Tag: 2013

First Year Racing Take Aways

hopkins 2

by Lindsey Fahey

2013 was the first year I decided to race my bike, heck it was the first year I really RODE my bike week in and week out and “trained”. I learned a LOT………………..I learned about myself and my limits, both mentally and physically. I developed a huge amount of respect and appreciation for all of my teammates and the extremely strong women I competed against. I learned a ton about my bike, how to handle it better, how to ride it faster and how to take care of it. Best of all I made some great friends, met awesome people all along the way and had a LOT of FUN (duh that’s the point).

It was the best of times………….it was sometimes the worst of times. I cried, I came in DFL, I DNF-ed, I DNS-ed, I stood on the podium (and won A STATE CHAMP MEDAL!!!) I cried about that too. I got my ass kicked, but I also kicked some ass. I got horribly frustrated but had some amazing successes. Sometimes I hurt badly, but I consistently got stronger. I fell off my bike, I got filthy dirty, I got really banged up, I sometimes smelled bad, I terrified myself……but I also smiled like an idiot……and I waved……..I pushed myself harder and dug deeper at times than I ever thought I could………..and it sure was FUN!

Podium Montrose

For all of you folks out there thinking about racing, I am no expert by ANY MEANS, but I survived my first season and this is what I learned:

1. You will never be ready to race your bike…………you always could have trained harder or more, or not got sick last week, or slept more last night, or not eaten chipotle for lunch (num num num), or maybe you don’t have the right gloves or clothes or your bike is a hunk of junk. You have to, as Nike says, Just do it. If I waited until I was “ready” and all the stars aligned and I felt perfect I wouldn’t be writing this now, I would have never pulled up to the line.

2. NEVER underestimate anyone. That girl with the down tube shifters and the REALLLLY heavy bike? She just might be able to destroy you and be one of the fiercest competitors and best athletes you have ever met. (Lauren Wissman! I am looking at you!)

3. If you want to train, train with people faster than you, they will push you. Have a plan and a goal.

4. That said, burnout is for real. And it is awful, rest is your friend. Sleep is your friend. Riding slow is your friend. If you don’t feel like racing or even riding, don’t. Just stop. You don’t get fast overnight. You won’t get slow by missing one workout…….or a week of riding.

Downer 1 6-29-13 094

5. There will always be someone better, stronger, faster than you………but you will be better, stronger and faster than someone too. Focus on yourself and don’t compare yourself or your progress to others. Focus on your small successes and incremental (or huge) improvements and keep moving forward. Don’t dwell on your mistakes or failures. Maybe have a good cry or a small (ok large) temper tantrum in a bush, but then move on. Don’t throw your helmet…or your gloves…..or your bike.

6. Pick something to work on every single race. It can be tiny or it can be large, just focus on something. Learn something from every single race. This could also be applied to every single ride as well.

7. Have a pre race routine, no matter how stupid it seems. It helps you get focused and tune out all the stuff around you…..(its hot, its cold, everyone is negative around me, or excited around me, I forgot a bra, I need to use a pit wheel, that guy is hot, where is my mom? why do I have to pee……..AGAIN?) You can let distractions happen and roll off you and continue to focus on your race. You can be nervous on the line but you did your routine, so you are READY. May not be for everyone but it helps me to do the same thing at the same times before the race, especially in cross since you race at the same time each week.

8. People do weird shit when competing and the pressure is on, both before, during and after the race. Let your teammate’s have their space to do their thing. Some people get really nervous or crabby or silly or hyper. Not your concern, you are in your routine remember? Focus on you. People do and say stuff in the heat of competition that they normally wouldn’t. If you say or do something mean or crappy go apologize to the person after the race. Usually you will get a good laugh out of it.

9. Always bring your own water and lots of it. Port o potty water is not for human consumption.

10. Bike racing is expensive and takes a lot of stuff, stay organized and double check you have your stuff the day before, check your bike the day before, in fact make it part of your routine…….see #7 above

11. Racing is definitely physical, but also very, very mental (at least for me). I’d go as far to say 80% mental. You need to figure out how to get your head in the game, if it’s not, you have no chance and are just riding, not racing. Winning is even more mental. You have to WANT to win and believe you can win and know you can win. Or you never will. Some people just go in knowing this and accept nothing less (Sarah Rice), I am still learning about this.

