Wednesday, September 17, 2008
In stage 2, the Catskill Epic, Silke rounded out the podium in 3rd place, giving her 3rd in the final general classification. Congratulations, Silke!
Friday, August 29, 2008
The first section was brutal: 12.7 miles, 2240' climbing. The climbs were pretty loose and by the time we got to the top of the climb before the first control my back was killing me. I found some old aspirin or something like that in my seat bag. Yum. Just before the first control we saw and heard a man bagpiping in his front yard.
After the first control we headed up into Vermont. My husband, Ed, got these photos before and after the state line.
The second control was at the covered bridge on the Green River back in Massachusetts. Lots of great food at this stop. We corrected our roadie error of overinflating our tires and felt much better afterwards. (I also got a nice compliment on the team kit. Thank you, Brad Sheehan!)
After the bridge it was flat for 10 miles and I felt great. :) We got to the third control, Apex Orchards and enjoyed the tastiest peaches I've ever had.
The final section had a section that the cue sheet described as a "gnarly descent." It was in fact gnarly and I had to get off my bike a couple times because I was too tired to pick the right line. We got back onto roads that looked familiar and I was so excited to finish. Here I am covered with dirt. And I did not at any point fall off my bike.
The verdict: it was better than Cats! I would ride it again and again.
- 5 25-ounce water bottles consumed
- 2 packages margarita Clif Shot Blox
- 63.75 miles
- 7780 feet of climbing
- 5:20 ride time
- 6:14 elapsed time (6:40 time limit)
- 2 happy riders
Friday, August 15, 2008
Not on brooms or around a cauldron, but on bikes we were flying around the Salem town green on Wednesday, August 13. Brenda, Michele, Pauline and Silke all lined up for some mid-week racing fun. Team NEBC / Cycle Loft got the race started and kept the pace high throughout.
Fueled by prime laps with up to $100 on the line NEBC fired off numerous attacks, but Sunapee S&W along with individual riders from other teams wouldn’t let anyone escape from the pack. There was a lot of activity at the front of the race, but super energetic race announcer Rich Fries once more proved his intimate knowledge of the local race scene by quickly identifying the racers flying by the S/F and keeping the throngs of spectators informed.
By the pricking of my thumbs,
In the final lap Anna McLoon from Colavita New England surged and ratcheted up the speed around the last corners. However, Sunapee quickly moved up around the last corner and Sally Annis from NEBC also found a hole and jumped hard to take the win ahead of Kathryne Carr and Eve McNeil, both from Sunapee S&W. Silke sprinted in for 5th with the rest of the team in the pack.
Quotations from Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Monday, August 11, 2008
Brenda, Silke, and Michele lined up with 50 women to race 44 miles with 4800 feet of climbing around the scenic Barkhamsted Reservoir in Connecticut. The women raced with te 55+ men. Team IF led the field at the start, working to maintain a good position going into the first climb up bumpy Beach Rock Road at mile 8. The pack started to come apart a bit over the length of the climb but regrouped only to split decisively at the QOM (end of the first lap). Silke was on the front side of the split with multi-time national champion Anne Marie Miller and four very strong riders from the Radical Media. By the final climb the front group was down to five women and one 55+ guy.
Brenda was driving the second group up the final climb.
Silke finished second behind Anne-Marie while Brenda sprinted in for 13th.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Rather than racing today at the Central New Hampshire Road Race (Bow), I drove the pace car for a couple of races. (This race is put on by my local club, NEBC.) This gave me an excellent view of the women's field. The women did four laps of an 11-mile loop, often racing in the rain.
This is a hilly, selective course, and Mary Zider's (NEBC) attack up to the QOM on the second lap shed several riders and created the winning break. Mary was soon joined by Silke Wunderwald and the two worked together to establish a many-minute gap over the pack.
The pair worked together until the very end. In a very closely fought sprint, Silke was second by a tire-width. Pauline, still a bit sore from yesterday's crash, opted to stop early and work the feed zone. Brenda's climbing prowess was quite evident during the race, and she finished very strongly in the small pack of riders who survived -- nearly one-third of the starters did not finish at all!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
New Britain Criterium On the start line (L-R): Michele, Silke and Brenda
A 20 mph headwind and temperatures in the high 80's greated the IF women and 23 competitors on the start line at this 20-mile criterium in New Britain's Walnut Park. Silke, Michele, Pauline and Brenda gathered with a small but talented field in this to race 20 laps of a rolling 1-mile loop on the grounds of this popular municipal park in New Britain, CT. The course resembles more of an oval racetrack and the only turn that could be called a "corner" is onto the stretch of road that holds the start / finish and felt, on this particular day, like a wind tunnel simlulator!
