Tag: beer

Spidermonkey of the Week – Kyle Kershasky

Kyle – Always enjoying the finer things in life!

I first heard about the Spidermonkeys at the MS Ride 2010. It was the year the ride was cut short and everyone ended up inside at the beer tent. Dean was talking to a fellow Y Spin instructor telling me about how he trained to ride thru Alaska, Antarctica or something with an A. Although I’ve never seen Dean at the Y nor did I realize until much later that he helped create SMC, I hope he comes to my Saturday spin class someday and make this whole story come full circle. There’s a first for everything.

I first got into biking when I was about 5-ish. The guys on my block all had dirt bikes and it was our way of getting to the park, impressing that one girl, even if she was a tomboy and finding freedom. My first bike was a Huffy with a banana seat that read “Desperado”. (The older I got the less cool it became) I eventually spray painted silver and tricked it out with bike accessories from Zayres. It even had “chromie” valve covers that we stole from neighborhood cars.

My first and most recent cycling injury was around the age of 7. My dad taught a basketball camp. I failed miserably at basketball. I weighed nothing and got pummeled by other kids. My dad was also the coach of my grade school team (even with Dad as coach I didn’t start). So I was biking down this monster hill and God knows why I jammed my foot hard between the fork and the tire – this is what scares me about cyclocross – and I flew over my handlebars and planted my right cheek onto the asphalt. I had a big scab on my face for the rest of the summer. I was an only child.

My first “10 speed” bike was in 6th grade. My parents bought it for me as a birthday present. They had it waiting for me in the kitchen with a bow on it. It was yellow with a chocolate brown seat.. Totally not cool compared to Danny’s Hutch and totally incapable of doing broncos. But my parents though I should have one. The presentation of the bike was anticlimactic. On the way home I leaked out that I beat my parents to the mail and hid my report card from them. Boy that was a good birthday.

My first time kissing a girl her name was Amanda and she had the hottest

My first time getting wasted was the first time I got drunk. It was the summer after senior year H.S. My friend worked at the yacht club in Milwaukee and we waited until all the members left. It was sweet drink followed by hard liquor until I puked and puked over the dock into Lake Michigan. The whole night. Puking, hurling and trying to convince this girl that I was legal. (18). I didn’t drink again until the end of summer when I went to college. Which is where I found beer.

I drank a lot of beer in college. Busch Light Draft. We had a built in bookcase lined with empty beer bottles 4 deep. We threw huge parties. It was weekend after weekend of drinking. What I lacked in athletic skills I made up for in drinking. Floor hockey? Alcohol. Entertainment? Alcohol. Flute recital ? Alcohol in a bong. I permanently cured my shy factor with alcohol. I don’t know how to say this in this blog but I no longer drink. Much. Anymore. But when I do, it’s 312. And boy do I get buzzed. Off one beer. Sometimes half.

My first triathlon was in 2001 on a mountain bike. I saw it as a way to have fun. Dress up in costume, throw candy to the crowd like a parade. Fun stuff. Then once I started training for it I realized these people are serious. There are no costumes, no candy and no drinking. I did the triathlon and from there I was hooked. I upgraded to a road bike, did century rides and became a Spin instructor. Over the next ten years I went on to do the Shamrock Shuffle, Alcatraz, Ironman, ride into my wedding on a tandem, a marathon (in that order) and most recently a USA Triathlon coach and NASM personal trainer. All from the simple interaction of:

Co-worker: You want to do the Chicago Triathlon?
Me: No. Are you nuts? Shit.

Cylclocross is big in SMC. My first time seeing a cyclocross was last month at Montrose. It was freaking awesome. I made a video of it. About the only thing I love more than cycling is making videos of cycling. I even made a video for this entry. I loved the Montrose video. People drinking, cheering, getting dirty, dressed in costumes, handing out candy. Oh yeah, I see where this is going. Where do I get a cross bike….?

My first Spidermonkey ride was on the fast Sunday ride this summer. I really wanted to join a bike group. There’s a an awe from seeing a pack of riders go by. I heard of this Spidermonkey that we speak of on more than one occasion. After the MS ride this year Kristi helped bridge the gap and gave me the low down on the rides. I made it to every Sunday ride that I could in the summer and I and have also enjoyed the VQ Spidermonkey edition. It’s the perfect group. Sprint points, a mix of athletes, philanthropy and a little bit rock ‘n roll. Oh, and alcohol. In my best Dos Equis voice “I don’t always drink. But when I do. It’s with the Spidermonkeys.”

SMC will always be my first bike club love. You had me at “pisses excellence.”

(if the embedded video doesn’t work, try youtube)

Things that got cut out of this entry: Cookie dough yum, Dad: licensed Zamboni driver, dog’s name Rocky, first car 77 Nova.

