Tag: Apple Cider Century

Spidermonkey of the Week – Dave Donnelly

by Dave Donnelly

Richards Riders-smThroughout my childhood, teens, and adulthood I’ve had a ton of experiences with sports in one form or another. None of them turned out well…

My first attempt with sports was in grade school. I think the whole class signed up for football. I was abnormally tall, which was often mistaken for “big”, so I was immediately drafted and put on the front of the offensive line. My first game I was knocked over by a kid half my size right away and literally pushed about twenty yards behind the rest of my team… So there went football.

Next was basketball. Again, due to my abnormal height, the coaches were all over me. After repeatedly tripping over my own shoes, making baskets for the other team, and other comedic mishaps I decided enough was enough. I told my coach that basketball was interfering with my piano lessons, which was true but I’m sure you can guess how that went over.

I loved soccer but never seemed to be able to control the ball. Had a blast playing lacrosse but hated checking people. Enjoyed tennis but once again, not so good. Sailing made me seasick. The guys in crew at my school were just jerks.

The only athletic endeavor that has always kind of stayed with me has involved bicycles.

When I was six I got my first bike. The Schwinn Bantam. Coolest bike on the block. I rode that thing everywhere.

kid pic with cutlaskid pic with the dog

Next up was my Schwinn Thrasher. It was a sleek, blue, bmx bike and definitely upped my cool points in the neighborhood. Growing up on Northwestern University’s campus was especially great at this point. They were constantly demolishing buildings and leaving huge, empty mud pits. With a little imagination and the right group of buddies these mud pits turned into the perfect offroad, bmx course.

When I outgrew the Thrasher my parents introduced me to my next two-wheeled friendship. This time in the form of a Schwinn 12 speed. I rode everywhere, until my interest in bicycles went on hiatus.

In the decade that followed I got back into music, went to school for sound, joined a punk band, toured, put out albums, broke up the band, started a new band, fell in love, moved to California, joined a motorcycle gang, ran a record store, got engaged, got unengaged, joined another punk band, moved back to Chicago, ran a motorcycle shop, caused some trouble, moved to Wyoming..

punk

Then I bought another bicycle. It turns out living in a tiny town way up in the mountains in Wyoming was a difficult place to make friends. Mountain biking turned out to be a great solution. I could get on a great path right outside of my back door and be in the middle of nowhere in half an hour.

After a little over a year I returned to Chicago with a rekindled love of bicycling. My first year back I commuted by bike, even most of the winter. In the spring I started to get tired of being passed by road bikes and started thinking about a change. That decision was made for me about a day later when my clunky mountain bike was stolen.

So I built a really neat road bike with parts recommended by cyclist friends. Riding escalated from commuting to rides to the botanical garden with some friends, to the Apple Cider Century.

I was ready to up the ante a bit and wanted to do something charity driven. A friend introduced me to the Ride for AIDS, Chicago. This was really good for me because it had great training and really helped with my cycling (it’s 200 miles!). It was also a great charity and I felt really good about raising money for them. I even captained a team of 60 for a few years.

rfac

So after the second year of the 200 miles a few of us decided to do the Northshore Century together. It was kind of chilly and threatening to rain but we decided to go for it. About twenty miles into the ride we were passed by this huge group of rowdy, exciting, super fast riders. I asked myself if I thought I could do that. I started pedaling as fast as I could to catch up and reached them at a light. I super nervously asked if I could try and join. A guy near the back said sure, just stay towards the back and hang on. I rode with them for about thirty miles and it was a blast!! So much energy and fun! I hung out at the half way point with them a little but was too shy to strike up a conversation. All of a sudden someone yelled “Spidermonkeys! Let’s roll!” and they all mounted up and left.

I hung out at the stop and waited for my friends to catch up. The second they arrived all I could talk about was how fast we went and how nice they all were and how much fun it was. I told myself that I was going to learn to ride like that and join that team some day.

In my thirties I’ve learned how to throw a pretty good spiral, become a relatively good basketball player, and even tried soccer again (I still suck). And yet, my favorite athletic accomplishment of my thirties was riding the Northshore Century with the Spidermonkeys. I can’t tell you enough how excited I am to be part of a team with so many amazing, encouraging, and talented people. And I can’t wait to see what next year brings!

ns cent

Spidermonkey of the Week – Lindsey Fahey

 

Dock Party! (Lindsey on the left, Jenny on the right)

Dock Party! (Lindsey on the left, Julie in the middle and Jenny on the right)

by Lindsey Fahey

As a kid I grew up riding my bike all over my neighborhood and always remember how exciting it was when my mom would give me the ok to extend my ride (Ok, now you can go AROUND the block, you are 5 now!).  So I suppose generally I liked riding bikes since day 1.