Brenda, at her first race in over 6 weeks after a medical leave, was raring to go, and pretty much attacked at the gun. After setting a brisk pace for the first 1 1/2 laps, she pulled over to see who else might want to wrestle with the unrelenting wind. And it was the wind that seemed to wield the most control over the racers that day. It didn't take long for anyone trying to launch an attack, or even go to the front to quickly retreat and seek the shelter of the field!
This very pronounced force of nature dashed the team's plan to get Silke into a break and then block like linebackers! Best laid plans, however, need a plan B, and the team quickly adapted to the elements, with IF always present at the front of the field.
Even with the wall of wind, the average speed stayed consistently high and the main field managed to force a few riders off the back.
Silke rode with impressive patience and good positioning and launched herself cleanly into the final pass through the wind tunnel simulator, to rocket in for 3rd overall. Pauline was 13th, while Michele and Brenda rolled in for 22nd and 24th. Next time we're bringing our sails!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Claudia and I successfully completed the MS Ride on Saturday. I didn't find out until today just how successful the ride was though -- Claudia raised $32,548!! I couldn't be more proud of her and Knitters Against Multiple Sclerosis.
As the #1 fundraiser from last year, Claudia was the first rider to start.
This meant that the two of us got to "break" the ribbon at the start line (actually someone was ripping apart the plastic strip for us and I was afraid he wouldn't finish in time) while 1700+ riders applauded. Then we got to ride at the front with a police escort for a few miles. Very cool! We got passed by probably about 100 riders over the ensuing miles, many of whom congratulated Claudia. Of course there were a few obligatory comments about how the stoker gets to cruise while the captain does the work -- and having ridden in both positions, I can't stress enough how untrue this is. But everyone's a comedian! :)
We stopped a couple of times for snacks but mostly kept turning the pedals at a pretty steady pace that had us actually passing some riders on the final rolling hills past Myles Standish State Park. By the time we reached the Cape Cod Canal (back-of-the-tandem cam pic below), the clouds and fog that dogged us through most of the ride had cleared. What a beautiful day it was!
Claudia and I were both glad to reach the finish and get cleaned up. I was a filthy mess but Claudia is one of those riders who always looks elegant no matter how hard she's working (kind of like former team rider Heather Peck!).
All in all, this was a wonderful experience and I'm so glad I got to be a part of it. Thanks to all of you who sponsored me and thanks to Claudia, who was endlessly patient with my often-poor captaining technique, not to mention a great conversationalist on those long rides.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
In the second race, strong teams from NEBC and North Atlantic Velo kept the pace high. There were several attacks but ultimately the pack entered the final lap together. With no team large enough to control the front, the pack swarmed the final time up the short hill and spread across the road for the finish. Silke was boxed in and finished 8th, though again was the top CT finisher. Michele was 15th.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Riders: Silke Wunderwald and Zoe Owers
River Road has long been a challenging part of the Housatonic Hills road race course with a minefield of potholes and cracks that grew worse every year and that collectively make up a prime example of what could be defined as the New England equivalent of Belgian pavé. Apparently, the road surface has finally degraded to the point where the race promoter felt it was no longer safe and a new course was devised. By all accounts this new route was much more challenging with an additional 600 feet of climbing and the former steep finish climb now moved to the beginning of each lap. The Q/KOM was also moved to a longer gradual climb somewhere in the new sections of the course.
With the exception of a few dropped riders the field stayed intact through the first lap of the course. Zoe Owers rode strong at the front of the group and positioned herself well to help her teammate Silke Wunderwald control the pack during the first loop of the race.
The first split of the Women’s P123 field occurred on the former finish climb at the beginning of the second lap. The group of seven or eight riders that crested the hill together soon grew to nine or ten with additional riders rejoining the front after a longer downhill section. Roughly halfway through the second lap, another selection occurred that contained Silke Wunderwald, Beth Miller (North Atlantic Velo) and Audrey Friedrichsen Scott (Bikeway). The three escapees worked well together to increase their lead and the chase group failed to get organized to reel them back in. Coming through the last turn behind Audrey and Beth, Silke was in perfect position to wait for the right moment to start her sprint to the finish line to claim the spot on top of the podium as well as the title of Connecticut Road Race Champion!
Race report by Silke
Boy, was it hot! With the exception of the near record-breaking temperatures at the Tour of the Battenkill back in April, it has been a fairly cool spring in the Northeast and I assume that everyone was feeling a little uneasy with the heat radiating off the pavement at 9 o’clock in the morning already.
