Velo Bella-Kona Ride

Putting it into perspective

Monday, January 16, 2006

Are the Cycling Gods Trying to Tell Me Something?

By Noel Weddle

OK, cycling can be the best mental therapy there is and a weekend of riding usually leaves you refreshed and smiling. However, this is not always the case.

I had the craziest weekend of riding and am feeling completely dazed and frazzled. Saturday was a long road ride through Grand Junction, Palisade, andFruita, Colorado. It was a sunny and brisk winter day and I was spinning along on the sleepy flat roads of Palisade, nothing but vineyards, orchards, and quiet.

I heard the unmistakable sound of car tires screeching before I even saw the car coming. I look up and see a car coming towards me, out of control, in my lane about 75 yards in front of me. At that moment, it turned back into it's lane, overcorrected and proceed to launch off the road about 30yards in front of me, over a small ditch, and hits a big old orchard tree head-on on the passenger side directly across the street from me. It happened so fast and was completely surreal. I was so stunned that I was just nearly plowed over at high speed, that I was trembling and my heart was beating through my chest. I was in the process of shakily getting off my bike and unzipping to find my cellphone and was shocked and relieved to see that the driver actually opened the door and was able to get out on his own. Thank goodness he was OK, but that definitely shook me up and resulted in an extremely tense and nervous remainder of my bike ride.

OK, off again for a long road ride on a very cold Sunday. I am riding through the farm roads near Fruita which are mostly flat and almost no traffic; unfortunately, farm roads also mean farm dogs.There are two ways to handle farm dogs on your bike ride. If you have enough speed and they don't see you coming, you go for it. If they see you coming, they come at you full speed and you should almost never try to out-sprint them at that point. Well, these two dogs saw me coming well in advance, so I had to stop. They surrounded me with one dog on each side (I'm telling you, they've got a system and have done this before); I was yelling at them and keeping my eyes on the big dog on my right when the little dog on my left jumped at me so quick I didn't even see it coming and it bit my left leg! I could feel it's little teeth in my skin even though Iwas wearing wind pants, super thick wool crew socks, and neoprene booties! It really didn't do too much damage, but I can't imagine how bad it would have been if I had not had on an inch of layers!

OK, now for the funny part…the vicious dog that bit me was a wienerdog! Seriously, I can't make this stuff up. I actually got some sympathy from my husband until I told him it was a wiener dog that bit me and he just shook his head and laughed. Hey, in all fairness, the other dog really was big and scary!

I woke to 3 inches of fresh snow this morning, a very tender and cut leg, and I am completely relieved that today is a rest day so I can regroup and visit my Dr. for my tetanus shot.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cold, Rainy Day in Belgium

By Christine "peanut" Vardaros

Just riding in thewoods on a cold, rainy day in Begium and what do i find....

part of the Belgian national team doing cyclo-cross circuits. I recognized some of the jersey names such as Scott, Fidea, Mapei-Quick STep, and Belgian Nat'l team kit.

So naturally i tag along, only to turn the corner and see none other than Rudy DeBie (Belgian National Team Coach.) He was handing the guys bottles while another guy stood there with spare wheels. Rudy recognized me and allowed me to join the workout. The trails had everything that the local races incorporate - mud bogs, fire roads, power climbs, berms, drop-offs, and short steep runups. Thanks to this ride, I now know the secret to racing well in
Belgium...the secret is to TRAIN in Belgium! hahaha.

The guys I rode with were mostly Beloften (U-23) and some juniors. I loved watching them float through the trails, not a word spoken. Periodically, they would look behind to see if the "american girl" was still in tow. I was definitely a spectacle to them - a never- seen-before occurence! I am sure they will talk about it for at least a week - until I join them again NEXT WEEK!!! I just can't wait. But first I must race in Lievin World Cup in France this sunday.

Thanks again for all your positive words of encouragement! I am surely soaking them all in!!!