Team BH USA Race Calendar

Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 Moving on.......

We have all gone our separate ways for 2010.

Devon can be found here

Madeleine can be found here

Anne can be found on the road in Northern Wisconsin :)

Kristen can be found here

See you on the road and at the races!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Team BH in a Calendar

Team BH is featured twice in the sweet Chicago Bike Racing Calendar. Check out Miss February and Miss April! (and check out the cool calendars!)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Illinois State Road Race

The Illinois State Road Race was disappointing on a lot of levels. First there were only 4 competitors for the elite women. I know that IL doesn't have that many elite women racers but come on, I know there were a bunch of you out there that could have raced but chose not to. I know it's late in the year and maybe some still had a bad taste in your mouth from last year. We still had a small field last year, I think it was 9 or so. It was a short loop and we were on the course at the same time as the 1/2 men. Our race kept getting neutralized, and at one point we had dropped some riders that were allowed to catch back on during one of the neutralizations--as if our racing is so lame that it just didn't matter. After multiple discussions throughout the year on how prize money would help draw a bigger field for the women, our prize money was still incredibly low compared to the men's even though we had to pay the same entry fee to race. Not that I am complaining after the fact--it was great that they stuck to the payout even though only 4 people showed up to race, it just makes it hard to recruit women to travel to race, especially this late the season, with such a low payout. On a positive note the course was very nice this year, a 10 mile loop around beautiful forest preserve tree lined smooth paved streets with a nice hill that was big enough to make a selection.

Even knowing that it could possibly be lame, Team BH USA felt it was important as residents of Illinois to do our part to support our state road race so we fielded 2 of the four racers. Anne doesn't even live in Illinois, but drove 5 hours down from Wisconsin to do her part for the team. The biggest bummer of the day came 5 miles into the 50 mile race when I got a flat tire. Anne gave me her wheel but instead of waiting for us to get it fixed, or even soft pedaling, one of the other riders took off and time trialed the 45 miles. It took us about 2 minutes to change it and I chased hard for 45 miles but couldn't close the gap. Anne rode the flat tire back to her car, changed it, and then continued on to finish the race. It was a gorgeous day and fortunately Anne and I like riding our bikes so at least we got in some nice hard riding. Anne was the ultimate teammate! Having a teammate there to give me her wheel was the kind of situation that I usually only can dream about, not to mention her driving all that way to ride with me, in what we knew would most likely be a pretty lame race. Thanks Anne! You are awesome.

On a personal level, I and the sponsors of Team BH USA are doing all we can to support women's cycling here in Illinois. As we are sending our own Devon Haskell to the ranks of a national level pro women's team, we now have a whole new bunch of women racers coming up through the ranks in Illinois and it is my hope that one day we will have a huge field for all of our IL state races!! It's our personal mission to be a part of the solution.

After the race we grilled out at the Cuttin Crew bus and helped celebrate their team's win in the men's cat 4 race. Congratuations Cuttin Crew!!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Congratulations Devon!

Devon Haskell will be leaving Team BH USA to ride with Team Tibco next year!

Good luck Devon, it was great riding with you.



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tour of Missouri Women's Series (Also known as Gateway Cup)

(Friday night under lights, Lafayatte Square, Kristen getting nipped at the line for a prime at 6 to go by Laura Van Gilder doh! and no that is not a smile it is total pain face!!)
photo courtesy of Robert Bilbrey

Gateway Cup is an awesome 4 crit series in St. Louis that has been around for I think at least 15 years, with at least one of the races, the Giro Della Montagna, in it's 23rd year. They have always meant great regional races for the women with a few pros showing up and cleaning up. This year, with the Tour of Missouri set to start on Monday, the organizers made a big push to bring pro women into the Tour of Missouri. The plan is for the Tour of Missouri to one day include a women's tour, but in the spirit of "baby steps" they started this year by making the 4 crit series of Gateway Cup a pro women's event. They invited all the big pro teams to St. Louis and we had a star studded field: Colovita, Tibco, Webcor, Team Type 1, Lipsmacker, as well as all the usual strong regional riders who usually show up. We ended up having fields of around 60 women each day and it was super cool riding around with women wearing world champion stripes on their jerseys as well as current and former national champions.

BH USA had planned to have three of us there, but Madeleine was stricken with a horrible stomach virus that has been going around the women's peloton. I had it a couple weeks ago, and we heard there were also several other riders that were unable to race this weekend due to illness. So Anne and I headed down along with Janette Rho from Chicago who was racing in the women's 3/4 series. We got hooked up with some awesome host housing, (thanks Marsha!!) and were pretty much blown away by how welcome we were made to feel during the whole series.

Now the races:

Friday night was LaFayette Square. The course was a wide flat sprinters course around a gorgeous park surrounded by huge cool historic houses. Our race started at 8:30 pm, so we were racing under street lights and also huge lights placed on the corners. The sides, especially the back side, were pretty dark, and even though I was fairly scared going in, it ended up feeling just fine. The whole race felt pretty reasonable and at 6 to go I was in good position to try for a prime. Nobody was leading it out, so I started to ramp it up but felt like I was pedaling through molasses. Nobody was coming around me so I kept it up only to get nipped at the line by Laura Van Gilder (see above photo.) Curses! This seems to be a reocurring theme for me this year! I was pretty blown up from that effort, plus my feelings were hurt so I just sort of gave up and rolled in. Anne finished a respectable 32nd. Tibco did a fantastic leadout train for Brooke Miller to win and Tina Pic rode for her local teammate Kelly Benjamin who got third to Laura Van Gilder's second place finish.