Through high school and college I didn’t ride a bike at all since it never seemed particularly convenient or much of a workout, plus I was playing lacrosse at U of I, so usually got my workouts in that way.  When I moved to Chicago I thought people were crazy who rode their bikes on the streets.  Many of my coworkers at the design firm I used to work at rode their bikes to work.  All I could think was “stupid hipsters.”  I certainly would never be one of those bike people.  One day 2 years ago I was eating at a buffet with my friend Jenny (also now a Spidermonkey) and she mentioned she had a road bike that she sometimes rode on the trail with her mom.  I was like oh, huh, maybe I should get a bike.  I may have actually asked her how she got it to the trail; did she ride it on the STREET ALL THE WAY THERE??  I started toying with the idea of biking since I decided to retire myself from running after hurting my hip training for the ‘09 marathon.  Living in Roscoe Village, I wandered into Roscoe Village Bikes one day and started chatting with Paul.  After test driving a few bikes later that week I settled on a blue Jamis road bike.  My boss (who is super into cycling) asked me if my new bike was carbon and what components I selected……I stared back blankly and told him I don’t know and that I don’t need some fancy carbon bike.  I started riding around a little bit, taking only one way streets for the most part.  Jenny taught me how to ride on Addison WITH CARS to get to the trail in the mornings before work and I slowly became more comfortable on the roads.  I even started riding to work and by the end of the summer I was one of those hipsters riding to work, some weeks up to 3 days if I didn’t have meetings.  I was bummed when the weather changed and I couldn’t ride anymore, minus one misguided attempt to ride to work in January.

Fast forward to early spring this year, I was chomping at the bit to get out on my bike and was constantly bugging Jenny and my friend’s husband (the only 2 people I knew with road bikes) to go ride.  My roommate told me I was super annoying, and suggested I go “join a club or something” to make some friends who like bikes as much as I did.  That seemed like a good idea so I started googling bike clubs in Chicago.  I figured it was best to look at the pictures of the members to assess each club.  I don’t mean I just checked out the members…more like I wanted to be sure they weren’t only wearing spandex and super hard core or the other extreme of just touring around…fun but serious athletes was what I was looking for and the Spidermonkeys looked like normal people.  They seemed to actually have fun together in their pictures so I emailed Vanessa who suggested I come try out a girl’s ride.  I was terrified, I had never even ridden 30 miles, let alone with a group that had a rule list that was pages long.  I was so nervous I barely slept the night before, but finished the ride and was hooked.  I was so thankful Rebecca took the time to ride with me that first time and show me the ropes of the pace line (yes you get THAT close) and what all the signals meant.  As the summer wore on I went on as many girls rides as I could make with my work schedule and tried a few of the Saturday rides.  Every time I got my ass handed to me, but learned a lot on every ride.  I couldn’t believe how encouraging everyone was and how willing they were to share their experience.

Bike to Work Week!

Bike to Work Week with the Spidermonkeys!

By this time I had badgered Jenny into getting clipless pedals and join Spidermonkeys as well so we could train together for our rides we had registered for throughout the summer.  Our first MAJOR RACE EVENT was a 40 mile Chocolate City ride in Burlington, Wisconsin.  Maybe it is because we were in the same sorority at U of I, or maybe because we played college lacrosse together, but in our minds this was an epic sporting event and we absolutely needed matching jerseys.  I told her that for the Chicago marathon you always dressed like the person you were running with so you could keep track of them in the massive crowds of competitors.  (Did I mention this ride was in Burlington, WI??)  We would need to be brightly colored and matching so we didn’t lose each other in the packs of bike riders I imagined would be at this ride.  We rushed to the “start line” at 6 am in our sweet matching (hot pink!) jerseys and were met with a few locals from the Lions Club hanging out in a school gym handing out chocolate.  I was like oh did we miss the start??  They were like ummm, no you just ride the route, there isn’t a start, you can start from 6 am until 10 am.  Guess we missed the memo that bike rides were nothing like distance running races, no chips, no crowds and no gun at the start.  We rolled out and had a great day on our first ride…and didn’t see another soul for about 75% of it.  We actually got asked if we were a lady cycling team on the ride due to our matching pink jerseys.

Chocolate City "Race"

Chocolate City “Race”

Sailor Dan's rest stop at Chocolate City

Sailor Dan’s!  Team Hot Pink Jerseys!

We then did the Tour de Cure with my company team which was fun, (this time we had on matching jerseys but in different colors).  We realized we liked the small town somewhat disorganized rides better.  Plus they had much better food.  We followed those rides up with a ride in Chillicothe, IL, and the Apple Cider Century in Three Oaks, Michigan (highly recommended, although don’t make a U turn in the downtown unless you want to get pulled over and lectured by a cop on foot, ooops).

Tour de Cure!

Tour de Cure!

By the end of the season this year I had gone on countless SM rides, tried my hand at mountain biking and actually made it up a mountain in Colorado (sort of, I fell off the bike into some bushes), made those illusive bike friends I was looking for who are always willing to ride (even on Thanksgiving!), figured out how to change a flat tire, finished my first Century with some coworkers at the North Shore ride, crossed 2 state lines on my bike and just recently bought my first big kid full carbon bike and told my boss exactly what components it had.  I could not be happier with my decision to email Vanessa and go on that first ride.  I’m SO excited for the upcoming season!

MTB'ing with Jenny

MTB’ing!

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