Monday, March 30, 2009

Catting Around at Jeff Cup

While I was off in Charleston, SC visiting my youngest son, things were heating up in Charlottesville, VA at the prestigious Jeff Cup race. When you have a race in March, anything can happen with the weather, so one never knows what to expect on race day. Race reports from our Vanderkittens have been trickling in and this set of newbies let their presence be known that the Vanderkittens have arrived on the East Coast.

Fog and wet roads are a common day occurrence in Charlottesville and when you throw in some good winds, you've got yourself some interesting race conditions. The only thing that was far from cool was the shattered glass found on the road which really messed with many minds and many tires at the start. If you were lucky enough not to flat, you had yourself a great advantage.

The kittens from the beach were fairly new to road racing and Jeff Cup, so those of us who had done the race in the past were all eyes and ears waiting for their race reports to pour in. Not only can these gals ride their bikes fast, they are also not at a loss for words to tell their story of what they saw as the race unfolded.

Ali had a flat at the start and was lucky enough to get herself a wheel even though she was riding Campy and they gave her Shimano. Barb didn't flat but unfortunately got herself behind an accident which kept her from getting back on the pack before the hill climb. Once she got going again, she had a mechanical which got her off the bike again. Luckily a quick adjustment got her going again, but the pack was fading away quickly. Julie spent lots of time up front playing it safe. Linda was very at home on this course after pre-riding it so she was tucked in tight for the ride of her life.

The outcome of the race was picture perfect for Ali. The picture shows how she rode away from her competition winning the CAT 4 race and the well deserved chocolate bunny by bike lengths. Julie had a good finish coming in strong. Linda was all smiles that she finished and Barb wants to come back and finish in the pack where she should have been all along.

We are proud of our girls for branching out and getting more experience at each and every race. The kits looked great and we're proud of the girls wearing them! Way to go..... Next stop - Conquer the Canal Time Trial.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend Happenings

It's been a very busy week for the well rounded beach Vanderkittens.

Last weekend Donna led 60 students from her school in their first 8k at the Shamrock here at the beach. Sunny skies and cool temps were a perfect combination for happy faces. We're so proud that she gave all the time and energy it took to train them for this race. She's the apple of our eye!

Sunday was another great day for those running the half marathon here at the beach. The Vanderkittens watched on the sidelines as a mulititude of runners passed our staging area at 60th Street. Claudia looked composed, all dressed in green, coming down the home stretch for a PR. Peyton, aka Copy Cat, came in to the finish a full 4 minutes faster than her goal time! Way to go girls - you're awesome.

Laura, Ali and Julie made it over to the Sleepy Hole crit on Sunday. Laura got into a 3 woman break at lap 4 and, with the help of our teammates, was able to stay away for the remainder of the race. Laura was in good company with DeeDee from Charlottesville, who is a classy pro rider. The 2 of them kept the pace going for the whole race. Great job to Ali and Julie for policing the field.

We now have a new kitten from Florida on our team. We welcome Joie who has been spending lots of time raising a family but not able to spend as much time on her bike as she wants to.We're glad you found us and know you'll be a purrfect fit on our team. Peace Cat suits you!

The wonderful weekend ended with me celebrating my 58th birthday a week early at the home of our club manager Barb. It was so much fun being surrounded with friends who showered me with great cards, great gifts and great wine. I happen to like getting older because going to NATZ as a 60 year old means the field will be smaller. Since I have a problem with riders getting in my space, I hope I have an opportunity to go back and give those other grandmother's a race for their money. All in all it was a great week. I'm proud and honored to be a part of this great team with great women on my side.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

DISMAL Dash Time Trial

The weather forecasts were certainly accurate today for the DD TT in Suffolk, Virginia. Many folks were watching the weather hourly and it wasn’t even a question if it was going to rain but how much at any given hour.

The parking lot didn’t look that full when we arrived but soon realized everyone was either under team tents or wisely using the overhang at the White Marsh Shopping Center for shelter. The temps were in the 40s so no ice on the road. In the past I have been greeted by local dogs trying to outrun me at my time trial pace but that didn’t happen either. It was just a good day to ride once you got your head into it and realized you would be spending more time cleaning your bike after the race than riding it.