Saturday: The Hills. This was a new race this year, also in a very cool neighborhood surrounding a park--sort of theme for St. Louis. I loved this course. It was great pavement super wide, slightly uphill on the s/f side and slightly down on the other side. The race was fairly uneventful, but I just loved it! It's hard to explain but there was just a really laid back vibe going in the peloton. I felt really comfortable and like I belonged. I stopped braking in the corners and was able to maintain my position in the pack. After two years of riding in women's domestic pro pelotons I finally started to feel confident and good! I managed to move up a little in the final laps and sprint at the end. Even with the wide road I got super boxed in, but hung on for 17th place--in the money! Anne was not far behind and we both felt good. Brooke Miller and Tibco pulled off the win again. Kelly Benjamin was second and Sam Schnieder the U23 National Crit Champion from Wisconsin made the podium today.

Sunday: Giro Della Montagne "The Hill". "The Hill" is The Italian Neighborhood of St. Louis. This race has been going on for 24 years so the residents all are familiar with it. There is a slight hill on the back side, and a downhill for the finish. This race starts in front of a large Catholic Church and I'll never forget in 2001 when I did this race as my first "open" race after racing cat 4 all year a priest came out and said a prayer while we were all at the line waiting to start. After the prayer he put his hand on my shoulder (I was in the front row) and said directly to me "have a good race". I ended up having the best race of my career up until then! So I have always had fond memories of this race. It started to rain at the start of our race and it gradually got more and more wet until the course was fully soaked. A couple laps in after a drink from my bottle I was replacing it in it's cage when the next thing I know my hands are flying off the bars and my bike is jerking around. How I did not totally bite it I don't know. I heard somebody yell behind me, but I kept it together and got nothing more than a pounding heart. I just assumed I did a spaz move of some kind and put it out of my head. Then about 2 laps later there was a massive pile up in that same spot. I escaped with no injury and only a slightly bent derailleur hanger that Jose from SRAM was able to fix. Anne wasn't so lucky and took a nasty tumble into a rider who had fallen directly in front of her. Several riders were seriously injured and had to be hospitalized so they neutralized us. Anne was bleeding and bruised but she heroically finished the race. Turns out there was a huge unmarked divet in the pavement on that spot. After they spray painted it orange they restarted us. Spectators said later that every lap someone hit it, but we managed to finish the race without any more crashes, even though unfortunately for her Tina Pic blew a tire right after the free laps had expired--she kept her cool and no one crashed. Even though I finished in the unfortunate spot of 21, just out of the money, and Anne was just a little behind that I was feeling great after this race. I feel like I am finally able to feel comfortable in a pro field! Also noteable for this race was Jessi Prinner from ABD, fellow Chicagoan, Junior Worlds rider, bridging up solo and riding in a break of 3 for most of the race. It was a gutsy move since Tibco or Colovita weren't represented, but as always I am in awe of her guts and heart!! Brooke Miller and Tibco were 3 for 3 with Kelly Benjamin and Sam Schneider in second and third.

Sunday: Downtown Tour of Missouri Women's Criterium. COOL urban course. We were right under the St. Louis Arch and saw it on the start finish stretch. The back side was pretty bumpy which scared me every time, and the corners were a bit narrower than the other crits of the weekend, but I was consistantly taking them well. After racing for $1800 every day we were racing for Big Money $9000 today!! I was in ok position at 3 to go but I had trouble maintaining it and felt like in order to avoid moving backwards I had nowhere to be but on the outside in the wind going all out for about the last lap and a half. As a result when I hit the final sprint I had nothing left. I made myself go 100% and knew I was gaining on the person ahead of me but the finish line came too soon and I couldn't get her. I was pleased to end up finishing 20th--the last spot of the money yipppee!! Anne finished 32nd. Brooke Miller continued her winning streak, with Tina Pic finishing second, Sam Schneider in third.

Anne and I had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed all of the races. We love St. Louis! I got to hang out with some old friends and I think I had more fun racing this weekend than anywhere all year!! I'm super excited to have these be my final crits of the year and end on such a positive note.

One more racing weekend left: Illinois State Road Race Championships this Saturday!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Soldier Field Cycling Series

I decided to head down to the Soldier Field Cycling Series last week. It was a combination of my regular babysitter cancelling so I couldn't do my regular Wed ride, the availablity of last minute child care (thank you Barry!!) and wanting to see what all the fun I'd been hearing about all summer was about. I had heard that all year there had been large crowds, but it was pouring rain that day so it scared away a lot of participants and spectators and the podium girls and guys I had heard about. When we were racing the rain stopped so we just had lots of puddles to deal with.
I highly reccomend this series for people that work or live in the city and want to get some crit riding in. For a parking lot course it was pretty fun! Nice place to practice high speed cornering. The women's field was combined and small, only 6 of us, but I was super impressed with the other riders, especially the Track Cat Rosette! Great job out there. The event was very well run and lots of fun!