Changing Colors: Veloforma for Road Season
When we moved to Portland, Sal started looking for people to ride with. The Portland Wheelmen had rides leaving from our side of town, so he joined them for a few. They were welcoming and friendly and, every once in a while, a pack of fast guys would show up so Sal could go hammer.
Those guys became Portland Velo, the Cycling Club. Sal became Portland Velo with them.
That was the beginning.
After some time, the fast guys in the Portland Velo Cycling Club decided it might be nice to race, since they liked to go fast and beat each other to shreds now and then. So they formed a race team: The Portland Velo Race Team.
The team is affiliated with the club, but they are not the same entity. They don’t share budgets or leadership, though they do share members (all Portland Velo racers are also members of the club by default).
The Portland Velo Race Team was formed with the purist intention: to race bikes. That’s it. Not to become pros, not to pretend to be crap we’re not, not to be cool. Just to race bikes. At whatever level made sense. And to have fun doing it together.
We might never be cool enough to be involved in a project like Teams of Portland (kinda funny given our name, isn’t it?) but rest assured, we are bringing people to the sport and getting them on bikes and providing a welcoming environment – and that’s what it’s really all about.
It’s a great team – laid back and big. The mens squads in the 3/4/5 categories have impressive numbers and they enjoy good company in the local peloton. 2007 was the inaugural season, and I was on hand to watch and photograph their first road race together out at Cherry Pie. I spent the rest of their season shooting races, following them to the Cascade Classic, and generally acting as a groupie.
Then ‘cross season came.
I’d done three races the previous year (completely scared out of my wits, mind you) in my vintage wool Pinarello jersey and a pair of Ibex knickers. Portland Velo felt like a team to me, so I donned the black and blue and hit the mud, putting in a solid year in the beginner women’s field.
I have come to know PV as my cycling family and family reigns supreme.
Even still, everyone has to go out and
do some experimental drugs leave home eventually, right?
I’ve always been jealous of the numbers on the Portland Velo men’s team. They bring big squads to races and stick together. They’ve got a crew. A big crew.
And we just haven’t been able to create the same kind of numbers on the women’s side. There are a lot of reasons for this - but mostly there are just (way) fewer women out there who want to do road racing. Add to that the fact that my complete lack of any real road racing experience does not exactly make a compelling sell and, well, recruiting’s been an uphill battle.
I want to race a lot in 2009. I want to learn and grow and get faster. And I want mentors. And support.
So when Veloforma offered me a spot on their development team, I thought really hard about it. I mean – think about that: womens development team. A team that exists specficially for the development of female riders.
I’m going to be honest with you – it was kind an agonizing decision to make. Leaving Portland Velo had never even really come under consideration before. It just wasn’t an option. I wouldn’t even entertain it.
But the idea of a big team of ass-kicking women (including the likes of local hammers Brubaker, Pennington, Hartkop, Billington, etc) really made me think. What would it be like to have a posse? A group like the infamous CCP, my high school cross-country crew? Or my college softball team?
Who knows what reality will be, but when Gundersen told me she was joining Veloforma, the deal was sealed. I may never be able to ride with that stupid-fast butan, but goddamit, I’ll be sharing colors with her while I’m trying.
I’m moving into the black, red and white, onto a boutique carbon frame sent from above (the F1R!), and out towards a fast and painful 2009 road season.
Here’s to new adventures.