Cross-examination: la femmes
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Here we have a fresh year on the horizon and it's time to take a look at some of our left-coast heroes (norcal version2.07):
Sarah Kerlin ~ undoubtedly one of the strongest mental warriors out there, Kerlin has the experience from a top-20 at Worlds to know what it takes to get to the upper-crust and do the damage necessary. She is fearless and driven ... two factors that can intimidate, if you let them.
Coming back from injury is a fickle beast to harness, but she's already scored a couple of top-10's at the USGP openers. So, look for Sarah to be riding hard to assert herself as the local top dawg in the next few races as the season progresses towards the ultimate goals.
Rachel LalaLloyd ~ perhaps the single-most powerful rider this side of Boonen's left thigh, Rachel is the Ullrich of the NorCal peloton. Will she race? Will she train? Will she overtrain to get back too quickly? (and more importantly...) Will she show us a bit more skin at the next DFL race?
Another World's member and rider who has knocked on many a championship door ... Ms. Lloyd had looked to have thrown away her cross shoes in favor of ultra-running nonsense. But, after a couple of solid results with the ProMan outfit on the road this season ... she's baaaaack.
Stella Carey ~ a rider's rider. Solid technical skills, evident love of the bike, but just short of the big VO2 engine work that separates the podium riders on the national circuits. The kind of rider you wish you could train ... just for a couple months, to see if there wouldn't be that breakthrough. She's that close.
But this year, there's a difference in her speed and conviction. She has been taking the starts hard and with confidence and it might just be signal that others need to worry about Stella. We'll see.
Shelly Olds ~ the fresh face to NorCross and already turning heads with her big power in a little package. As all newbies to the scene, her weakness is technical skills ... but her fearless ambition and willingness to learn herald advances to come. We can only wait and see.
This year's road season was definitely a landmark with Shelly taking significant wins in Davis and the Giro di SF. That may be her most formidable asset ... the ability to win the big races. It's a dangerous thing when a rider allows themselves to win.
... and not many do.
Mel Metzger ~ the enigmatic doctoral candidate from parts unknown ... the darkest of horses in the cross scene. This is a rider with flashes of absolute brilliance, winning collegiantly at the national level and coming very close to breaking the podium in some of the grand US events last year.
Making the Giant Starberries team was a huge boost to women's standing in the crowded sponsorship realm of NorCal. The investment by the Watsonville company in women's cycling shows true interest in the sport and a wise choice of advertising dollars. Mel looks to be on the slow build towards the Elite National championships and I, for one, think she'll be on the top of her game.
Josie Beggs ~ fellow Berry and marathon mountain biker ... Josie is one of the thoroughbreds you want to see get mean and vicious. She is the kind of rider you're sure would erupt into a flurry of kicking arms and punching fists if you pushed her far enough into a corner.
Let's hope somebody pokes her with a stick something wicked ... because it'd be fun to see her open up a can of whoop ass on a race course one of these days.
Sarah Maile ~ getting the dark secrets from the one-speed god ... Sarah is another rider knocking at the door. She reminds me of one of those lithe gazelle's you see bounding through tall grasses and disappearing into far away trees.
She is ethereal and distant.
And she's fast. This year ... will she be prey, or huntress?
Ann Fitzimmons ~ core. Ann is the kind of rider you always want with you out on the trail. She's got skills, gutz, and doesn't need to smother your face in it.
But, I'm biased.
Look out for Ann, folks. She's coming back from a shoulder injury that the doc' s said would keep her off the bike for the year.
She's coming back strong.
Lauren Constantini ~ the mighty rocket with a big brain and loads of niceness. This is one of those working women you just want to see ride well ... not because she's going to hit the national circuit or make the World's team ... but, because she's just always looking to be enjoying herself out there.
This beer is lifted in congrats to all those racers like Lauren.
~ ~ ~
And what do these riders have in common? They are all strong, intelligent women doing something they love, free to do what they love.
They have the right to go against the mainstream, the cultural norms ... and are role models for all the rest of us to do the same. If we wish to.
... and there are more out there.
Now that's worth fighting for.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Cross-examination: la femmes