Meet the Team

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.

Monday, June 1, 2015

New Jersey Jerseys!!

Just a couple of photos to show what we've been up to in the early part of this season...


Meredith won a bronze medal and a 6-pack of rather delicious beer at the NJ State Master's Criterium Championships.  With a strong sprint finish, she brought home the team's first Championship podium.


Kristin secured the leader's jersey for the South Jersey Spring series that began in the freezing temps of April and ended on a warm weekend in May.  Her perseverance and consistent finishes led her to the top step of the podium!  We're also proud that our sister in pink, Christine joined her on third step of the podium.  Action Wheels riders were making their mark in South Jersey!!


As May came to a close, Meredith and Sarah lined up for the Master's Road Race Championships.  For the 3rd year in a row, CAWES brought home the 35+ champs jersey with a monster sprint from the Choppah (who'd a thunk it even possible??).  Meredith took the 2nd step of the podium and a silver medal after an amazing lead out at the finish.

To say that we're having fun is an understatement this year.  The team is small, but powerful and tight-knit.  We're having a blast riding hard, taking chances, and bringing home some bling in the process.

If you want to catch us in action, here's where you might see a flash of green in the month of June:

June 6th - NJ State Elite Road Race Championships, Pedericktown, NJ
June 14th - The Historic Riverton Criterium, Riverton, NJ
June 20-21st - Giro del Cielo, Augusta, NJ
June 21st - Race Avenue Criterium, Lancaster, PA
June 26th-28th - The Longsjo Classic, Fitchburg, MA

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Series and Navy Yard

The podium count continued at the Spring Series two weeks ago when Beth Bonilla took a strong solo break win in the Women's open race.  On a super windy day, Beth kept the pressure on with repeated attacks.  Finally, she launched an attack and realized that she was off the front solo.

She held the gap and finished several minutes in front of the field for a fantastic win!


Kristin and Maria raced the Women's 3/4 that same day and finished 6th and 7th in a tough field that saw a late break for the win to Action Wheels rider Maureen Gribb!  :)

Maria lined up for the Women's Cat 4 race at the Navy Yard this past weekend.  With winds gusting at upwards of 30 miles an hour, the race was one that saw most fields shatter and riders suffer as they faced a wall-like wind on several portions of the course.  Maria kept herself safely at the front of the field and managed to finish strong in 5th place!

Meredith, Beth, and Sarah stepped up to race in the super stacked Women's open field.  With three riders from Zimmer Capital, three from H&H Racing, a handful of EPS riders, and the likes of Laura Van Gilder, it was destined to be a really tough race.  With constant attacks and counter attacks, the ladies played it smart and tried to find the move that might go away from the field.  But, it was not to be and the field of 31 dwindled down to a sprint field of about 16 riders.

video

Thanks to Bob Wellmon for some awesome shots during the Navy Yard race... the three green amigas appreciate it!  :)




Sarah finished 11th, with Meredith in 14th and Beth in 15th.  With a field that strong and conditions that tough, we are really happy with our first real team debut in 2015!  We had an absolute blast together and can't wait to take on another Spring Series race next weekend.

Borda is currently sitting 2nd in the Cat 3/4 series, so we've got some podiums to find!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Spring Series Begins

OK - so this post is over a week late... the South Jersey Spring Series started two weekends ago.  It was supposed to start earlier than that, but Winter has been drunk lately and refuses to leave the party.  I mean, seriously, Winter... just go home and sleep it off.  We'll see you in a few months and won't even discuss that you tried to grab Summer's.... ahh, never mind.

For the team, our local Spring Series started with a bang!

Borda took the line for the 3/4 race on March 15th.  Just over a 6 mile circuit, the course may be flat (highway overpasses do NOT count as "hills), the famed south Jersey headwind is ALWAYS hanging about to try to knock you off your bike at the most inopportune moment.

It was a blustery day, but Borda managed to comfortably cover all of the attacks and conserve a lot of energy.  When it came down to the finish, she launched a strong sprint to bring home the team's first podium of 2015 with a 2nd place finish!


Borda and the Polish Pocket Rocket (Maria Dziembowska) lined up this weekend for the 3/4 race and again, things went swimmingly well for the Wasabi Warriors.  An early race solo break from Breigh on the Action Wheels Women's Team put the rest of the field on the defensive.  With some help, Borda was able to fight through the headwinds to catch her and solidify a small break group.  The six of them came to the line together and sprinted through a cross headwind.  Breigh showed her pure power by taking the win.  Borda crossed the line in 4th and Maria finished 8th on the day!



Borda then bundled herself back up, braved the ever increasing headwinds, and raced with the Choppah in the Open women's field.


A VERY early break occurred - about 4 minutes into the race, as we crested the "hill" of the first highway overpass!  The break comprised of the Choppah, Diane from Action Wheels, Lauren from H and H Racing, and Kristie from QCW.  A truly solid break with all of the teams represented, the four very quickly opened up a comfortable gap on the field.




Working together beautifully through the remaining laps, Choppah came to the line 2nd behind Lauren, securing the 2nd podium finish for the team in 2015!



As the field came to the line, Borda showed that she is "Strong Like Bull," by launching a powerful sprint.  As she comes to the line, head to head with Meg, the question is... will she, or won't she?!?


It was a SUPER close finish for the field sprint and 5th place, but Borda's powerful legs and awesome bike throw secured her 5th place in the Open field and put both CAWES riders in the money!  WOOT!


To say it was a good day of racing would be an understatement.  The best part is, we're together and having a blast.

A huge thank you and shout out to Matt Warner, who has turned this from a handful of small criterium races where we ladies lined up with the Master's Men, to a month long series where we have our own fields, a purse equal to that of the men, and absolutely gorgeous roads for racing.  Thank you, Matt... for your constant support of Women's racing in our region!

Watch for the Ladies in Lavender at next week's Spring Series races, and at the Navy Yard Criterium in South Philadelphia on April 4th.  Bring your cowbell, wear your purple and green, and cheer us on as we tackle the start of race season!