Sunday, June 29, 2008


When you start out with the statement "changing the face of women's cycling" many are quick to judge your every move. Being a Vanderkitten is not easy, and from the beginning of the season we offered that it would be a hard road on this team because we were very serious about putting together the foundation for the next super-team. We've had some riders come and go, and we've picked up hot new talent, but all the while we have stayed true to our mission, true to ourselves and our sponsors.

I was writing an email to a very strong candidate for next year's team and the thing I told her, above all else, that was needed for success in this program is SACRIFICE. There is no way for a team to be a champion or a brand to sell millions of units without everyone willing to sacrifice, even a little, for the good of the overall goal. Those who can't make the sacrifice quickly find themselves struggling to catch-up. In a first year team, where nothing is perfect, sacrifice is a wonderful companion to patience.

On that note, here is a race report from Jennifer Wilson who perfected the art of sacrifice. Jennifer has given blood and flesh for this team enduring horrific crashes and amazing triumphs. Remember, it is rare that a first-year team, with no director, can achieve anything more than an "also-ran".... but today Melissa, Liz and Jen got it done, out numbered, out financed but not out classed!! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICES!!

Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2008

Jennifer Wilson - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Thank goodness for the ocean. The weather today was hot for the beach but much cooler than the valley where I live. The Vanderkitten contingency today was Liz, Melissa and myself. We felt very confident going into the race and knew that most likely it would come down to entering the last 180 degree turn first. For being an NRC race so far from the others at this time of year there was a good turnout of about 74 riders with Tibco and Cheerwine having 4 riders each and ValueAct bringing 5 riders. The New Zealand team Jazz Apple was in attendance with quite a few riders as well with the rest of the pack being represented with local riders.

Liz Hatch - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

It was a typical Manhattan Beach with riders attacking off the front and eventually being caught. VK rode a very smart race and was attentive to moves off the front and made smart choices depending on who was in the break. Each of us at one point found ourselves in some move or another which was excellent. Liz and I did a great job near the end of the race patrolling the front. There was one move we missed and everyone was represented and Liz did a stellar move bringing it back. There were other attacks from Cheerwine and Jazz Apple and I went with Amber Rais to bridge to them. We were down to just 6 laps to go and we did not want anything to get away without a VK in it.

Liz Hatch - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Melissa and I had planned to attack and go all out on the hill on the backside. Rough to do today considering the heavy headwind but you have to take chances. I was on Melissa’s wheel on the last lap and she was doing an excellent job keeping us to the front. A surge came up on the right and I went with it. Eventually this would be a bad move. As I put my head in the wind to stay near the front waiting to launch my attack a surge of riders came up the right side and blocked us in. Then like lightening, Melissa was attacking on the right and flying. She was first into the turn and ended up 4th overall. Great job! There was great VK team work during the entire race. As always Manhattan Beach is like gambling with trying to enter into the last turn first and it was great to have such wonderful teammates so that if something happened to one there was another who could accomplish the goal. Great job ladies!

1st – Brooke Miller (Tibco)

2nd – Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine)

3rd – Jen McRae (Advil/Chapstick)

4th – Melissa Sanborn (Vanderkitten Racing)

Photo by Ken Conley

Thursday, June 19, 2008


The REVOLUTIONARY dance performance from the streets has been extended ONE MORE WEEKEND!

GROOVALOO- A story of coming to be, expressing oneself... POWERFUL, energetic, groundbreaking!

Samueli Theater, Running through June 22nd!

Check out Vanderkitten ViP "Lady Jules", Julie Urich!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Break Dancing is BLOWING UP!

Break Dancing has never stopped growing even though it faded from the public eye in the late 80's, it made the transition to Europe and the inner-city asian cultures and continued to thrive.

In the late 90's it returned in full force, and in the new millenium we've seen dozens of movies highlighting men and women of all ethnicities, cultures from all over the world with powerful music and fantastic coreography.

We had the opportunity to get to know, and are continuing to get to know, Lady Jules, who purchased a VK cycling jersey from one of our retailers and invited us into the world of Hip Hop!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Track Racing is So Hot Right Now!

Maybe it's because it's an Olympic year, or the simplicity of the fixed-gear track bicycles, or maybe because the race offer NASCAR-like action, but Track Racing is the new CycloCross. I just said it, and for those of you who have NO idea what I am talking about, it's only a few Google searches away!

One thing that may Vanderfans don't know about is Vanderkitten's presence in regional track racing. Many of our riders race, and win, at their regional track events, and Tela Crane is former 2-event Jr. National Champion. The thing I'd like to say about track racing is there are a ton of events from Sprints, to Kierins, to Miss 'N Out's, etc. It sounds like a roller rink from 1982, but it's damn fun.

This is a Video from the end of May with Michael Hernandez promoting the Friday night races at Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose, Ca. I can't imagine any other racing event having announcing that is this animated! Check out Vanderkitten Mary Maroon and Unattached race Beth Newell in racing action down in San Jose!

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Thursday, June 12, 2008


Coverage of Philly Week and Photos coming SOON! To get your FIXXX, check out for some awesome photography and GREAT coverage from Hernando and Sabine!!
Last minute adjustments before the gun! -S. Dukes
The last week in May the team took off for the heart of the Mid West to Tulsa Oklahoma for 3 days of Racing and 3 days of brand promoting!

Valletti, Sanborn, Oliveira, Trew, Hatch and Wilson rolled into town to contest a great series of crits, with excellent prize money in a very cool city the is going through a major rebirth! Melissa Sanborn was the only VKitten who had been to Tulsa and it was on her recommendation that we took the trip across the country... which turned out to be awesome!

We recruited Nor Cal legend in cycling, promoting and fabulousness Michael Hernandez to bring the team together and work towards our end goal- Philadelphia's Commerce Bank Liberty Cycling Classic- The largest and best race in the USA.

The girls gelled with Michael awesome coaching and guidance and worked on race tactics and other top-secret warrior drills. The goal was to represent, race together and win some money. Cheerwine had a few excellent riders, stand-out Jen McRae was in the house, and our beloved VK's from Metro VW Cycling Jen Wilhite and Shannon Koch were there with a couple of teammates, plus wonder-woman Shelly Olds of ProMan, another NorCal team with some amazing talent.

The races were great, and I encourage you to check out the rider's blogs for more. It was hot, jungle hot, with rain, sun, thunder, sun, rain, sun... steamy!! Our awesome host Brent Baker gave us the full run of his house and garage, stocked with bike tools and stand! It was ultra generous and we gave him his and her matching Team Kits!

The thing I like about hitting the road is the chance to meet VK supports, customers and friends. We had Sushi with Tulsa local and VK friend Misty... yes, Sushi in Tulsa! It was good, but I think the octopus salad didn't quite sit well with me, although delicious the night before. =)

Here are some shots from that were awesome!
Leigh Valletti off the front giving a handling clinic.

Check out more photos on!

Vanderkitten Team Jersey Pre-Order

In case you missed the subtle addition to the Vanderkitten webstore, we are now accepting pre-orders for our 2008 Team jersey. The jersey will be very similar to the current team jersey, but feature a hidden zipper, removal of sponsor logos and tag lines, and have a 3/4 length zipper.

These jerseys will retail for $89.99, but the pre-order special saves you 25% for a total of $69.99 plus tax and shipping! The estimated delivery of the jerseys is early July, just when you've gotten sick and tired of all of the new kits you bought in May.

Everyone who pre-orders a jersey will have access to another, super-hot, jersey design at and even more reduced price that will arrive at the same time. We are keeping that under wraps until it's here, and it will also retail for $89.99.

Check it out here: