For this entry of Spidermonkey of the Week we present Dave Cushman. Mr. Cushman has been a member of Spidermonkey Cycling since 2009. He sat down for an interview with Bob Costas earlier this week.
Bob Costas: When someone mentions Spidermonkeys, many things come to mind: Excellence, Determination, Inclusiveness, Charity, Dwelling in subtropical humid forests between 100 and 1,700 meters. It’s my pleasure to announce you are the first Spidermonkey of the Week for 2013! Congratulations!
Dave Cushman: Thank you.
Costas: Of all the awards and accolades I’ve received in the sports world, this is the one that has eluded me. It’s an honor to sit down with you today.
Cushman: I’m happy to be here.
Costas: In fact, as the only one to race as a Spidermonkey in road, cyclocross, criterium, track, and mountain biking events, you’re quite impressive. You’re what the pros call a “quintuple-threat.” And what’s more is you’ve had the wisdom and foresight not to do triathlons. Amazing!
Cushman: Is there a question there, Bob?
Costas: … I guess not. [awkard silence] Well let me start here: I once read you “grew up in the backwoods of rural Oregon, calling the mountains and rivers your home, part Grizzly Adams and part Huck Finn.” How did you ever get in to cycling?
Cushman: Besides the usual riding around the block as a kid, my first bit of cycling was when I was a freshman in college. I didn’t compete, but I started doing longer distance rides. I had a black 1970’s Peugot (found by my dad’s uncle, as someone had stolen it then thrown it over the fence into his yard) that I upgraded with super-sweet, self-installed, Nashbar knock-off, fluorescent yellow, LeMond-style aero bars. At first I was the sag wagon for a friend training for his first marathon. Then I started putting in real miles (yes, as much as 40 at a time!) in preparation for the Seattle To Portland Bicycle Classic. This is essentially a 200-mile gran fondo, but before the days of it being cool to call your ride a Gran Fondo.
Costas: Is it safe to assume you won?
Cushman: Hardly Bob!! Even today I’m not sure I’d want to try doing the whole thing in one day, which is what it takes to win. Along with my brother and father I rode it in two days – 120 miles on the first day, and an easy 80 on the second. The last 35 miles of day one were extremely tough, but as a 19-year-old it was quite an accomplishment that helped me realize what could be done on a bike.
Costas: So how did you get into racing your bike?
Cushman: I exclusively ran (5ks, 10ks, etc.) until 2008. At that point, thanks to my employee perks at Roscoe Village Bikes, I got my first real (i.e. fancy) road bike, and started “training.” I wasn’t really training for anything in particular, Bob, but it was just fun to ride with the Spidermonkey group, which started its rides from my shop. In the fall I was able to borrow a friend-of-a-friend’s cyclocross bike and raced two races in the Chicagoland Cyclocross Cup series (now Chicago Cross Cup). I competed in the 4B category, before the days of the B’s being a circus, and had a blast. That set the stage for 2009 when I started riding more seriously, racing road races and completing the whole Cross Cup series.
Costas: Now I’m to understand your similarities to David Beckham don’t just stop at your athletic talent and striking good looks, like him you also compete for two teams?
Cushman: That’s correct Bob. Ever since my first Spidermonkey year in 2009 I race much of each summer in black and orange, and most of each fall with Roscoe Village Bikes Racing p/b Virtue Cider.
Costas: I can’t help but notice the main sponsor for each team (Goose Island 312 and Virtue Cider) are both companies from the same owner, Greg Hall. Is this some sort of Great Expectations, anonymous benefactor situation?
Cushman: That’s the premise I’ve been operating on for the last 4 years, Bob.
Costas: Rumors have been flying around various social media sites that you rode your bike 9,000 miles in 2012.
Cushman: That’s correct. Between commuting 30 miles a lot of days, many long Old School rides, and a summer bike tour, the miles added up quick.
Costas: Bike tour?
Cushman: Yes, Bob, a friend and I rode self-supported from Ann Arbor around both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Just a tent and a change of clothes strapped to our bikes. I tell ya, you haven’t really ridden til you’ve ridden an 85-lb. bike in 99 degree heat on a six-lane highway coming out the ass end of Cleveland to start the 7th (of 11) hours in the saddle for the day.
Costas: Fair enough. So I have one last question for you. Your fans around the world of course know you as Crushman™, and it’s obvious why. After trademarking it, reserving crushman.com as a work-in-progress living shrine to yourself, and tattooing the nickname across your chest, I must ask: have you thought about legally changing your last name to Crushman?
Cushman: Bob, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t. But, honestly, I just don’t want to come across as narcissistic.
Costas: Understood. Thanks for your time, and good luck in 2013!!