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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.
November 14, 2008
Psycho-Cross a Halloween tradition
It seems that most years there is a big, important, out-of-town race that I need to be at during Halloween weekend. This year I skipped the USGP and stayed home for some Nor Cal psycho-cross goodness. I've been super busy with work and racing and didn't have time to make a new costume so I figured that I could just use my skull tutu a second time. It was the perfect costume, short enough to ride in without getting caught in the rear wheel and sturdy enough to make it through a race. Plus, I've found very few occasions to wear the tutu and it took upwards of 15 hours spread over a month to create it.
The day before the race I taught at the Velo Bella 'cross clinic. I love teaching clinics, it is very satisfying to take a group of people who have no 'cross skills and make them proficient enough to race the next day.
I'll admit that I was much more excited for the costume race than the real race. Some people take the costume race seriously (the racing bit) while others don't. About 100 people lined up for the race (the exact number is uncertain because not everyone was wearing a number, myself included) in varying degrees of costume. My favorite costumed riders were the guy dressed as a hipster, the ladies dressed as triathletes complete with an entire box of Clif Bars taped to the bike and I can't forget Leeloo with her multi-pass and gold tights.
A hectic start led to mass confusion when the course narrowed. Caught up in the moment I ducked under the course tape to take advantage of an opening further along the course. My tutu caught on a bush and ripped some of the top layer of tulle. Let that be a lesson to me, cutting course=tearing of tulle. I couldn't properly remount the bike because the tutu would get all bound up underneath me so I had to gingerly step over the bike and then slide onto the seat.
Near the end of the first lap we entered the Death Swirly. I made sure to ride extra slow in the swirly as the judges had stationed themselves at the apex of the swirl. After one ride past the judges I decided it would be best if I repeated the swirly several times in a row. After getting too dizzy to keep swirling I took to the sidelines to look at the other costumes.
I'm not sure who won the costume contest because I had to change into my skin suit for the real race. The real race went so badly that I should have quit after the costume race.
Up next week, mud in Nor Cal!
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Tim Gasperak/gasperak.com