Shea 9th, Castro 12th … Hopkins Park CX 4B’s Race Report

Hey Everyone,

My report will be fairly short, I’m hoping Shea will write up a more comprehensive one since it was his first CX race on his newly built up cross rig.

We got out to DeKalb around noon because we didn’t pre-register and there were only 10-20 spots left in the 4B’s and 4A’s was filled. Luckily we registered with 10 spots remaining. After pre-riding the course and warming up we went over to the start area around 2:45 along with the other 70+ 4B’s. They called up the top ten finishers from Jackson Park, Austin from RVB was going to take Cushman’s 8th place spot since Dave was out of town .. They called the rest of us up and I got a spot in the 2nd row on the far right, which was ideal since about 30 yards down there was a hard left hand turn. Shea and Austin were right behind me. Start whistle goes and I make it to the turn pretty close to the front and through the first couple of turns I see there’s about 5 people in front of me, Chase Wolford from Rhythm Racing (rides for IIT too) is in the lead. Heading out to the baseball fields and the off-camber twist and turn I realized I couldn’t hold my current pace and had to back off a little. On the first pavement section I hear someone coming up and cheer me on and I see out of the corner of my eye it’s an RVB’er and I’m like, “go, go, I can’t keep up ..” and Austin flies by me. Somewhere near the start of the 2nd lap as my lungs are screaming and my legs are going unresponsive I see a monkey kit coming up and I shout, “come on Shea, get up here!” He eventually did and then passed me. I kept Shea in my sights and we got to cheer each other on through the multiple switchback sections. Overall, after sitting pretty good in 6th in the first 5 minutes of the race, I lost 6 more spots and ended up in 12th. Shea did great and got 9th! My lungs still hurt, but I’m still smiling by how much fun it was and how well Shea did.

Lessons learned:
– Pre-register, save $5!
– Plan your start position based on the first turn, don’t get boxed in going into the first turn.
– Go hard at the start, but not too hard where you blow up and hang on for dear life for the rest of the race.
– Have fun and try to get some of the cash hand-ups from spectators (someone was giving out $20’s)!

pics from jasonhenry (half acre cycling) on flickr.com

damn, the new oakley’s look good ..

it may look like I’m going fast, but I’m not, I’m barely able to pedal ..


p.s. zens, witry and pollard, all the xXx’ers and cycle smithy racers were calling you guys out .. wondering where you were, maybe next year?

Northwestern vs. Minnesota tailgate at Wildcat Alley (09/26/09)

It was a brisk, overcast Saturday morning. I rode to Northwestern’s campus (my first ride since my crash) to rendezvous with Dean, Dan, Matt R. and Ami. We were joined by Ben, appropriately bedecked in a Northwestern bike kit. I arrived early to help John Clarke from GooseIsland set up the biergarten in NU’s Wildcat Alley, which in 45 short minutes would be swarming with fans of college football…and delicious Goose Island beer. The table tents and banners were in place. The cold plates had been iced and the Spidermonkeys were ready. Dan was on Honker’s Ale. Ami, Ben, and Matt were on 312 Urban Wheat Ale, our sponsor beer. Dean was pressing the flesh and working the crowd. I took my post behind Old Faithful, the Harvest Ale tap. 9 AM rang and the die-hard fans began to trickle in. Having worked the previous two tailgate events, I knew that this was the calm before the storm. I cautioned my fellow monkeys not to rest on our laurels. With each free second, I poured reserve beers; stockpiling them for the deluge I knew would come. All the old favorites were there, known solely by their nicknames. Physics prof, Party Down, Sir Talks-a-Lot and “business in front – party in the back” were all at the ready, beer tickets in hand. These guys could put away beer after beer while simultaneously talking your ear off, but the Monkeys were ready, pouring for other patrons while indulging the stalwarts. As 10 o’clock rolled around and the NU band finished their pre-game performance, the crowds really started to roll in, NU and Minnesota fans alike. From that point until we closed shop at 10:45 I didn’t close my tap, shoving one plastic cup after another under the stream of (shameless plug) – delicious, cascade-hopped, amber, 5.7 % alcohol by volume, seasonal ale. With each few spare seconds I helped myself to a gulp from my own cup of brew. My teammates kept pace beautifully and Matt even managed to wangle some tips out of the deal. The sputtering sound of foam and the rush of CO2 indicated the blow of the kegs in rapid succession. Mine was the first to go, but I smoothly switched to my alternate spigot while Carlos tapped a new keg. The 312 and Honker’s taps also flew through the beer, but the monkeys manning them were not at all bothered by the spray of foam on their nice kits. We poured and poured, all while smiling and schmoozing with the game’s attendees. Dean kept the mood light by swinging through and chanting “Spidermonkey! Spidermonkey!” with us responding “Caw Caw Caw!” While not sure how many kegs my teammates went through, I blew through three, which equals about 480 servings (each ½ barrel contains approximately 160 servings). At 10:45 we stopped serving. We were lightly soaked in beer (Dan was standing in it barefoot) but we were all smiling, due in no small part from the beer we had ourselves imbibed. Greater than that, though, was the fun we had. Kudos to all the Spidermonkey volunteers, as it was a great way to thank our generous sponsor for their support.
Ca Caw!!-
Joe H.