The beach Vanderkittens were happy to have our team banner to show off our area. We also even received our team shirts which we sported with pride. All of our team members who signed up, showed up and we had incredible race site support from Barb, Maggie, Claudia and Winnie and her husband who brought their camper now fondly known as the “Vanderkitten Lounge.” This incredible group of individuals had also brought homemade cookies and treats as well as having hot water for tea and cider. Now you know it doesn’t get any better than that!

Race results were outstanding across the board in all categories. Laura, our Cheetah, not only won the Cat 123 division with a winning time of 1:02:06, but also shattered the course record by 2 minutes as well.

Ali, competing in her 2nd race, again brought home the gold for Category 4. Julie, our Cali Cat, took silver in the same category. I (BJ aka Podium Cat) won the master’s category bettering my time from last year by almost a minute. There were outstanding efforts by Kelly, Vanda and Ronna who were also in the master’s category. Everyone is so proud of each other for coming out to face the “Race of Truth” in such incredibly awful conditions.

The beach Vanderkittens want to thank the race sponsors for being out in the elements to make this race possible. We also want to thank the folks at Bike Beat for loaning us their tent so we, and our bikes, could stay dry for the warm up. We also thank Rob, Tim and Bob for getting us race ready in such a confined space.

Pictures of the beach Vanderkittens at the Dismal Dash Time Trial can be viewed at

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ali Cat aka Crit Cat!

Congratulations to Ali Cat for her first place finish at the Cullop's Imports Spring Criterium yesterday. I'm not sure that she's even aware of the magnitude of her accomplishment since it was her first crit ever, but your teammates stand in awe and are certainly glad that you chose Vanderkitten Racing as your team! I also want to recognize outstanding efforts by Laura and Julie for policing the field during the race. With temperatures in the 80s you couldn't have asked for better weather for a March criterium. Let's hope the weather holds for the Dismal Dash Time Trial next week.

It seems that our cats were having such a good time together in Richmond they decided to ride up the road to check out the Jefferson Cup course. I can't think of a better way to spend the day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cats on the Prowl!

The cats at the beach went on a shopping spree tonight at Conte's private sale for local cycling clubs. They had great vendors there with great deals and our cats loaded up on essentials to get them through the season. After the shopping frenzy was over, a group of us went to 501 City Grill, where we enjoyed each other's company as well as some great food and wine. Thanks to Linda for arranging the post sale outing! Here's a link to the photos. Sweet dreams my feline friends!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

New Cats on The Block!

The beach kittens are keeping an eye out on our Frisky Cat, Lauren, who is in transit from Tucson to Florida. We are hoping that the elements we are facing here, including rain, ice and possible snow, aren't impacting her ability to get from point A to B in a hurry. What we do know is that when she finally arrives home to Virginia Beach, she'll be greeted by even more Vanderkittens because our pride is growing daily!

We now have on board Claudia who is still seeking the perfect feline nickname. I've only met Claudia twice but is she ever a multi-talented person as well as multi-talented athlete. Her background has her as a tomboy with 3 older brothers. She was a swimmer in high school and is now a runner, cyclist and golfer. She's married with 2 young children who ground her, spends her time as a reading specialist, and when not doing all the above, has a crafty side. You can see fire in her eyes and I wouldn't want to go head to head with her at the finish line. I think Claudia is going to do just fine at races in the future. I think you'll see her ahead of the group both at running races as well as cycling events. Our team feels fortunate that you found us. Welcome!

Vanda is also another new cat to our team. She was able to come up with a name for herself - Zipp Cat, with the help of her friends. Our "Zipp Cat" has 10 triathlons under her belt since 2007, starting with Breezy Point. Her goals this year are to compete in another 7 triathlons. I hear she's a fish in the water, so obviously that sport comes easlily, but she tells us that biking is her first love. We look forward to seeing Vanda and her bike at the Dismal Dash Time Trial, where she plans to eat her competition!

As I write this blog post, Winnie has now come on board. I don't have her resume yet but do know that she's been riding with her husband and has been scoping out a local time trial course to get a taste of how it feels to dig in deep! We are glad to also welcome you on board and are glad that you found our team to be a purrfect fit for you.