Monday, July 27, 2009

Help Save the Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix (and keep me out of jail)

The presenting sponsor of the Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix presented by Hawk Relay has defaulted on their $5,000 sponsorship for the race. I made promotion + spending decisions based on that sponsorship, including the addition of a third women's race this year. At present, I've been able to cover all expenses except one bill to the City of Menlo Park for $4,000. If we can't pay this bill, Menlo Park will not grant us permission to promote this race again in 2010.

The Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix has become a spring favorite with northern CA racers, with all fields selling out. The race is the first race of the Bay Area Women's Cycling Association points series, and includes separate races for Women 4 (with a separate podium for the W4 35+), Women 3, and this year, the addition of the Women's P/1/2/3 race. Velo Girls puts a ton of resources into this race to make it a memorable and safe experience for everyone.

Being a self-employed cycling coach, I don't have a big fat savings account to draw on to cover the defaulted sponsorship. So, I'm asking my friends in the cycling community to help SAVE THE MENLO PARK GRAND PRIX. Each small donation will help me pay this last outstanding bill and will allow us to promote this race in the future.

Follow the link to make a donation on

A note regarding My goal is to raise $5,000. The posted goal on is $100. No donations will be collected unless we meet this $100 minimum.

If you prefer to make a donation by check, email me at for details.

Thank you everyone!


ps -- please note that the default sponsor IS NOT Tri-Flow. They have been a fabulous sponsor for many years and we hope to continue our relationship with them for many years to come.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's a Super Week for Velo Girls -- part 5

Three Team Velo Girls members travelled to Wisconsin to participate in the legendary week of bicycle races -- Super Week! They'll be racing everyday for eight days -- 6 criteriums and 2 road races. Here is the report on Day 5 from team member, Jill Eyres: Criterium
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Racine, Wisconsin
Women 3/4

The fifth race in five days (!) was in Racine, about a 40 minute drive from where we're staying near Milwaukee. Our race was 28 laps of a very short course -- about 0.7 miles per lap in downtown Racine -- with eight turns per lap. The online description of the course says it's "flat" but that is, quite frankly, a complete lie. Also missing from the online description is the fact that the pavement in some places is just terrible, which caused a couple of explosive flats during our race as well as one near crash.

It was a warm sunny day, and quite humid. Our warmups over the past five days have been getting less and less enthusiastic, as we've been more tired and sore and as the days have been getting warmer. I think we may have put in scarcely 30 minutes on the trainer before wandering off in search of shade and rest before our race. We were a bit disheartened to see a number of new jerseys in the mix, people who haven't been racing for multiple consecutive days and therefore have fresh legs. (We've been joking that there should be a 20 pound penalty for each Superweek race a person hasn't participated in.)

The race started somewhat fast. I stayed on for a couple of laps, trying to keep a steadier pace rather than sprinting out of every corner which seems to be the general M.O. of this group. When I fell off I started working with a girl named Alma in a plain kit. We caught up to a Project 5 girl named Jeryl, and worked with her until we caught Dana. The four of us worked pretty well for several laps, and were eventually able to catch three others, including Dolce Rachel.

Right after we caught them, though, we were lapped by the pack (did I mention it was a really short course?), which still included Emily (yay!). The pack had slowed down considerably at this point, so most of us stragglers were able to hop back on. It was clear that whoever was in front of the pack was tired of pulling, and no one was willing to go up and take their place. Dana and I stayed with the pack for most of the rest of the race, until the last lap when they all took off again; we weren't going to kill ourselves sprinting for 25th place so we continued our time trialing.

Emily said she wasn't well-positioned at the end for her sprint, and we don't know exactly how she placed. We didn't go check the results after the race. We were parked pretty far from the registration/start/finish area, and by the time we had cleaned up and packed the car, we were more focused on root beer floats than on walking 3/4 mile back to registration. So far they've been pretty good about posting the results quickly so we should know soon.

Sorry this isn't the most exciting report. Also we don't have any photos from the race. Maybe tomorrow....


It's a Super Week for Velo Girls -- part 4

Three Team Velo Girls members travelled to Wisconsin to participate in the legendary week of bicycle races -- Super Week! They'll be racing everyday for eight days -- 6 criteriums and 2 road races. Here is the report on Day 4 from team member, Emily Weinert:

AltoLab Lake Front Road Race presented by Hincapie Sportswear
Wednesday July 22, 2009
Milwaukee, WI
Women 3/4

The day started out rather gloomy for us - tired legs and cloudy skies, but we headed out the door and rode the ~4-5 miles down to the race start. The course was 5 laps of an approximately 4.2 mile loop with 2 punchy climbs and 2 descents - one curvy descent and one wide open, gradual descent. After warming up on the course, we headed to the starting line, despite talk of running off for waffles.

As we were waiting for the whistle, it started spitting, which seemed rather fitting. Finally, we headed off on Lake Dr. towards our first climb, which left my legs and lungs screaming. Luckily I was able to tuck in for the flat section along the top of the bluffs as the rain got heavier. On the first time down the twisty descent, we had two riders from our field crash and also saw a M4/5 wiped out in the gutter. Luckily everyone was ok, and after a very careful remainder of the descent, we made it back onto Lake Dr. and headed for our next climb.

The next lap also saw 2 crashes, one on the descent, which kept the field fairly polite. However, as the laps went on, the roads started to dry and the winds on Lake Dr. picked up, so everyone started fighting for wheels. People kept throwing attacks out on the second climb of pretty much every lap, but the field would catch them on the narrow park roads before our sweeping descent to the start/finish. I wouldn't say that I was feeling good, but my legs were doing ok and I was able to tag onto the back of all the attacks on the climbs, which I was pretty happy about. Also, I finally got my racing head on straight and was able to be more aggressive about fighting for the wheels I was on, which was good (I was having serious pack anxiety in the first 3 races).

At the end of the 4th lap, Christine Riker (Dolce Vita) launched an attack up the second climb (she led some fantastic attacks throughout the race) and when we got to the top the pack was nice and stretched out. However, just before the right turn to the sweeper descent, our pace car pulled us over and basically stopped us so we could be passed by the men's pack before the turn. Unfortunately that also allowed all of the pure sprinter types to grab on to the pack again, which came back to bite me later on.

When we finally took off again, we headed down the descent at break neck speed and flew back up the first hill. I dropped to the back of the lead pack on the curvy downhill (I just couldn't get the sight of all the skidding crashes out of my head), but sprinted back into the pack in time for the final hill of the race. The wheel I was on got gapped on the downhill, but I was able to get myself (and sadly, most of the pack) up to the group of leaders with about half a mile to go. I wasn't able to tuck in, so I found myself even at the front of the pack as the sprint started. It was all going
pretty well and I was even with the others in the top 3-4 until the last 20m when they all put it into an extra gear and I found myself sitting back on my seat. So, in the end I finished 11th, but I'm definitely the happiest I've been with my race so far. Dana and Jill took 22 and 23 and worked their butts off time trialing it in the horrible headwinds.

But, the day did end on a bright note with the three of us getting to watch the pro men's race and see some amazing racing. And tomorrow, we're off to Racine for a funky almost figure eight of a crit. Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Double your pleasure; double your fun!

Last season, Velo Girls Coaching Services added a series of 4-hour Bike Skills modules, each focusing on a different skill set: bike handling, climbing + descending, group riding, racing, mountain biking, and cyclocross. Some of our clients suggested that we pair up our two most popular clinics -- Bike Skills 101 (individual bike handling) and Bike Skills 201 (climbing + descending) -- and we took that suggestions to heart.

Sunday, August 2nd, you can participate in a full day of co-ed Bike Skills fun! From 8:00am - 12:00pm, we'll cover all the essential bike handling skills in Bike Skills 101. Then, from 1:00pm - 5:00pm, we'll teach you to climb + descend like a champ in Bike Skills 201.

There are still a few spots available in both clinics. And while you don't have to participate in both, we wanted to provide that opportunity for those of you who really want an intensive day of cycling fun + learning!

Registration and more information here:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's a Super Week for Velo Girls -- parts 2 + 3

Three Team Velo Girls members travelled to Wisconsin to participate in the legendary week of bicycle races -- Super Week! They'll be racing everyday for eight days -- 6 criteriums and 2 road races. Here are the reports on days 2 + 3 from team member, Jill Eyres:

Wheel & Sprocket Whitnall Park Road Race
Hales Corners, WI -- July 20, 2009
Cat 3/4 Women

This race was the first of two consecutive races that took place in the Boerner Botanic Gardens in Hales Corners, WI. The course was a 2.3 mile counter-clockwise loop with rollers that weren't anything worse than what you find on Canada Road. Very pretty setting, and the best part was that there were REAL BATHROOMS, inside the Botanic Gardens' education center. No porta potties! First class! Beautiful day, not too hot.

I won't lie: I felt like crap the morning of this race. I was not only tired from the race on Sunday, but also pretty demoralized -- not that I had expected to win in Evanston, but getting dropped off the back after lap one wasn't my idea of a great time. "What am I doing here?" went through my mind countless times as we were setting up, warming up, and getting to the line. At the starting line I tried to give myself a pep talk, somewhere between "it's a training ride" and "suck it up."

Whistle blows, off we go. The first lap was not nearly as bad as I'd feared. As in Evanston there was some jostling and sketchiness at the beginning, but after a minor chicane and small descent we hit the first hill, and everyone concentrated on climbing which quieted the lateral movement somewhat. At the end of the loop there was a rather tight left turn followed immediately by the steepest climb of the loop, back up to the start/finish line. The tight turn is where the California girls (us and Dolce Vitas) started shouting things like "hold your line!" etc. Without official race mentors, we took it upon ourselves to offer advice!

I tried to position myself in the middle of the pack, which worked fairly well. At the end of the first loop I felt pretty good, so decided that I would try to stay with the pack for at least the first five laps (out of 10 total). Mission accomplished -- I did it. However, at the beginining of the first hill on lap six, I dropped off the back. I tried really hard to get back on but couldn't do it. I did catch up to a redheaded girl named Jamie who worked with me to catch Dana, who'd apparently fallen off the back soon after I had. The three of us worked together for two laps, and then I hit empty. I told Dana to go on with Jamie, and I did the last two laps by myself. A few girls passed me and I just didn't have anything left to chase them with. It felt like forever but I finally got to the finish line. Yay! I declined Emily and Dana's invitation to do a cool down ride, and instead lay in the grass under a shady tree....

