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Seeking Portland, Oregon Bellas
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beth h
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 Posted: Wed Apr 1st, 2009 10:35 pm

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I joined Velo Bella last year in hopes of finding other women to ride with and perhaps take the bold step of entering a race.

My partner -- who is not a cyclist -- supports my desire to do this, although she cannot train with me.

I have set aside enough money to buy a VB jersey for 2009, and have signed up with my local race organization (OBRA) to get a number for cyclocross season. (I'll be racing beginner class, single-speed.) That seems like a long way off, but I am an out-of-shape, untrained daily commuter and occasional populaire rider, heading into my later 40's, who wants very much to do something radically different and new on a bicycle. Cross looks like simply too much fun not to do it. So here I am.

Problem is, I'm doing this all by myself. The handful of women I know who race are so many levels above me in fitness, speed and the ability to carve out a huge chunk of time to train, that I will slow them down (and at least two have said as much when asked). My doctor has cleared me to do this but cannot offer much in the way of specifics. She suggested I hook up with a trainer. (sigh)

For now, I am doing small sets of crunches and stretching by my bedside at night, and commute daily to and from work on my bike. I cannot afford a trainer or a gym membership and am doing this sort of in the dark. I feel like I ought to take this slowly and carefully, but haven't got a clear sense of where to begin.

What I would really like is to find some women to ride with, even if only once a month, who can also teach me a thing or three about general bicycle fitness and maybe something about cyclocross.

Any Bellas living in the Portland/Vancouver area? Wanna go for a ride? Lemme know.
Cheers and happy riding --Beth

girochatterbox
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 Posted: Wed Apr 8th, 2009 10:09 pm

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Beth,

I guess it doesn't count that I'm a wanna be Portland Bella. I LOVE Portland and secretly hope to live there some day. :) OK, I guess it's not so secret.

In any case, I know there are lots of folks here on the boards that will be happy to give you training/fitness tips as well as cyclocross advice. Feel free to ask questions whenever they arise.

I'll try to think of folks in your area that would be good to ride with for training.

Best,
Sarah Clatterbuck
sarah@secadvertising.com

beth h
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 Posted: Wed Apr 8th, 2009 10:52 pm

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Lots of people have moved here simply because they wanted to.
Consider this some official encoruagement. Just don't forget your rain gear...

Cheers--Beth

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 Posted: Sun Apr 12th, 2009 07:32 am

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Hi Beth,

Welcome to the Team/Club!  It is difficult getting started as a VB in an area where there are not as many of us racing "at your level." Jen Chapman lives in Bend, Brenna Lopez-Ortero lives in Hood River; Sara Johnson is in Portland (Pro DH/XC) and a fine Chiro I'm told...; and a few others I think. 

Look Sara Johnson on the pro MTB team area of the site and give her a shout.  Also, don't be afraid to ask friends/people you see out riding to become VBs.  You never know, you might just get a crazy chapter going in Portland!

Have fun,

Alex

beth h
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 Posted: Sun Apr 12th, 2009 05:00 pm

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Hi! Thanks for the shout out.

I decided to join Velo Bella in hopes of finding encouragement for my riding from more levels of experience. It definitely feels like I'm sort of all alone up here, since most women who do organized riding are MUCH faster than me and already affiliated with other clubs. I have found some encouragement, though the weather and some lingering health issues have curtailed my training a little. I will make the calls you recommended and hope to order a 2009 jersey soon. Thanks much --Beth

Boa Boy
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 Posted: Sun Apr 12th, 2009 06:57 pm

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Hi Beth,

Follow-up with Sara, but I have another idea as well... 

Finding women riding/racing at "your" level is always hard.  Most VBs I've meet are leaders whether they call themselves that or not.  Your willingness to step forward and take a chance learning a new sport/passion and asking the questions you have provides an example of what I'm talking about. 

Go over to Fat Tire Farm in Portland and tell them you are a Velo Bella and would like to organize a women's ride once a week.  I believe there is a template meeting/clinic/ride announcement in pdf format under the private Team Annoucements section you use to create a nice "pro" look to your announcement.

Then, post an announcement on Craigslist.org/portland and see who shows up.  I suggest Fat Tire Farm for two reasons: 1. They are a Kona dealer so they know about VB (other than our usual infamy); 2. They are also an Ellsworth Bikes dealer and we are about to close our deal with them.

