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Barbarella: The Barbara Howe diary
Just as Barbarella bumps through the universe, comically oblivious to the dangers and threats being thrust at her, Barbara Howe has had a few misadventures of her own. But with a stable team and strong results in recent years, the 29 year-old Velo Bella rider looks set to navigate her way to the top of the US 'cross tree, where she hopes to be crowned 'Queen of the 'cross Galaxy'.
Follow the fortunes of this free-spirited individual here on Cyclingnews.
December 30, 2005
Holiday season thanks
It's been raining in Northern California for what seems like an eternity. Christmas day was no exception with torrential rains causing flash flood warnings in various counties. My training plan called for three and a half hours on the fixed gear - sweet! I love the feeling when rain hits your legs, pools on your kneecaps, slides down your shins and puddles in your shoes. I love taking my glasses off at the end of a ride and realizing that I couldn't actually see for the last few hours. I love making it through a soggy ride without a flat, especially on the fixed gear. Most of all I love coming home and taking a hot shower.
During my Christmas ride I saw and was joined by only one other hardy soul who rode to escape the maddening noise of his children's new video games. Josh's Mom cooked for the evening and I was in charge of dessert. After decorating with ornaments from my childhood we ate dinner with Josh's family. His parents live on a little sailboat in Sausalito. A few plates of food and a few glasses of wine later I was down for the count on the couch. This is especially impressive because the any more than seven people on the boat feels like sardines. With Josh's parents, his brother, Josh and myself, the boat was a cosy unit.
With a few weeks off of racing before heading to Europe I have time to thank everyone who has helped Velo Bella and me this season. You might be surprised to find that the Velo Bella Cross team does not have any financial sponsors and each of us travels completely on our own dime. I've come to depend on the kindness of strangers for housing, pit help and the occasional meal. Without this help the season would not have been the same. Now I'd like to thank everyone who has made my season possible.
Mike on Long Island; Dave and Ian in Portland; Marbie and Liz in Philly (Liz, thanks for letting me watch five hours straight of I Love the 80's, but please don't ever let me do that again no matter how much I beg); the Kapstens in Gloucester (whose broccoli and asparagus soup warmed us up after racing in the snow); Mark and Kathy in Carlisle; Alec and Christina in Highland Park; Jill in Providence; Howard and Margie in Providence; and everyone else that has opened their house to cyclists.
Race volunteers for getting up early in bad weather and constructing courses to race on; promoters for having the vision and energy to put on a race; volunteer pit crews for hanging out and waiting to swap bikes; promoters who find the UCI women's prize list meager and take it upon themselves to make it big.
My parents for supporting all of my endeavors and toughing it out in Providence with smiles; Josh's parents for taking good care of both of us; Josh's Dad for driving us to the airport at uncivilized hours of the morning; Sabine for being Queen of the Bellas without whom the whole crazy pink adventure would never have happened; Alex for taking on the task of being our manager - sleeping less and wearing more feather boas than all of us; Tony (my boss) for letting me come to work late and miss lots of days to race; Mel because she knows what is going on in my head; all of my Bella CX teammates for making the season memorable; all of the other Bellas for their support; Bella management and Fellas for creating this team and making it work; and Josh for being a great mechanic, an understanding boyfriend, a friend, a great racer and someone I couldn't live without.
Zipp for their sturdy fast wheels; Fizik for my pretty pink saddles; Rudy Project for protecting my eyes; Limar for protecting my head; Specialized for the gloves that keep my hands warm; Rocklobster for the most kick ass cross frames ever made; Easton for my bars, stems and seatposts;, SRP for lightweight canti brakes;, Sheila Moon for warm woolie undershirts to prevent hypothermia; Shebeest so I look good off the bike; Capo for wool socks to keep the toes warm; Chris King for the pretty pink headsets; and Crank Brothers for the best pedals on earth.
Thanks and happy new year!