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A home game

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Barbarella in action

Barbarella in action (Image credit: Greg Snead)
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Barbara Howe in action during the Surf City Cross in Santa Cruz, California.

Barbara Howe in action during the Surf City Cross in Santa Cruz, California. (Image credit: Greg Snead)
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Barbara Howe steadies herself around a tricky corner

Barbara Howe steadies herself around a tricky corner (Image credit: Greg Snead)
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Barb's boyfried Josh in action during the Surf City Cross in Santa Cruz, California.

Barb's boyfried Josh in action during the Surf City Cross in Santa Cruz, California. (Image credit: Greg Snead)

October 16, 2005

This week there was no travelling; my own team hosted a race in Santa Cruz. This particular race was the first Surf City Revival Race, a popular race series not held for the last year. As a tribute to Norcal 'cross races past there was also a 30 minute Jungle Cross race. Jungle Cross used portions of the normal course as well as long bushwhacks through poison oak infested underbrush. With homemade pies for prizes, Jungle Cross was a hotly contested race.

Several participants were also getting an early start on Halloween. Not only was there a woodland fairy complete with golden wings but also a dedicated racer in a full gorilla suit. The gorilla suit is all the more impressive due to the fact that the weather was in the mid 80's. Needless to say the gorilla took lots of feeds. The course itself had excessive forced dismounts (5 runups one log), lots of dust, the chicane of despair, some bumpy turf, and more dust. We had over 40 women racing, not bad for a local race. Several of the women were first timers and had attended a 'cross clinic the day before.

Women's A's, B's, C's and Masters all raced at the same time. My teammate Melodie [Metzger] got the hole shot followed by Sarah Kerlin, Ann Fitzsimmons, then myself breathing dust. Second lap I pulled in front for the run then pulled Melodie along the only long paved section. We had a small gap at this point and I think Mel fumbled a corner which meant I was all alone. On the last lap I got tangled in the course tape on a very sharp deep dust turn - it almost pulled my helmet off and a kind spectator helped me untangle. The runups got longer and sandier each lap and towards the end were more like walkups.

Mel held on for second, while Josie Beggs powered in for third place. Josh raced a steady race and finished fourth, as an early race fumble left him out of the top few spots. The rest of this week will be focused on recovery and preparation for travel to the east coast. We'll be hitting six UCI races over the next three weekends as well as putting in some quality family time in Pittsburgh between races.

- Barbarella

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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 a year of sickness and a grievous injury she is finally recovered and aiming for the podium.

Barb has recently signed with Vanderkitten Clothing and looks forward to a season representing "clothing for women who kick ass!" She currently resides in Berkeley, CA with her boyfriend, a room full of bikes and her cat. Follow her adventures here on Cyclingnews.com.