Before the start of the women’s race we watched some of the juniors finish. Jack Macclarence, the winner of the Juniors 10-14, sprinted across the line by himself way ahead of the next finisher, without a victory salute, but simply with the raw determination to give it everything he had until the very end. Awesome. Sometimes I wish I had gotten into competitive sports at a much younger age to enjoy a few years of racing fearless, unencumbered by thoughts of responsibility and reason.
So off we go! I led the pack through town, soft pedaling and giving my legs and body a chance to get into a rhythm. Before we hit the stepped climb at mile 16 there were a couple of attacks, short-lived, but enough to stretch the legs, get the heart rate up and to get a feel for how this day might unfold. The steep climb was going to force a selection without a doubt and with the sun beating down on us no one seemed too eager to expend precious energy early in the race. My teammates Pauline, Zoe and Michele all looked strong and showed their presence at the front of the pack. I felt confident that if I could initiate a break they would use their experience to effectively control the pack.
When we reached the second part of the steep two-tiered climb, I was in the lead and had a small gap on a group of four. I continued to push the pace over the top and into the downhill section that followed hoping to increase the gap on the field and encouraging the group of four to get organized and catch up to me which they did before long. I was happy to see Debony Diehl and Yvette LaBombard in the mix and we immediately started to work together to increase our lead. On our way out of town at the beginning of the second loop we got stuck in a bit of traffic and I was afraid our lead would fizzle like a drop of water on a hot stone. Things evaporating seemed to be the theme of the day anyway. Once we were able to continue I was trying to increase the pace a bit to make up for lost time, but it seemed like everyone was starting to feel the heat. On the first few rollers after leaving the town of Cambridge, I noticed that some of the girls were breathing pretty hard. I saw my chance to whittle down our group of five even further and increased the pace to see if anyone would respond. When I looked back there was no one with me and I had a good sized gap. So without much further thought, I focused my energy on extending my lead.
Once I settled into what seemed like a reasonable pace to get me to the finish without blowing up, I realized that I still had a pretty long way to go, including the climb and the last four miles to the finish into a headwind, and after about four or five miles on my own I was beginning to wonder if I had made my move too early? My face had turned a significantly darker shade of red than your proverbial carrot and it felt like I was dangling precariously on the edge of a complete melt-down. What was going to happen first: spontaneous combustion or my muscles turning into one big twitching heap of rotting flesh? I could almost hear the flies buzzing…. But thanks to the neutral water that was graciously provided by the race promoter to all racers in response to the extreme conditions, I was able to cool off a bit and when I crested the steep climb for the second and last time and still didn’t see anyone behind me, I was beginning to feel vaguely confident that I might actually be able to make it. I forced myself into a steady tempo and pressed on until I finally saw the finish line banner. I did it! I won the 5th Annual Balloon Festival!!
Overall, Team Independent Fabrication/Kempner did extremely well on this hot and challenging day with Zoe taking 7th and Pauline very close behind in 12th place.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Engines pumping and thumping in time.
The green light flashes, the flag goes up,
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.
They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank,
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank,
Reckless and wild they pour thru the turns,
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern.
That’s how much Scott Dixon raked in for winning the Indy 500.
The Stafford Springs Speedway Criterium – May 24, 2008
The horse power might have been slightly less, the speed a little slower and the bleachers significantly less crowded, but the action at the Stafford Springs Speedway crit was just as exciting as the mega show that is the Indy 500. Silke successfully sprinted for two primes and a third attack shortly thereafter split the field. Tempers were flaring and a somewhat dysfunctional lead group saw the riders yelling (in a friendly, competitive spirit) at each other to get organized. Eventually though everyone buried their differences and channeled their energy into their legs and pedals. The chase group was unable to catch back on and after a few more rotations and yet another short attack with four laps to go, Silke won the field sprint to take the win. The Stafford Springs Speedway was a fun venue for a crit and for those who tend to dislike the never ending 90-degree turns of most other courses this was certainly a nice change and offered something a little bit different from the norm. You get another chance to race on a speedway if you are so inclined at the Thompson Speedway crit on 06-30 (check bikereg).