12. Focus on what is happening in front of you, ignore everything behind you. Harder than it sounds.

After Downers

13. Beer and bike racing go hand in hand…….because racing is fun and people who race tend to be fun……and fun often involves beer (which is fun). You will get to know how to intertwine the 2….….some people can do both and just race hungover (Peter Monko). For us mere mortals you sometimes have to make the fun vs. doing well trade off decision or at least know your limit OR just accept you are going to suck the next day and keep the party going. We don’t get paid to do this after all.

14. But if you DO want to do your best and are targeting a specific race be nice to yourself……you are asking a lot out of your old bones. Lay off the sauce, eat well, sleep more, train hard and stick to your plan………you probably already know this drill if you are not still in college or Monko, in which case drink your face off and race your ass off!

15. It will be hard (it’s a race remember) and it will push you to your limits and beyond, you might even barf! Or cry! Or fall over! Or run into a garbage can! Or win! No matter what happens out there you will be stronger and let’s face it, the pro photog shots of you racing are pretty sweet!

16. Above all, if you raced 3 times or 30 times this year, finished last or won every race, IF YOU ARE NOT HAVING FUN YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!

Epic last night at peppers

Great season Spidermonkeys! I am so proud to call each and every one of you my teammates. See you out there next year!

A Snapshot of Woodstock

by Kyle Kershasky

As I sit here writing this report with a bruised thumb and a some cross cough after racing in Woodstock at PSI-clocross for Life this weekend, I sometimes think of reasons why I like to race cross. The usual cliché answers come to mind. Gives me something to train for. Work on my bike technique. Cross train. Opportunity to invest in different kinds of tires, rims and body heat cream that randomly turns itself on when least expected. All legitimate cocktail conversations.

This past weekend I remembered the real reason why I like the cross season. You always, always learn something new. This time it was the hiz to the hoes, wait for it…..wait for it….. SNAPCHAT!!

And boom goes the dynamite.

Okay, so it’s not the ONLY or specific reason why I like cross. Meaning if you took away Snapchat there would be something else that would metaphorically take its place. Like white tigers being thrown across a sand pit or circus themed costumes and handups. For today though, Snapchat was the fun factor of choice.

Snapchat goes with cross like:

Twisted goes with Sister

Like Mack goes with Daddy

Like Taffy goes with Cinnamon

Roughsketch

A very rough idea of a Snapchat photo

And for the purists, yes cross is fun on its own. No question. Woodstock’s course had a ton of fun obstacles. Like a big sand pit where you can post pictures with the Kid Rock lyrics “GET IT THE PIT AND TRY AND LOVE SOMEONE.”

There was also a toilet bowl section. Screaming down hills through the woods on rough terrain. A hill that takes you within feet of going directly into a pond. A barrier with a hill immediately after it where I used my Tim Johnson cyclocross camp tips and ran like Moses while shouldering my bike. Add it all up and it’s a long and challenging course.

For those of you who are still wondering what Snapchat is, let me sum it up in one sentence. One mature sentence. One G rated sentence. One day you will just have to see for yourself. But you have to trust me the sugar is just plain funny, okay? Trust me for 10 seconds. Or 1 second, depending on the Snapchat masterpiece.

To recap my race, the day was about putting an exclamation point on my week. When you’re having fun you really don’t care about daily troubles and stresses. I also didn’t really care if I would start out 70 and finish 42 like the previous week. Or if I hypothetically crash on the last lap and even though I would hop right back on with my chain off and have 10 people pass me. Okay so that sucked. However, if I didn’t have two Twizzlers in my mouth while giving some phenomenal Snapchat photo opps, then maybe, big maybe, then maybe I would have finished a few places higher up. However, I like to remind myself not everything can be perfect. Everything can be fun.

Of course being fast is always fun as Lindsey and Sophia proved by getting on the podium for the Cat 4s at Woodstock. But having their own paparazzi getting a Snapchat photo opp? How fun is THAT?!

Woodstockpaparazzi

Snapchat paparazzi


My favorite fun factor race is very soon on the weekend of December 7th at Montrose. As you know Spidermonkeys are sponsoring the race. Will you be there to volunteer? Will you be there to cheer? Will you be there dressed up in costume and cheering paraphernalia and make some Montrose Madness? I guarantee you’ll have a freaky fun time whether you are racing or spectating. Exclamation point, Snapchat!

After last weekend I decided to actually download the app Snapcaht. My username is KyleMobileKyle. And if you want to join but can’t think of a username I heard CoolCatYourName is kool. For a sneak peak of fun, check out this video I made at Montrose a few years ago.

