Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lauren's On the Road Again!

Lauren, our "frisky kitten", is an accomplished runner and triathlete, and she LOVES to ride bikes!

It wasn't long ago that Lauren, started out on her solo journey to Tucson. A brave little kitten cycling alone, she made the trip from Ohio to Tucson in 23 days, camping along the way. She attended graduate school at the University of Arizona only to find that she was in one of the cycling meccas of the country. I think maybe Lauren was a smart little kitten. Temptation got the best of her, as she fell in love with the world of cycling. She raced and rode the streets of Tucson, riding up and down every mountain she could find around the city. She worked for a lawyer who was an advocate for cyclists...worked in a bike shop...and helped coach the youth cycling team in Tucson, which included Junior High and High School students..."El Grupo".

Now Lauren is leaving Tucson with all of her worldly goods packed into her little panniers on the back of her pretty new touring bike. This time she has company with her boyfriend, Jared. He had joined her last summer on part of her bike trip from Seattle to San Diego... and now they're headed to Florida where they will take a break before riding up the East Coast.

The Vanderkittens wish you both a safe and FuN journey!

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's 5:00 Somewhere!

Kit Cat Maggie makes a toast to the beginning of good things to come! It's 5:00 somewhere :)

Hello Kitty is the cat name for Bonnie, our cat who is always working when we have our socials. She's very much at home at Conte's after leaving a corporate job to work in a fitness-oriented environment. She's presently training for an amateur figure competition but also has a background in running and triathlons.

Julie, our Cali Cat, is the tallest on our team. She has a very strong background as a runner and places high on the podium at triathlons both locally and nationwide. She was the first member on our team to compete this year and won her age group at the cyclocross race here at the beach.

We just can't get enough of each other! Club Manager, Barb our Top Cat, decided to have yet another "social" for our every growing team since we are getting contacts daily from interested cats in the region. Last night 4 prospective team members came and it looks like we have some cats who will fit right in. Our team continues to grow in many ways and our talents on and off the bike are becoming more apparent. We're getting club members with swimming backgrounds, rowers, triathletes, runners and we're young and old too boot. Sassy Cat aka Meredith, is our youngest kitten at 24 and Donna is our oldest at 58!

Linda is our "unnamed cat" but when she does get her cat name it will have to be about her petiteness or sweetness. She always says the right thing at the right time about our team and we all think she gave the best toast about our team last night. Welcome Linda

Kelly Cat is very excited about being a new kitten to our team. She tells us that she likes to try new things but that she's not great at anything. I know we'll be seeing great results from Kelly with her 6 pack ab and fire in her eyes.

Barb, our Mitten Kitten, is our fair weather rider. If it's under 70 she's on a trainer or her Concept 2. Barb is going to keep us straight with computer issues and is a fierce competitor when she time trials. Barb loves long rides and justifies her nice equipment riding Bike Va.

The strongest legs on the team belong to our Cheetah and Ali Cat. I have some great shots but they're TOP SECRET right now. We can't disclose everything so early in the season.

Lauren, our Frisky Cat and also daughter of Barb our Top Cat, is now en route from Tuscson to Florida on her bike so we'll be putting out updates on her journey to the East Coast.

As for me, my collarbone looks like it's healed and ready for race season. You'll find me at lots of time trials but the docs say "NO" to the crits. When you see me on the sidelines with camera in hand make sure you smile otherwise I'll come hurt you!

Podium Cat

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Per BJ's urging I thought I would step-up and be the first to write a short blog so she can read something other her own posts. When thinking about what the heck to write about I started reminiscing about early childhood bicycle memories. Perfect, I thought! One particular memory sticks firmly in my head, mainly due to the great embarrassment it caused me. Non-the-less about 15 years later I can share this story and laugh about it. ...

As many of you know my dad, Michael Kane is a cyclist as well. Needless to say he was trying to get me on a bike barely before I was out of diapers. Ok I exaggerate but you get the idea. I remember him telling me it was time to "get off those training wheels and ride like a big girl". Hours later and a few falls I was on my way. Since then I haven't looked back, which is good b/c it would be difficult to stay up with you ladies in a group ride if i still had those training wheels on! I digress....back to the point of this blog. My most embarrassing bicycle story. I was in second grade and very into my new mountain bike at the time.