Jackson Park CX Race Report

A couple of Spidermonkeys and RVB’ers raced at the Chicago Cross Cup’s first race of the season down at Jackson Park sponsored by xXx racing. Great day, great racing! Here’s Katie Isermann’s race report via email:

Hey Spidermonkeys!
So I did my first cyclocross race yesterday at Jackson park (thanks Lynn for coming and cheering me on!) and had a great time! It was so much fun! I had a slow start and had to run through the sand pit/baseball diamond on the first lap because the women in front of me were riding too slow through the dirt. I was able to pass a couple of them on foot. Once I got back on my bike and went around a turn, I almost wiped out because I used my back brake more than my front brake, this was also when I realized my front brakes wer
e rubbing. I then stayed behind a couple women into the winding turns around some bushes and trees and once the course straighted out I was able to pass them. I then rode with Jannette Rho for a lap or two and we passed a couple rides together. I lost her a little before the beginning of the last lap and was riding alone for a while but I felt strong and caught one ride nearing the end of the final lap.
I was passing women the whole race and had way too much energy at the end! I finished in the middle of the group of 27 women and was really happy with my first race. I can’t wait to do it again in a few weeks! I borrowed a bike and am ready to get my own cross bike!

Here’s my race report:
Jackson Park was also my first cyclocross race ever, it was great! I raced the men’s 4b race at 3 pm. Alex Tweedie, Dave Cushman and Matt (last name?) were also riding that day and were sporting their RVB kits. We pre-rode the course at 2 pm before the men’s 4a race and got a good feel for the twists and turns of the relatively technical course. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to practice on the barriers so that added a little to my mounting nervousness. At the start I lined up as close as I could to the front, but only managed 3rd row, out of 76 people though, maybe that wasn’t too bad. Dave Cushman was right on the line (lucky bastard) and after the start he said he was the 2nd person to hit the sand section. I was not so lucky, I ended up somewhere that seemed like 30th spot and 3 guys fell in front of me (and everyone else) right before the sand section, I was able to pick a line through them while others road right over them. Thus ensued about 30 minutes of max heart rate effort, at one point I looked down and saw 200 on my heart rate monitor, uh-oh. I was slowly picking off people in the turns (I think my mountain biking skills really helped on this course) and even on the two barrier sections. As nervous as I was before the race about the whole mounting and dismounting, I didn’t even have time to be nervous while racing, you just did it. Jump off the bike, jump over the barrier, jump back on the bike. Pedal, pedal, pedal. Repeat. By the 2nd or 3rd lap, things were pretty strung out, I couldn’t really tell who was in front of me and I knew there was a group behind me, but I was able to keep some distance from them. I ended up finishing in 15th place. Cushman was in front of me (I didn’t even see him after the start) and he got 9th! Alex and Matt finished just a little further behind me.
Lessons learned:
– Start position is key.
– CX races start with a sprint.
– Bike handling and proper cornering technique really help maintain momentum and lower energy usage.
– Constantly scan ahead to determine gearing (i.e. if in a corner heading onto pavement, shift while in the corner and get out of the saddle once you hit the pavement).
– Pass strategically (i.e. if in a twisty section start the pass on the outside while accelerating and squeeze on the inside on the next turn).
– CX is a blast!
Thanks to xXx racing for hosting, great race!

Great pic of Katie at the link below:

Dave taking the barriers like a pro!

Alex mid barrier, looking good!

Yes, that’s me, suffering. Thanks to Chris Strahm for taking the pictures!

Also some great pics at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/neverdrownout/sets/72157622296884149/

Cyclocross Clinic, Sunday, 9/6, 1 PM, Lincoln Park South Pond

Hey Everyone,

Dave Cushman, myself and some others are giving a clinic this coming Sunday at 1 PM. Location is near the Lincoln Park South Pond, between the pond and the softball fields. Even if you’re not interested at all, come out, bring some beer and hang out. If you know anyone that may be interested, forward this on.

Thanks and hope to see you Sunday!

p.s. Don’t forget to check the Chicago Cross Cup’s site for schedule, online registration, etc http://chicrosscup.com/

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