Friday, January 23, 2009

Bella Camp '09

Velo Bella Training Camp 2009 was last weekend in San Luis Obispo, and it was fun, fun, fun! I had been hesitant to go, as I'm only just getting back on a decent training schedule after a year of barely training, but am glad that Denise twisted my arm to go. Four Fresno Bellas went -- Denise, my training-partner-of-old, and two young whipper snappers, new to racing, both named Brittney. We lovingly dubbed them Brittney 1 and Brittney 2 over the weekend, reminiscent of Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Most of the team stayed in a hotel, but Denise and I saved a little cash by staying in Casa Ramirez, Denise's motor home. Lovely surroundings, aye?I didn't take too many photos of the riding, but this is at the top of our first hill on the first day. The weather was AMAZING, and such a nice change from the fog in Fresno...temps were in the high 70s all three days, I think.
Still on top of that first climb, this is Suzie, a Bella from the Bay Area. I know a lot of Bella names from our listserv, but it's always great to go to camp and put faces (and bikes!) to the names.
Day 2, we gathered outside the hotel, and then rode about 40 minutes to an industrial park for crit drills.
Suzie was wearing socks that complimented our kits perfectly.
And Michael, Queen Bella Sabine's boy-toy, led us through a "slow drill" before the crit practice. Note his Bella shorts...gotta love a man so confident in his masculinity and comfortable with his feminine side...
The reward for our skills practice? Mexican food for dinner! Here, three of the four Fresno Bellas: Brittney 2, me, and Denise. Brittney 1 was with her parents, who live in SLO.
When we walked back to the hotel, Denise noticed this sign....I'm pretty sure they meant to write "Reid's Hard Body."
The final day, we did a fabulous ride out PCH to Cayucas. The only bad part of it is that, while doing a double paceline on PCH near the beginning of the ride, Suzie hit a rock and went down really hard. Cracked her collarbone and some ribs, but will surely mend quickly, as she's tough as nails. I was on her wheel when it happened, and she is such a good bike handler that she stayed up long enough to give us time to avoid hitting her or also going down. Send her some healing Bella beams when you get a chance!

Here, all four Fresno Bellas pose with Barrett, a former Fresno Bella Fella who lives in SLO now.
This is Sue-nami soaking in some sun at the beach. I met Sue two years ago -- the hard way. We were in the cat 3-4 Merced/Mercko road race, and it was just about my best race ever. I had not only stayed with the group, but had been aware enough to try some attacks (ill-planned ones, but attacks nonetheless!) and really feel like I was part of the race with about 7 teammates. In the last 500 yards or so, a bunch of us were sprinting, and a men's field came up behind us (in a lot of road races, the men's and women's fields are out on the course at the same time) and some of them just kept hammering through us, startling some of the women in our field. Next thing I knew, there was a blue Bella bike flying across the road toward me, and a Bella flying the other direction -- bike-less. I had to ride off the left side of the road to avoid the bike skidding toward me, and had enough momentum that I crossed the finish line once I got back on the road. But, with one of my Bellas down, I frantically tried to get unclipped so I could go back to see who it was and how she was. I'd been having trouble with my cleats, and one of my shoes wouldn't come unclipped, so I got pissed and quickly worked my way out of the shoe that was still attached to my pedal, took off the other shoe, and ran back in my pretty Bella socks to find the was Sue. She was all bloodied up and pissed, as someone had gotten startled by the guys coming through and ran right into her, making her flip off her bike. She is so frickin' tough, though, that I think she did another race the next day....Sue-nami.
Catherine, another Bella new to me and from Atlanta originally but living in North Carolina, and Queen Bella, Sabine, strike their beach pose.
Laura, the other Queen Bella, and Sue-Nami..."No matter which way they arrive, we'll be ready for them." I'm so glad they're on my team.

And on Monday afternoon, as Denise and I turned Casa Ramirez back toward the Fresno fog, the spare tire cover on the back of our Bella Camp '09 home said it all...


Meredith said...

Wow! Looks like an awesome trip. Glad it was fun. (OK. Now a dumb question. Why the name "Bella?" Is it a group, I take it? I am a Raleigh rider from the 70's...not too sure about all this athletic lingo!!!

Kathie Reid said...

Remember, there are no dumb questions! (Spoken like a true professor, right?!) Our team is named Velo Bella...Velo is bike in Italian, and Bella, I believe, is the feminine beautiful. So, our kits (more lingo...our uniforms) say "Ciao, Bella!", and people often greet us that way.