My friend Christine and I found hours of enjoyment racing around our driveway and jumping off the curb to test the shocks of our bikes. We thought we were "so badass". Being the daredevils we were we devised a "race course" to test our skills. It went something like this: Start at the end of the court, race as fast as humanly possible into my driveway, make the sharp turn around the triangle that was my mothers flower garden, then race down driveway to complete the course with a jump off the curb. Brilliant! Cue my start...pedal, pedal, pedal. Faster!! Now I'm flying, hit driveway, begin sharp u-turn and smash! There I go flying over my handle bars face first into the driveway, ouch. Apparently, tight u-turns at sonic speeds don't work? Long story short--I end up scrapping off pretty much all my nose and have to sport the most ridiculous bandage over my nose.

I am in second grade remind you, and in love with my first real crush Kevin. I was just thrilled walking into school looking like that and him coming up and asking "what the heck happened"? Mortifying for a young girl, lol. I carried that feeling around for a good week until my nose was healed enough to then sport the massive scab that formed while it healed..... Well I never raced around that turn again, and feel I learned a valuable lesson that day. So now I encourage you ladies to post a story from your childhood cycling days, I know there has to be some funny ones! BTW BJ told me on Saturday that I need to come up with a "kitty/cat name". After much contemplation I have chosen "Sassy Cat". Once you get to know me better this will make much more sense, but I feel it describes me well haha. `

-"Sassy Cat" aka Meredith Kane

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reservations Required!

I love special occasions. I love celebrating anything. If I hear someone's having a birthday I'm all over it with a party, a dinner, a cake, wine or anything to make it special. When my husband Banker Bob aka "Bob Cat", said he was taking me out for dinner on Valentine's, I was so excited because for once I was out of the kitchen. It's not that we don't go out for dinner all the time, it's just that we have never celebrated Valentine's in a restaurant. At 6:00 we walk out the door to go to a nice quiet local restaurant here at the beach. When we get in in the car I ask Bob Cat if he made reservations. He replied that it wasn't necessary because the restaurant is never crowded. I mention that it is Valentine's Day and a few folks still celebrate special occasions even if there is a recession. Being married to the guy for 34 years makes me think he may be right for once. Of course we pull into the parking lot and, after finding a parking place, are greeted by the hostess who asks if we have reservations. Bob says "no" and she says we can be seated at 10:00. Out the door we go. Bob's feeling pretty low at this point and I'm thinking this is going to cost him! We head to the beach where we're sure we'll find a nice quiet restaurant because who goes to the beach for dinner in February? Well, a mile out we see red lights. No, its not emergency vehicles, its tail lights from all the cars headed to the beach for dinner on, you guessed it, Valentine's night. We drove past some of our favorites and couldn't find an empty space in the parking lots. I'm going easy on the guy because he's squirming big time. Oh, this is going to cost him! The only certainty is that I'm not going home at this time (8:00) to cook. We finally see a new restaurant which has take and bake pizza as well as a nice seating area for about 20. We walk up to the door and the hostess greets us and asks if we have reservations. We tell her "no" and she says she can seat us in 30 minutes. We look around and there are many tables empty. She says they have been reserved. At this time we look at each other, order a take and bake pizza only to be told it will be a 20 minute wait. She asks if we want a seat at the bar and we look and see only 2 empty seats at opposite ends. Maybe not a bad idea to separate at this point. The bartender is feeling sorry for me and suggests a seat at an empty table and a glass of wine. I'm thinking that's a good idea since we're waiting for this 20 minute pizza to be made that we're taking home to bake for another 20 minutes. Our wine comes, it's great and not one minute later our take and bake pizza arrives. No problem, I've got bigger fish to fry at this point. While we're enjoying our wine that now costs more than our pizza, customers start pouring in the door. The first couple is greeted by the bartender who asks "do you have reservations?" "No" they say. She tells them no problem and off they go to a quiet table for 2. I'm now watching the next couple approach. I'm trying not to eavesdrop but I have to know... do they have reservations? Of course not, it's just one of those nights that everything goes wrong for poor Bob Cat. Well we finished our wine, gave a nice tip since it was Valentine's and headed home for a great take and bake pizza. Dinner was served at 10:00 :)
In case you wonder what this has to do with cycling, my dear husband got me a pair of Shimano Dura Ace carbon clencher wheels with red tires for my Valentine's present! Next year I'm sure he'll make reservations, it will be much cheaper!
GOOD LUCK to our Pro Vanderkitten team who will be racing in the Tour of California criterium today. The Beach Vanderkittens look forward to seeing you on TV tonight.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Baker's Dozen

Our mighty team of 12 has now grown to 13. Welcome Meredith, our youngest member of the team. We know your dad is a good rider so we know you're from good stock!

It's quiet before the storm. Race registrations are now being announced. It's now time to step up to the plate and sign up.