Have some fun!

2013 End of Year Video

Bike MS: Cycling for a cause

laststop_day1

by Michelle Moore

Hello Family and Friends!

Thank you to everyone that has texted, called, emailed, posted on Facebook, etc. to offer words of encouragement and to check in to make sure I made it through the weekend alive! This past weekend was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Having come from a background of running and triathlon, this was my first endurance event in cycling. I knew I could do 100ish miles in one day because I have done it a few times before, but trying to do 150-175 miles over TWO days was something I was unsure I could do, but knew I wanted to try.

group

The start of the ride was delayed a few hours on Saturday due to bad weather. Thankfully this weather produced an overcast sky with some wind and light rain – which believe it or not – made for a manageable 100 miles on Day 1. The ride is completely supported, meaning there is a rest stop every 12-15 miles with plenty of nutrition, water, bathrooms, sunscreen, etc. I can only imagine what kind of site it was to see nearly 50 of us in orange/black cycling kits roll up on each aid station. Most people would cheer for us, and shout “we love the Spidermonkey’s” which was exciting and made me feel like somewhat of a celebrity. While we tried to ride as a group of 50 for most of the day, as the miles progressed, some legs got tired more quickly than others. There was a natural split in the group, and I ended up in a very enjoyable group of about 8 for the last 30ish miles of the day. By the time we rolled back to the finish area, I was MORE THAN ready to be off the bike and enjoy a cold beer and some food. I camped out with some of my teammates near the football stadium at NIU (in DeKalb IL) which turned out to be quite fun, yet provided very little sleep.

reward_day1

Day 2 was much more tough. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing hard and it was HOT. We took at team picture and then rolled out around 8:30am. It was a much harder ride due to the humidity, but the wind didn’t do us any favors either. It’s nice to be in the middle of a 50 person pack because it helps block the wind, but you also have to be very aware at all times so that when the group slows you don’t crash into the person in front of you. I was tired, and had some knee pain. It turns out that my seat had been a little too high up during the ride on day one, and I think I strained or pull the muscle behind my right knee. So, unfortunately that plagued me for most of the day. And, without offering up TMI (too much information), my undercarriage was pretty sore from 100 miles the day prior. Ouch!

lunch_day1

We rode for 21 miles straight before we stopped. I knew at that first rest stop that I wasn’t going to make it the full 75 miles the group was planning on traveling. One group broke off and chose to do 35 miles, and I ended up with just three other teammates doing 50 miles. I was bummed to have to make that decision because I mentally had committed to 75. But, I also wanted to be smart about my knee, and let’s be honest, I wasn’t enjoying sitting on that bike seat so much after day 1 – if ya know what I mean :)

I rolled back to the finish area around 12:30pm, having clocked just over 50 miles for day 2. I was so happy to be finished, so thankful for some of my teammates that really helped me get through that ride, and so proud of what my team accomplished to fight MS!

Nearly 50 Spidermonkey’s came together to ride and raise money for this event. I’m thrilled to say that we exceeded our team goal of $40,000…and have raised over $44,500…and counting! Below is a picture of my entire team from Day 2. I’m sure by looking at this amazing group you can see why I had so much fun and why I love being a part of the cycling community with them. Personally, I have raised over $1,500. That’s because of you! If you know anyone that still wants to donate, please send them this link: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/mishmoore Donations are being accepted through July 31.

I am so grateful for every dollar you’ve donated to help fight MS. Throughout this fundraising experience I learned of far more people that have a connection to this disease than I ever would have imagined. I am humbled at the amount I was able to raise in just a few short months, and hope that your loved ones will be free of this disease one day soon through donations like these. In the meantime, please know that each and every person you donated on behalf of crossed my mind over the course of 155 miles. And, I have a sore bum and sun burn to prove it! :) They are welcomed discomforts to mend, knowing that together we are all fighting for a greater cause.

Thank you!

Team2013_MS.web

Spidermonkeys of the Week – Megan Kuzydym and Brian Feyereisen

End of Year Bash .. Megan and Brian!

End of Year Bash .. Megan and Brian!

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.

L: The extent of our bike riding in 2010 – Vail Pass in Colorado
R: Yes, we are wearing sandals riding our bikes around Chicago in 2010

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.

L: The Nashville Marathon in 2011
R: The Fox Valley Half-Marathon in 2010

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.

North Shore Century

After completing the North Shore Century – Megan looks happier than she was! (I was so cold!!)

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.

Caw caw!

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