All in all, still not my best race, but not as bad as I'd set it up to be in my head. Two down!

Schlossman Whitnall Park Criterium presented by Honda & Subaru City
Hales Corners, Wisconsin
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
CAT 3/4 Women

This was the second day in the Boerner Botanic Gardens. The course was a shorter version of our loop from the day before, except clockwise and without the steepest hill and the little chicane. The race was 18 laps of a 1.1 mile loop. The weather wasn't much warmer than the day before, but it was noticeably more humid, which made for a more sluggish warmup. I actually wasn't pre-registered for this race, and had been flirting with the idea of just sitting it out. But Dana made me do it, and I'm glad she did.

Just after the start line was a sharp right turn followed by a climb -- again, nothing you wouldn't find on Canada Road, but the turn made it a bit tricky. Again the California girls were calling out for everyone to watch their lines, please leave room on the inside, etc. Awareness helps, and things were not too bad overall there, at least while I was with the pack.

My goal was to stay with the pack for at least five laps, and I accomplished that goal. I got dropped on the climb just after the start/finish line on the beginning of the sixth lap. Learning from the day before, however, I didn't kill myself trying to get back on. I could see Dana not too far ahead of me, but she was working with someone else so I never did catch her. I decided to just hunker down and practice my time trialing, which I was pretty happy about. I don't know if I was going all that fast, but I was using my energy well, and I felt like I could sustain it through the rest of the laps.

At the beginning of three laps to go, I heard the lead car honking and could see the pack coming up on the start/finish line behind me. I moved over to the left and waited for them to pass me, but apparently they'd lost some steam over the course of the last 12 laps because it took them nearly an entire lap to actually overtake me. Fortunately I was able to hop on at the beginning of two laps to go, and got more or less a free ride in their draft for a whole lap. Unfortunately, at the beginning of their last lap, they took off again. I decided to save my energy because I still had two laps to go... or so I thought. When I got to the start/finish, I tried to tell the officials that I still had a lap to go, but they told me I was done.

So I still finished near the end of the group, but I was happier about my experience than in the two prior races. Maybe the races will just keep getting better and better!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's a Super Week for Velo Girls -- part 1

Three Team Velo Girls members travelled to Wisconsin to participate in the legendary week of bicycle races -- Super Week! They'll be racing everyday for eight days -- 6 criteriums and 2 road races. Here's the first report from team member, Jill Eyres:

The NorthShore University HealthSystem Grand Prix
Evanston, IL
-- July 19, 2009
Cat 3/4 Women

Our first race at Superweek was in downtown Evanston, not far from where I grew up. Eighteen laps of a flat, mostly counter-clockwise course, with reasonable pavement but a couple of slick and depressed manhole covers interrupting what would otherwise be good corner lines. It was a combined Cat 3/4 race, with about 30 racers starting.

It was a fast race! After the start, there was a lot of movement in the pack and unsteady lines in corners. Between the headwind from the north and getting squeezed out on corners, I got dropped off the back soon after the first lap. I worked with two others -- including a Dolce Vita -- for a couple of laps, and then we picked up a fourth girl as well. I was struggling, though, and at about six laps to go, they dropped me.

When the main pack passed me with two laps to go, I was happy to see Emily still hanging in there. I was desperately hoping that I would get pulled, but no such luck -- I had to finish the rest of the race by myself. But I finished, safely, and so did Dana and Emily, despite a crash that took out a couple of girls in the main pack at some point. Emily and Dana celebrated with a free massage in the vendor tent area; I had to settle for Chicago pizza :-)....


Monday, July 13, 2009

Group Riding and Racing Clinics in July

Now that the season's in full swing, it's the perfect time for you to refine your skills and take your cycling to the next level. Velo Girls Coaching Services has two upcoming clinics that will help you do just that!

Bike Skills 301 -- Group Riding Skills (co-ed) -- July 19th -- 9:00am -- 1:00pm

Wheelsucking is an art! Whether you’re a racer or a recreational rider, group riding skills will help you ride longer, faster, and farther. We’ll learn draft theory and basic pacelines, beginning with partner work and progressing to more complex group riding skills and introductory racing techniques. Pre-requisite: Bike Skills 101 or equivalent experience. Pre-registration required. USA Cycling upgrade points available.

Register now at

Bike Skills 302 -- Racing Skills + Tactics (men + women) -- July 26th

This four-hour clinic will teach you all the individual bike-handling and group riding skills you'll need to race your first (or your 10th) criterium or road race. In addition to skills & drills, you'll receive expert coaching on race preparation and logistics, and an introduction to tactics. We'll finish the day with a training race followed by a de-brief. Pre-requisite: Bike Skills 101 or equivalent experience. USA Cycling upgrade points available.

Register now at