Have the shop provide a mechanic to teach ONE new wrenching skill per week/month so the women participating not only enjoy new friends but consistently gain confidence in their mechanical skills. 

Anyways, just an idea.  Feel free to write me a "private message" and I'll give you my phone number so we can chat live.

Have fun,

Alex

kzoo_swmmr
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 Posted: Tue Apr 14th, 2009 04:29 pm

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Hi Beth !  I also WISH I were a Bella in Portland/area, what a great place to live ! 

Don't be too frustrated at being off on your own for now.  I can understand - I'm the only Bella in W. Michigan, and am also a "tweener" when it comes to our local group rides - not quite fast enough & not quite slow enough.  But the good news is, there are lots of tips on these message boards for getting started & improving, and if you don't find the right answers, the boards are full of friendly Bellas who can answer your questions.

As for ride groups, Alex's suggestions for starting a group are excellent.  If you aren't comfortable starting a group right now, be patient.  Enjoy riding, by yourself and with whatever groups of people you can find (remember ... even if the other cyclists are "faster", not every ride is going to be an all out effort.  You may be able to start out by finding a "faster" cyclist or two to ride with on their recovery ride days, and build from there).

And, of course, just by wearing the bella colors & flair with pride, you will meet many, many interesting people.  With good reason, everyone loves the jersey & the team/club's mission.   Ride with a smile & a sense of fun & you will soon have lots of riding partners!  Good luck & please keep us posted about how things go with your training and racing !   Monica

vbtrigirl
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 Posted: Thu Apr 16th, 2009 04:15 pm

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Hey Beth!

I'm an Oregon State grad, and although I live in DC now, and this week's weather was very Oregonian.....I do sometimes wish I was back in PNW!

I know just how tough it is to start a VB chapter....but if you stick with it, eventually they will come! 

Also, Susan Ocatane of Team Estrogen is in Portland, and has always been a big supporter of VB, so you might look her up from her website (http://www.teamestrogen.com).

I promise you, once you get that jersey, and show up at ANY group ride, you'll get other gals who want to be Bellas too!

beth h
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 Posted: Thu Apr 16th, 2009 04:31 pm

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Well, as soon as the jerseys become available I'll sure wear one.
Meanwhile, I am slogging through my annual Seasonal Allergy Onslaught -- wheezing and coughing and reaching for the inhaler until my body gets used to the return of the pollen -- so I'm not riding much right now. I feel like I should hang a sign around my neck that reads "watch this space for further developments" or something like that.

Thanks for the tips, all --Beth

p.s. what is Frazzle exactly? Is this where having a Velo Bella decoder ring would come in handy? :D

Last edited on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 04:33 pm by

andrea
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 Posted: Mon Apr 20th, 2009 09:32 pm

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Hi Beth,

I'm Andrea and I'm a Portland Bella! I'm sorry it's taken so long to get back in touch but I've had some computer/password/access issues and am finally all squared away again on being in touch with the VB world! Have you done any races yet? I am gearing up for the track season which starts in a few weeks but there are some track instruction classes (first one April 29th, next Wednesday) that I'm going to help teach and you could come and try it out! I mostly do track and crits (at least for now) and I'd love to have a fellow bella out there. The women are fun, helpful and the cat 4 races on the track are really safe I promise! Let me know what you are up to! :)

beth h
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 Posted: Mon Apr 20th, 2009 10:43 pm

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Hi Andrea -- thanks for the replt.

My knees are frankly too old to take up track at this point. However, I am aware of the beginner's class and have referred several of our customers to it (I work at Citybikes).

I have not raced in over 15 years and when I did it was strictly timetrials (hillclimbing used to be my thing). I am getting into 'cross for fun and if I can complete a circut of the course before I get lapped I will be One Happy Camper.

Let's stay in touch. PM me or stop by Citybikes ANnex and say hello.

Happy riding!
Beth

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 Posted: Tue Apr 21st, 2009 07:11 pm

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I'm happy to do whatever is needed if I can get over that first hill in a timely manner :))

MarshaK
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 Posted: Tue Apr 21st, 2009 07:14 pm

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Oops - wrong forum!  I'm Board Challenged :))


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