Monday, August 17, 2015

Updates!

There's been a LOT going on for the ladies in green over the past few weeks.

We brought home TWO State Titles in the NJ State Master's Time Trial!  Beth won the 30+ race and Choppah brought him the 35+ title.

The 40K time trial was held on the relatively flat, but always deceptively windy, roads of Hammonton, NJ.  Beth rode an amazing race, beating her time from the previous year and proved her amazing skill at the TT by clocking the 2nd best time for the women on the day!

Chop was admittedly the only woman in the 35+ race, but she rode super hard, clocked the 4th best time of the day out of all of the female competitors, and brought home another gold medal and jersey.  And, spent the rest of the day with ice on various body parts.  40K Time Trials HURT, people.  They hurt.

Since then, we've Toured with the Fishes, Honored the Sacrifice of Sandrino, taken a Twilight beer break at Iron Hill, ambled around a beautiful new course in Ambler, and suffered the heat in the Dawg Days of Summer.

At these events, we've gotten 4 podiums, 1 win, 1 stuffed puppy dog, and had a ton of fun!

 Dawg Days 35+ podium!

 Dawg Days Women's Open podium!

 TEAM PUPPY!!

Maria took 2nd in the Cat 4 race at Ambler!

Next week sees Meredith and Choppah go up to Binghamton, NY to race against the BIG girls at the Chris Thater Memorial Criterium series.  One of the last stops in the Professional NCC circuit, some of the biggest names in domestic cycling will be on hand to give us our due comeuppance!  We're really exited for that race and the rest of the season!

Thanks, as always, to our sponsors for making this all possible!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This Post Brought to You By the Number 4

So... it seems that number 4 is lucky for me at the moment.

Meredith and I headed down to the MABRA Criterium Championships in Frederick a couple of weekends back.  First of all, it was so nice to see the southern gals again after a season of racing up here in the north.  The women of ABRT are so strong and so lovely - I just have the best time racing and hanging with them.  And, the field down there was such a nice size - with the 1/2 and 3 race on course at the same time, we had over 30 women vying for the win.

Meredith and I had a good plan - we knew who to watch and we knew what we wanted to do.  We launched a few attacks, we covered moves off the front, and then... when nothing seemed likely to stick, we found good wheels for the finish.

ABRT was, of course, highly active throughout the race... particularly attentive to NCVC rider Alexis Zink and a few others.  With about 2 to go, ABRT began to string it out and I moved onto the very familiar wheel of BChan!  Following her through the final corner right at the front, I heard a crash behind and just gunned it for the line.  I ended up crossing in 4th and was really happy with that!


This past weekend, I went out to the Oldmans Time Trial in South Jersey.  With my modified Amira and my Zipp wheels, I was feeling pretty fast and managed to finish 2nd to Lauren Dags in the Women's Open.  

Then, we headed up to Basking Ridge for the NJ State Crit Championships.  The course was... strange.  It's a big oval with a screaming descent and a big ring hill.  Things were going ok for the first 20 minutes or so, and then we had a rather nasty crash in our race.  It was on the downhill section, so speeds were high.  I was near the front, so I have no idea how it happened, just that I heard it and could tell that it was a hard crash.  In the end, four riders went off to hospital and while all are ok - they have some major healing to do.  I hope that all of them heal up fast and well... gentle hugs and lots of love, ladies!

After some hemming and hawing, we decided to restart the race with a truncated distance and a smaller field.  It was so hard to get the legs back in the game, not to mention my brain - which was pretty distracted.  But, we did and with 1.5 to go, Masha attacked and got a bit of a gap.  Emily Spence, Lauren, Amy Cutler and I chased and with about .5 lap to go, Amy jumped to finish closing the gap.  She caught Masha before the line, and I came in just behind Lauren for 4th.  

Up next, the girls head to the Tour de Fish in big numbers!  This race is fantastically fun, technical, and fast.  CAWES is helping to support the race by providing merchandise and dollar prizes for the women's race.  Come on out, race it, watch it, drink some beer, have some fun - BIKES!!

Finding Our Legs at Fitchburg

A couple of weekends ago, a few of the ladies (Meredith, Beth, and Sarah) went up to Massachusetts to race in the always awesome Fitchburg Longsjo Classic.  Years ago, this race was a several day stage race that included a crit, circuit, and road race.  Sarah gives a report of this on her blog (from her much younger years!) here and here.   

This year, it was a series of three criterium races.  Each one had it's own particular peculiarities - lots of corners, crunchy road surfaces, rain.  But, each was fun and fast.

With a stacked field of racers, we went in with the goal of racing hard, aggressive, and safe, and working on our finishes in terms of positioning and sprinting.  It was going to be a tough weekend, but we were excited.  Plus, we got to stay at a Goat Farm, so... there was that!!

 Our amazing home for the weekend...
And the local residents...

 Sarah walking a goat...
 Beth walking a llama!
Recovery was the name of the game between races.  Thanks to NormaTec for making these amazing "Space Legs!"  We LOVE them.