Monday, May 26, 2008
Just under 20 starters, including Independent Fabrication/Kempner riders Zoe Owers and Silke Wunderwald, lined up for the women’s P123 race, a full minute ahead of the women’s Cat. 4 field. The initial pace was set by NEBC and Silke spent some time at the front as well, but apparently the Cat. 4’s were committed to actually have a race and within only a few miles from the start the P123 field was neutralized to let them pass. Determined not to engage in a tug of war between the two fields, Silke went to the front and picked up the pace just at the right time to take advantage of a widening in the road that allowed the field to re-pass the 4’s. Leading into one of the many rollers of the course, she accelerated to put some distance between the two fields, and then again on the following two rollers, but didn’t manage to break up the group.
A little more than halfway through the first loop on one of the more substantial climbs of the course, Silke attacked and this time finally managed to open a gap on the field with Mary Zider from NEBC quickly bridging up. The pair continued to ride a hard tempo to widen the gap, but eventually settled into a more sustainable pace for the last half of the second loop. Zoe, mindful not to cut into the lead of her teammate at the front of the race, continued on in a chase group and used her years of experience of riding at the pro level to carefully balance the pace to also maintain the distance ahead of a second chase group.
Leading into the last climb to the finish line, Silke’s attempt to overtake Mary in the final yards of the race was foiled when a group of pro men that finished just at the same time and the resulting traffic didn’t leave her enough room to come around Mary quickly enough. Zoe finished strong in her group, sprinting her way to a 5th place overall to close the day with two solid top 5 finishes for the team!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
This was Silke's first race on her brand-new XS. She said, "The Palmer road race was only my third ride overall and the very first race on my brand spanking new Independent Fabrication XS bike. The XS features a full custom geometry of custom Reynolds carbon fiber composite tubes with titanium chainstays and beautiful laser cut crown lugs. The bike felt incredibly comfortable right from the very first time I rode it, yet it is very responsive and has a wonderful solid feel on the road. It handles perfectly and I felt extremely confident to ride this bike in its maiden race only two days after delivery. During the race I was almost caught off-guard by its quick acceleration and immediate power transfer to the road, and I had a lot of fun putting it to the test. But regardless of where I pointed the bike or how far I leaned into a turn, it didn’t flinch and stayed on track."
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
We were tearing up the quaint backcountry roads in Salem, NY, riding through plumes of dust and listening to the sound of stones getting shot out from underneath our tires.
Brenda Bahnson, Zoe Owers and Silke Wunderwald made the trek to participate in what has become a true cycling classic in just over four years: the Tour of the Battenkill Valley (formerly known as Battenkill-Roubaix). Most fields, including the Cat. 4 Women, were sold out well in advance, yet there were only 29 starters in the Women’s P123 field. However, some of New England’s strongest riders stood on the line and what the field lacked in quantity it clearly made up in quality. Also of superior quality was the splendid weather. Temperatures in the 80s under blue skies made for perfect racing conditions and had everyone searching for sunscreen instead of armwarmers and booties. The 55-mile course loops through a quiet corner of the state, includes some 4400 feet of climbing, and, best of all, features five prolonged sections of dirt roads that make up some 25% of the course and which this year were characterized by lots of loose sand and rocks compared to the craterlike potholes from last year.
The women’s field stayed together until the gravelly climbs of Meetinghouse Road roughly halfway through the race where Anna Milkowski of Team Advil-ChapStick forced a selection that included Anna McLoon (Harvard U) and Kathleen Billington (Conn Coast). The attack not only launched this breakaway group of three, but fragmented the entire field behind. The first chase group of five riders contained Silke, but due to race strategies that weren’t readily apparent the group failed to work together effectively and never caught any of the three lead riders in spite of McLoon flatting and Billington being unable to match the pace set by Milkowski. The group did manage to stay ahead of any other chasing riders though and in the end Silke claimed sixth place overall. Zoe found herself in a group of four that would eventually finish just a few minutes behind the race leaders in 15th place and was quite content with a successful hard day of training. Brenda, in her first race of the season, was psyched to make the selection and stay with the front group for the first 30 miles of the race. A small mechanical hiccup - via a front derailleur cable misfire, however, caused her to lose contact and momentum along a particularly windy stretch of road when the peloton was strung out single-file and at full gas. As is her forte, however, she rode the rest of the race as a solo TT, caught and passed a few stragglers and out sprinted her last catch of the day for 20th.
The one word that best describes this event: epic!!! If you missed it, do the 5th anniversary edition in 2009, but keep in mind that this is April in New England and you might find yourself slipping and sliding on ice instead of sand next year! The team would like to thank Farm Team Cycling, race director Dieter Drake, the volunteers and everyone else involved in making this a truly memorable event!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
We're selling a few team items on eBay. Here are the links if you're interested: