...


Where's the justice in that?

At 1:43 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

wow. so impressive! i love hearing your accounts.

At 1:44 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

What a Kern! For me it was about a million times harder this year, mostly due to the heat, but some other factors were involved as well. You described it as I remember it. Your team really exudes fun and energy...and it kept all of us going. You should be really proud of that, as well as your efforts :-).

At 1:48 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger Ippoc Amic said...

no justice, you gave the devil your time gap and I gave him my window.

VeloGirl, I wasn't sure what was happening, but it was very cool seeing you and your teammate finish the climb too.

At 1:49 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger lauren said...


you guys are tough. that thing sounds harder then anything i can imagine.

racing is hard, but that heat sounds like hell. hell!

very impressive!

At 2:24 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger CyclistRick said...

Looks like we should be glad that 'Mother' (the GPS I was given in December) routed us up 99 rather than 5. Bad enough with the 152/156 split backup.

At 2:41 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger marscat said...

And I told myself I would take it easy down the tricky debris scattered climb, but let go of the brakes anyway.

that descent after the hill climb with the sun setting was divine.

and you were the glue this weekend.

and lilly was the silly putty.

At 3:19 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger Ippoc Amic said...

I misplaced my wallet and LillyBella tried to get me into her club of two with marscat.

At 5:21 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger Velo Bella said...

You did not misplace your wallet, you just didn't look hard enough. You have to actually lose it, several times, to get into the club.

They don't just accept anyone you know.

At 5:59 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger jen said...

You're awesome. Congrats on finishing another Kern :-)

Love all the stories!

At 6:26 PM, May 19, 2008, Blogger X Bunny said...

my teammaates are so tough they scare me!

i would be afraid to have to ever race against you guys

over 90 degrees and bunnies just melt into goo....

At 9:07 AM, May 20, 2008, Blogger Denise said...

I love reading all of these replies. I thought about everyone over the weekend and am SO bummed I could not make it.

Congrats to each of my wonderful teammates, for an awesome weekend.

At 9:41 AM, May 20, 2008, Blogger Miss Mary said...

congrats you guys on your getting out there and; 1st just attemting the race, 2nd working as a team (as you always do!)

At 2:14 PM, May 20, 2008, Blogger suenago said...

Damn, but you brought a tear to my eye.
Bellas stick together during good times and challenging times.
That is what LOVE is all about.

At 10:34 PM, June 19, 2008, Blogger Betty n' Bettie said...


Thank you again for waiting for me in the road race. That was the sweetest thing any racer has ever done for me. I think the officials knew that you would have beaten me by more time had you not been so nice to wait for me. Also, thank you for trying to slow the pack on the hills. You were a godsend to me. Will you please also thank Linda for me? She, like you, tried to slow the pack on the climbs and she also gave me a push or two on the hills. Shhhhhh. I owe you and your team so just name the time and place.

Laurie Simonson


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