Now, about the racing.  The events were really great and the gals felt fantastic in the fields.  Before the first event we overheard, "It's going to be tough, those CAWES girls are here."  That felt pretty good.  And, we did our best to make it tough.

The first race went well with us launching a few attacks and trying to go with moves off the front.  As expected, though, things generally stayed together.  With a late race attack from Zimmer Capital's Beth Ruiz, Sarah chased it down and still managed to finish 11th on the day with Meredith in 15th and Beth in 18th.


Day 2 was highly technical with some rough roads.  But, the girls kept it strung out and hard through the rough areas and with a lot of attacking, it was another fun race.  Sarah improved on her previous day's race with a strong 9th place finish.  Meredith and Beth raced strong and hard - launching attacks and chasing breaks to finish 14th and 25th.

The last day was the traditional downtown Fitchburg criterium... this awesome photo by Ashley Green appeared on the cover of the local paper the day after our race.  You can see some lime green just to the left of the center of the pack!


Another tough race found the girls positioning themselves well at the end to finish 9th, 10th, and 20th.

All in all, we felt that the weekend was a great chance to race hard for three days straight.  We can't wait to come back next year for the races AND for the amazing hospitality at Goat Ridge Farm!  :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Getting to Know Us...

Since we're such an enigmatic bunch, we thought we'd give you a little insight into our riders.  Editor's additions are in green!

So, we'll start off alphabetically with the oh-so powerful Beth Bonilla!!

photo credit: Sara Brams-Miller

Nickname: Beth (of course!)

Hometown: Great Falls, MT - Big Sky Country, kids... waaaay over there on the other side of the nation.  It kinda looks like this:


Profession (other than pro bike racer chick)?  Mechanical engineer.  Translation: smarty pants.

What first drew you to race your bike?  A friend, who was a semi-pro cyclist said he thought I'd be good at it.  (We'd say he was quite right!)

photo credit: Will Rivas

What motivates you to get on your bike each day?  Different things... sometimes it's a way to enjoy the sunshine or just be outside.  Sometimes it's for the companionship.  Sometimes for the feeling after a difficult ride of knowing I pushed myself as hard as I could.  Sometimes so I can race better, sometimes to maintain a healthy body weight, and sometimes I ride because it's fun to go fast!

What is your favorite cycling related word?  Cadence (it just sounds cool)

What is your least favorite cycling related word?  Crash

What is your racing style?  Breakaway or readout rider, but hard, fast crits are fun, too!

What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?  Restaurant business.  I haven't decided if I would focus on fresh, healthy meals that make people feel good, or desserts that make people happy.  I love both kinds of food!

If you had a super power, what would it be and why?  Flying, because flying dreams are my favorite!

Hit shuffle on your music playlist... what are the first three songs that play?  "Dear John" by Taylor Swift, "Swingtown" by the Steve Miller Band, and "O Come and Mourn with Me Awhile" by Jars of Clay.

Proudest Cycling Moment: The first time I finished the Wilmington Grand Prix Pro Race with the field.  It was my second year doing the race, and I've never been happier with 18th place!

Most Embarrassing Cycling Moments:  At one of my first road races in Lancaster, I broke away from the field and thought I'd won. However, I hadn't paid enough attention early in the race, and another rider had gotten away before I did.  After the race, my husband gently pointed out that if the lead car is not in front of you, you're not leading!

photo credit: Sara Brams-Miller

Goals for 2015: Race hard and smart, and have fun with my new teammates!

We are so excited to have Beth on board for 2015... she's had a great start to the season winning the Doleur en la Cul Circuit race with a solo break, taking 2nd at the Upper Freehold Time Trial, and finishing top 10 in the NJ State Road Race and the Historic Riverton Criterium.  


Monday, June 22, 2015

Giro Del Cielo...

I'll try to sum up this awesome weekend in as brief a blog post as possible.  Which, if you know me and my posts, brevity is going to be a tall order

TT course Pre-Ride:

With my modified Specialized Amira, I rode alongside EPS rider and compatriot Deborah Leedale-Brown and the Yellow Rocket to preview a TT course that was old to the race, but new to me.  It was awesome... complete with a Category 5 climb, screaming descents, and BEARS!  Yep... a momma bear and a cub were spotted just a few miles into the course. That had to be good luck, right?

TT race:

I felt great on the bike and with the help of my pig sticker and disc wheel, I managed to put in a great effort to finish 3rd on the day!  I think I could have gone a bit faster... especially considering that I nearly got nailed by a van that turned on to the course near the end and that I nearly missed my start - 8:00 start time and I show up at the line at 7:59.53.  Yeah... a bit too close for comfort, but at least my adrenaline was rushing when I went up the Cat 5 climb!!!


