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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

 


Queen of the galaxy
Photo ©: Sheila Moon
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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. After an illness-filled season in 2006, and a grievous injury in late 2007 she is working to get her fitness back by 2009. Although 'cross is still the favorite discipline of the California resident, she has been known to ride her mountain bike in the mountains for hours on end. She currently resides in Berkeley, California with her cat and eight bikes.

Follow the fortunes of this free-spirited individual here on Cyclingnews.

October 6, 2008

Vegas and beyond

The start of the women's field in Vegas
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Once again I survived Las Vegas, Cross Vegas and one heck of a tiring Interbike tradeshow. Part of my job is to work the tradeshow, and although it sounds like fun, it's really lots of hard work. I've been home for four days, and I'm just starting to feel normal again. That's without going out and networking after hours. The trade show went great for my employer, Sheila Moon. We met lots of new people and saw most of our favourite, current dealers.

Monday evening after setting up our booth I headed west on a spin to work the kinks out of my legs. It was hot when I left, but as the sun dropped lower in the sky, the air cooled down and my ride was quite pleasant. After about an hour of riding I finally reached the place where the suburbs and traffic thin out. Next year it will probably take an hour and fifteen minutes to reach the area of thinning out – Vegas is contending for the win on the urban sprawl race.

Wednesday night was the second annual Cross Vegas race, otherwise known as the highlight of the week. My teammate Jen Tilley and I rode out to the venue in the blazing sun. Our manager, Alex, had a giant bag full of brand new skin suits for us. Getting new team clothing is always exciting. I had a chance to take a lap on the course after the Industry race and although it was a bit different than last year's course, it was on the same life-sucking spongy grass in the desert turf.

A second row call-up based on last year's UCI points (hurray for last year's points) allowed me to start right behind Katie Compton. For once I had a really good start — after a few turns I was shocked still to be in the lead group. Halfway through the first lap reality hit in the form of massive pain. My lungs and legs hadn't been pushed this hard since that fateful day after Christmas in Hofstade.

It was apparent to my body that I hadn't gone this hard in nine months. For the rest of the race I drifted back and finished fourteenth. To pad my prize winnings of forty-one dollars, I took advantage of the guys holding out money on the climb. On the second lap, the woman in front of me snagged the money, but after that it was game on. I grabbed a total of seven dollars, all of which got stashed in my sports bra. I kept hoping for someone to hold out a five or ten-dollar bill — for a twenty I probably would have stopped. The race was tremendously painful; it was what I needed to get really motivated for my upcoming travels.

Next week I'm heading to Cincinnati for three UCI races. Not only are all of the races in a row (so Euro!), but the last race sponsored by Biowheels is offering the top five women prize money equal to that of the men. This is shocking in that there are only two races that I know of in the U.S. (and most likely in the world) that pony up equal money for men and women.

Whitmore Landscaping's Super Cup in Southhampton and Biowheels are the two races. The disparity goes something like this: in a UCI C1 race the men's winner earns $1177, women's winner $250; second place man $587, second place woman $176, and so on. This disparity is pretty lame. It's not like my plane ticket is any cheaper than a guy's plane ticket—my entry fee is the same.

Granted, not as many women show up, but we train just as hard, and our bikes require the same maintenance. What gives? So to show my support to the people who find us equal to men, I'll be heading to their races.

Stay tuned for more exciting race adventures!

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net