by Megan Kuzydym and Brian Feyereisen
Megan: Instead of telling you I knew, at age 5, that I would be a lifelong cyclist, I’m going to tell you the truth: I don’t really have many bike memories. My driveway was much too small to ride around and I lived in a lakeside community, which meant the traffic in the summertime looked similar to traffic on LSD when the President comes into town. So obviously, my parents were convinced my sister and I would be run over. Especially me since I’m clearly not large enough to be well-noticed.
Brian: Growing up on a small lake in Central Wisconsin involved waterskiing and wakeboarding all summer and ice hockey in winter. Skateboarding was much more popular than biking in the small village of Random Lake. Thrasher magazine, mullets and field parties were my main interest. My Huffy Rock Rhino mountain bike was purely used as a mode of transportation to baseball and soccer practice.
Megan: I went to Indiana University, home of the infamous Little 500 bike race, but chose to spend my college years determining how close I could get to the really drunk/sick line without crossing over it. I also learned some stuff too. The thought of training for the Little 500 by riding through the hills of southern Indiana (Hilly Hundred, anyone?) wasn’t at all enticing.
Brian: After graduating from UW-Milwaukee, I refused to grow up. I worked some random jobs to fund my real passion, bar league softball, which I participated in up to six nights a week. Eventually I realized I couldn’t turn my softball passion into a career so I decided it was time to grow up. Growing up involved the beginnings of my current career as Commercial Director for an energy company, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners. My career has involved three year stints in Charleston, SC, Houston, TX and now Chicago for the last four years. My job involves a lot of travel and dinners with clients several nights a week. I realized if I wanted to continue wearing the same size jeans as I did since high school, I was going to need to begin exercising. Since running shoes were easy to travel with, running became my new passion. I signed up for my first marathon, the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in the fall of 2007. Nine marathons later with a PR of 3:21 I was burning out.
Megan: When I moved to Chicago after graduating, I swore off dating for a while. That same weekend, I met my new boyfriend (Brian). He was really ridiculously good-looking (and active). Running, cycling, snowboarding, water-skiing – you name it, he was good at it. I decided, about 6 months after we met, to try being active too. I bought a hybrid Specialized but it was too heavy to keep up with Brian and his fancy road bike. So I took up running and ran through October 2011 when I got sick. My condition caused my leg to swell and running became extremely uncomfortable. So instead, I hopped on a spin bike. I loved spinning and the effort it required. I bought a fancier bike, hoping I’d enjoy riding outside as much as spinning. I went for some solo rides, but it wasn’t nearly as much fun as I’d thought.
Brian: After completing the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati in the spring of 2012, I knew it was time to try something different as marathon burn out had fully set in. While running the Lakefront trail I noticed a lot riders in black suits (I know now these are called kits) that said xXx, I thought they looked cool so I looked them up online and decided to join one of their Saturday morning group rides. I showed up with my freshly polished 2003 Specialized Allez that I hadn’t ridden in well over three years (other than to the grocery store). I was decked out in my mountain bike helmet and the finest mountain bike jersey I owned. xXx turned out to be a great group of RACERS who welcomed me, but the sprints to Highland Park and back weren’t quite what I had in mind. That was when my amazing fiancée, Megan rode the Tuesday morning Girl’s Ride with a new group she discovered called the Spidermonkeys. She returned from the ride glowing about this wonderful group of girls who helped her on her first successful group ride. By this time, I had decided it was time to buy a new road bike and trade in my mountain bike gear for some new road gear if I wanted to take this whole cycling thing seriously. I started to ride the Spidermonkey Saturday group rides and I was immediately hooked. I found exactly what I was looking for with the Spidermonkeys; a great group of friends who all happen to enjoy cycling. You’re pretty quick too!
Megan: At this time, Brian had been on some xXx group rides and talked about being part of a team – which appealed to me. Not too much camaraderie in spin class. I went on a Chicago Cycling Club Beginner’s Ride – which was not for beginners. I got dropped in Skokie, called Brian crying and he told me to pedal myself back the way I came (what a sweetheart ;-) ). Riding back home alone gave me time to think and I became stubbornly convinced that I was going to figure this whole cycling thing out. I searched online for a women’s or beginners ride and came across the Tuesday Morning Girl’s Ride. I contacted Vanessa who was so welcoming right from the start. Rebecca stayed with me at the back on my first ride and I returned home with a sense of accomplishment. I was hooked. I convinced Brian to go on a Spidermonkey Saturday ride with Drew Randall and we never looked back.
Both: We can’t say it hasn’t been hard (hellloooo North Shore Century), but it has definitely been worth every second. We’re so excited for 2013 and all the new experiences including Vegas and the MS 150. We couldn’t have asked for a friendlier, awesome group of people to spend multiple hours with every weekend. And when JPC asked us to be the SOTW couple, well, we knew we’d finally found a cycling home.