Monday, May 08, 2006

Fontana NORBA

The Fontucky freak show
I heard a few jokes about the Fontana area before I left for the first NORBA of the year, but I didn’t think it could be all THAT bad. I come from Nanaimo, which gets a bad rap by everyone who drives through the strip malls to get to where they are going. They never stop to check out any of the great trails, parks and beaches in Nanaimo. So I was ready to keep an open mind about Fontana. Sure there was heavy smog, gridlock traffic at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, graffiti on the race course, and a condom wrapper marking where the Velo Bella-Kona tent should stand, but I was trying to look past all of that. But when I got SHOT AT by two freaks with a paintball gun during my race I lost all sympathy and figured they probably deserved the jokes.

The homestay:
Lucky for us, the Velo Bella-Kona team avoided the freak show and stayed with the Baty family in Redlands. Actually, we were so many we spilled over into the neighbors across the street and down the road. They were great hosts!

The racing:
The Velo Bella’s were well represented as we had girls racing the marathon, super D, cross country, kids race and short track.

MARATHON – I didn’t race this event but I can tell you that the girls got up super early to make their 7:30am start Friday. If that is a regular occurrence, you will likely never see me racing a marathon event. Shannon Holden and Erin Duggan were out there rrrrepresentin’ the Velo Bella-Kona team in the early morning dawn while the rest of us were having a hard time getting our butts out of bed. We caught the end of the race as Shannon pulled in 6th and Erin 8th, I will let them tell you their war stories from the 49mile course.

CROSS COUNTRY – The coolest thing about the XC race was that there were over 60 pro women! Unfortunately for me, the NORBA organizer’s roll out list went off last years series results (I only did one event) so I didn’t hear my name until mid way through this 60 person call-up. Not an ideal spot since there was a super steep, loose climb about 300m out. I had to pin it off the start and weave through three rows to get up into the top group for the climb. It was a good thing I didn’t stick around row 4 because there was a crash off the start that held up some of the other Velo Bella girls. I should have been happy with my effort but I was greedy and torched my legs trying to pass a few more girls when I should have just saved energy for the 99% of the course that was left. I got dropped and suffered up the rest of the climbs lap 1. I did have some great descents. The course was super dry and rutted with some serious man-eating braking bumps but it was really twisty and fun singletrack for the most part. I recovered some dignity and energy for lap 2 and hooked up with Sue Haywood (Trek-VW) and Kathy Sherwin (Ford). I made my move at the start of the last lap and thought I had dropped them both but Sue had more in the reserve tank than I had guessed and left me for 9th place.
After the XC race, MTB action was doing a weigh-off of the race bikes and my Kula Lisa came in second at 22.6lbs! Not too shabby considering I am a sasquatch on the start line of most races.

Alex Fabbro and Kathleen Bortolussi stepped up for the pink and blue as they came home with the 1-2 trophies in the expert XC race Sunday
Super D - We also had two podium finishes for the women’s super D. Erin Duggan had a 5th place in the Pro category and Alex Fabbro brought home the BIG trophy for her category.

KIDS RACE – Jen Tilley was asked to help out with the kid’s race along with a few other pros, I can’t remember their names… She was decked out in her full pink and blue kit to race the under 7 race that included our own Katya Baty in her Velo Bella-Kona jersey (Brent gave it to her when the road team stayed at her house for the Redlands race). She got the hole shot and absolutely annihilated the other girls on her BMX bike (including JT).

Barry Wicks was hoping he could take the under 12 race by making them do 12 laps but the officials bumped it down to 2 laps. Barry led the group into the hail bails and tried to get away but one guy caught him in the finish chute.

SHORT TRACKIf the time trail is the “race of truth” than I think the short track should be “the race of death”. There is something seriously wrong with the amount of suffering you inflict upon yourself for this twenty minute race. It never sounds like a long time but you know you are in trouble when you desperately check the clock to find you have been racing for 12mins. The only thing that saved me was that the course was amazing! It was a really fun loop that went UP the mountain cross course to link up with a steep loose downhill and twisty singletrack through the trees. I didn’t torch my legs off the start like Sat but I made a few moves to get up to the front pack. Unfortunately, I always seemed to be dangling off the back of that group. The worst spot to be in, yet I couldn’t seem to move up. Every time I got a good spot I would lose it on a bad corner or yo-yo off a bobble. I held on for a long time but came apart on the last lap and lost a few spots to end up 11th.

So that wrapped up the Fontucky NORBA, sure it was a little ghetto but I guess we can’t always race the ski hills of Whistler and Big Bear..

Thanks to our team manager/mechanics Alex Burgess, Jed Peters and Tim Burgess. Thanks to our wicked homestay families. And thanks to our team sponsors Velo Bella, Kona, SRAM, Easton, Schwalbe, Zeal, Hincapie, Sidi, Giro, Crank Brothers, Fox, P@zzo and my sponsors Helly Hansen and Frontrunners


At 5:30 PM, Blogger Soigneur_Tim said...

Great report - it was a lot of fun. Good luck at the World Cup races. I just noticed that someone else is also getting excited about you and Kristin racing in Spain:

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Soigneur_Tim said...

And now Wendy we're going to miss you at the Sonoma Mtb Race - unless you want to fly in to watch the U.S. Nationals there. They just hosed a NORBA and remade it into the nationals (in lieu of Mammoth).

At 9:55 AM, Blogger placeholder said...

Thank you Wendy for the awesome report, and cool photos. Here are some more that we took in this parking spot.

At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed looking at your site, I found it very helpful indeed, keep up the good work.

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous The Baty Family said...

You have a great sense of humor about your full combat experience in Fontucky! Talk about adding a wacked dimension to racing, hopefully next year the natives will be tamer. It was fun hosting you folks, have fun this season. It was cool to see you catch air off the big rock on that technical descent. Katya and Michelle send their best to you and the team as well. (or should we say all y'all) : )


Post a Comment

<< Home