Saturday's Criterium:

It wasn't much of a crit... with only 2 real turns, it was more like circuit race.  Still, it had one little punchy climb and a rather tricky and short sprint to the line.  I knew that positioning was going to be a major thing for this race.  I watched the first and second placed ladies in the GC... marked every more that they made, and ended up having a great sprint for 3rd on the day.  This put me tied for 3rd for the GC, with the winner of the TT - since TT placement determines ties, I was technically 4th in the GC.


 After a lot of this on Saturday night...


We headed to the road race on Sunday...

It was raining and rather miserable at the start.  With my Honey Stinger chews in my pocket and my bottle of Cerasport, I was ready for one more race!  There was a brief breakaway from 1st and 2nd in the GC on lap 2, but after we worked our rear ends off to get them back it settled in for the rest of the race.  Once again, a bear graced us with its presence, running across the road in front of the field on lap 3 and causing a slight bit of panic!  Man... those things are BIG!!

People were clearly tired and though my legs felt quite good (yay), the finish was a MESS!  I lost all positioning and just got swarmed, finishing a terribly disappointing 15th.

In the end, I managed to hold on to 5th in the GC, which makes me quite happy.  This was my first true stage race (ToAD doesn't count) since 2011!!!  So, I feel like this was a great foray back into the realm of stage racing.  I'm sure that I'll be back again next year - hopefully with more teammates and friends in tow.

Thanks for a great race weekend, Skylands Cycling!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

History at the Historic Riverton Criterium

This year was the first time women had our own field at Riverton!  Sarah started the conversation last year with Carlos Rogers, the promoter of the Historic Riverton Criterium.  And for the 2015 event, he made a decision that many promoters are not willing to make: he added a women's field!!!  We promised him a minimum of 15 ladies on the pre-reg.  A day or two before the event, we met that minimum.  Ultimately, over 20 women were at the start line on Sunday.

(Photo courtesy of the Amazing Will Rivas)

Sarah "Choppah" Iepson was determined to show the spectators at Riverton what they have been missing.  She hammed right from the gun, stringing the field out and putting a hurtin' on those of us at the back of the pack.  After the race, there was a lot of chatter about having one's "legs ripped off" by Choppah :)  

(Photo courtesy of the Amazing Will Rivas)

Beth and Sarah pushed the pace the entire race, finishing 7th and 9th, respectively.  Meredith had an unfortunate mechanical late in the race.  I fought with the "Race until Pulled" mentally, finally being defeated by a rear flat with 4 laps to go.

By the way, Meredith is taking her board exams for medical school this week - so everyone send her lots of positive vibes!  Good luck, Mer!

A continued "Thank You" to all of our sponsors, who provide us with all kinds of support so that we can keep doing what we love.


Friday, June 12, 2015

I want to be a fast lady when I grow up

I never was an athlete.  I was in the band in high school. The first real “workouts” I ever did were in college...20 minutes jaunts on the elliptical, trying not to stick out because I had never been to a gym before.  When a friend from college told me I should take my bike out on the trails - I didn’t even really know what she meant.  Soon after, I traded in that would-be commuter bike and bought a mountain bike with a front shock...and so the obsession with bikes began.


When I moved to New Jersey, a small but fierce group of women on the Action Wheels road rides motivated me to continually move up the ranks of the Monday/Thursday night groups.  They taught me how to ride in a big group, how to dose my effort so I could finish long rides, and the best types of chamois cream :)  These women inspired me to push myself.  I wanted to be as fast, as smooth, as respected as they were.


Several years later, my husband joined the Action Wheels race team - and I was offered the option of ordering a women’s jersey for that team.  I raced my first time with a Cat 5 men’s field.  I think I got lapped once that cold, rainy, March morning.  In spite of it all, I knew I would be back for more.  Little did I know things were gonna get so much more awesome!  A few weeks later, I entered my first women’s Cat 4 race.  Lining up with a field of ladies was such an incredible experience - even though the field was small.  I didn’t know how to corner.  I had no idea what a sprint would be like.  But I made it through.  Then, my first WOW moment in racing happened: lining up with a large Womens Open field at the Ronde von Mullica.  All I could think was, “All of these ladies around me!  All these fast, fierce women.  This is so rad!”


After a few years of racing, I made friends with some new fierce females...the ladies of CAWES.  I knew I wanted to be a part of that team.  They always raced hard and seemed to have this awesome sense of what to do in a race.  I wanted to be like them.  As luck would have it, I have been fortunate enough to be a member of CAWES for three seasons now.  Being on this team made me realize what I missed by not playing sports in my younger days.  I push myself harder for the women on this team.  Just being on a ride or in a race with them brings out strength in me that I didn’t know I had.


I continue to be inspired, encouraged, and in awe of the numerous fierce women on our team, women on teams with which we race, new riders who come out and are destroying fast group rides in a matter of months, and the professional female racers who continue to fight for equity.

There is something really special about how I have been “brought up” in this sport.  Riding with a group of guys didn’t give me the same thing that I received from being mentored by female riders.  I can’t speak for all woman.  I just know this to be my truth.