Laura, our "Cheetah," has taken on the job as team captain. She's our CAT 2 racer, very experienced, most photographed and most likely to tear off the limbs of her competitors.

Some of us braved the winds today, gusting to the 30's, for a training ride. If you were able to stay on your bike you were getting good training for the upcoming Dismal Dash Time Trial. If you opted to stay home and sleep in, you missed a good workout.

This blog wouldn't be complete without a cute cat photo. Here's a shot of Blackie, aka stealth cat!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dorothy Would Be Proud!

As you can see, we've got some kittens who have been training hard these days. It's amazing what some hill climbing will do for the quads!

With legs like these, Dorothy could have made it home without clicking her heels :)

"Cheetah" and "Podium Cat" want to say goodbye to Kendall from the sunny state of Florida. We've enjoyed riding with him while he's been here and wish him a safe journey home! You'll be missed!

Every team needs a mascot so I've nominated Miss Tiffany to be ours! She's purrfect :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Extra Extra Read All About Us

Good news is traveling fast and we were fortunate to have John Streit of The Virginian Pilot write a very nice article about our new club team. We had some ladies contacting us after reading the article and thought we looked like a very "mature" team. Since Barb and I were the 2 interviewed, I guess it's easy to assume that the team make up is of 57 year old ladies but that's far from true. We're just the ones with more time on our hands! Here's the article!

Club aims to turn riders into racers
By John Streit
Team Vanderkitten got out of the gate quickly. Cyclists are accustomed to traveling fast, but even the team’s manager, Barb Viola, and marketing director BJ Samuel were caught by surprise.
The North End residents unveiled the all-female professional cycling team’s first club of amateur riders earlier this month and found riders reaching out to take part.
“So far, we haven’t had to recruit anybody,” said Viola, a 57-year-old distance runner turned cyclist. “Team Vanderkitten really speaks for itself. It has a great reputation.”
Team Vanderkitten’s goal is introduce women to “adventure racing” like cycling and triathlons, and Viola and Samuel are looking for athletes, both aspiring and experienced, to join their ranks.
Aside from the social network of female athletes that Viola and Samuel hope to create through the club, the $50 annual membership dues support Team Vanderkitten’s professional riders.
“The girls on the pro team serve as ambassadors for women’s cycling and are guest speakersfor corporations and nonprof it organizations,” Viola said. “They encourage women to be a part of the sport of cycling.”
Membership also has its perks. Club riders receive the team’s highly visible pink and brown “kit” – a racing shirt and cycling shorts – at cost, along with other Vanderkitten clothing.
Aside from being on the pro team, club membership is the only other way athletes can sport Vanderkitten kits at races.
Samuel said that the local Vanderkitten club will host clinics with the team’s pro riders, as well as other social events. Members will also be able to take advantage of discounts on gear from Vanderkitten’s corporate sponsors.
Samuel is a three-time state champion cyclist who medaled three times at national championships. Member Laura Cook is a three-time state champ as well, and Julie Hyslop won her heat at the Virginia Beach Cyclocross Winter Endurance Challenge.
“It will be an elite cycling team that will be very competitive,” said Samuel, 57. “We really have some talent.”
While developing riders into racers is the club’s ultimate goal, Viola and Samuel said they want to attract recreational cyclists as well. But with racing season fast approaching, the pair hopes to get as many Vanderkitten riders as possible involved in time trials and races.
“We’re trying to get all types of cycling involved and encourage women,” Viola said.
John Streit, 639-4805, vb.beaconsports@yahoo.com

Professional cycling’s Team Vanderkitten recently opened its first amateur club to local female riders under the direction of North End residents Barb Viola and BJ Samuel. Vanderkitten looks to expand its ranks to recreational and competitive rider alike. Pictured are, front, from left, the team’s charter members BJ Samuel, Julie Hyslop, Barb Viola, Laura Cook, and back, from left, Ali Ingram, Maggie Schratwieser, Barb Ryan and Donna McInturff. Not pictured are Lauren Frisk, Linda Galvani, Bonnie Layton and Kelly Sheeran.

Our team is very proud of Donna and Maggie who went to the Officials Clinic in Toano today. I haven't received word on whether they aced their exam but they get 4 stars from our team for making the trip.

Some of us cats went out to Creeds today with our time trial bikes. We worked hard fighting a 20 mile an hour headwind on the way out but reaped the benefits on the way back with a nice tailwind. We spent time at Starbucks afterwards enjoying a nice sunny day and realizing that race season is only a month away. Folks from all teams seem to be in great shape. All those hours on indoor trainers are obviously paying off.

For information on how to join our club, please contact BarbC147@aol.com