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WORS #7 Sunburst Showdown Race Report

Post Race ..

Race Report – WORS #7 Sunburst Showdown
by  Adam Kaplan
I chose this race to be my first in over 10 years. It took place in the Kettle Moraine area of Southeast WI and promised to be a fun course. I was convinced to enter the Cat. 2 Comp category against my better judgment by Sean Bjork, a XXX racer and friend of the shop. Geoff Scott, a fellow Spidermonkey, joined us as well. Geoff entered the Sport category.
Geoff and I arrived plenty early to get parking and a preview lap of the course. The course starts off after the prologue with a steep, twisty, forested single track climb up the ski hill. As it has been really hot and dry, the soil was very dusty. The course then winds its way up and down the ski hill with fast, bermed turns that were a lot of fun. The second half of the course wound its way back and forth a field with pine trees and was on mowed grass. This was filled with a lot of hair pin turns and was similar to a cyclocross course according to Geoff. I found the climb out of this area to be more fatiguing than the more technical climb that started us off. It was really hot. It was over 90 deg. for sure. This did play a role in everyone’s performance.
After lining up behind the Pro/Elite men and Women, the call ups began. Staging was very well organized and the two elite categories started 2 min. ahead of the rest of us. The Comp field was to complete four laps; the Pros had to do five.
When the bell went off for us, it was a mile of pure dust and jockeying for position. It wasn’t until after the first climb that I could breathe easy and try to settle in. First lap went great. Second lap I pushed a bit harder and was very thankful that Geoff organized hand ups of full water bottles. Third lap, I realized that I taxed myself a bit and started to get bad cramping in both hamstrings. I could have used some electrolytes to drink, but only had water. I rode within myself here, holding a solid mid pack position. I even started to pick off more riders on the beginning of the last lap. Feeling confident that I had enough left in the tank, I really let it rip down the main downhill half way through the course. I passed three other riders and was ready to pound out the last half of the lap when I realized I had a puncture! The Stan’s sealant was not enough to close the hole. Of course I didn’t bring a CO2/tube.  I got off the bike and found a guy loading up some gear on the side of the course and borrowed a floor pump and was able to get about 15psi in the tire and rode it that soft for about a half mile. Then the bead finally pulled off the rim and I was reduced to walking/running. I was ultimately able to borrow a rear wheel from some racers camping out by the side of the course. There was amazing support from other racers here.
I was very glad to not DNF in my first race in years. Looking at the results, had I not flatted I would have come in mid pack. As it was, I wasn’t DFL either. Overall, I had a great time, worked hard, and rode my brains out.

Spidermonkey of the Week – Jack Cahillane

Riding in the Pyrenees

As a newer Spidermonkey, a few items about this SOTW:
From:          Massachusetts.
Status:        Married. One dog (Poncho). No kids.
Sports:        Former college and open ocean distance swimmer.
Sporty:        Lifelong Patriots & Celtics fan.
Hobbies:     Great food, wine and travel.
Fun Facts:   Have worn the B-52’s wigs. Seen pro soccer games in
                  several countries. Cycled in the Pyrenees. Got kicked
                  out of the Vatican.

Cycling; where to start?
The bike that started it all for me was when I inherited the renowned ‘banana’ cruiser, with leopard skin seat. Also, being the youngest boy in a neighborhood full of young boys that were hell bent on mischief, we were incredibly inventive in the ways we went about it. Continually challenging each other to do wilder and more dangerous stunts, seeing who could get away with the most without punishment from our parents, or broken bones and stitches (though I got my fair share of all of the above). I had the cool bike and embraced the freedom of the 2 wheels. Exploring new neighborhoods and doing lots of wicked jumps and crashes, and trashed the hell out of that cruiser, thinking my parents would quickly provide a newer, even hipper bike. No dice.

Lucky for me, I had a grandma who always came through for me.  She surprised me with a shiny red Columbia 3 speed, won in a drawing at the local Sears. In my hands, it quickly was stripped of the metal fenders and accessories, to try to match with my friends who were embracing the BMX craze that was just starting. Racing up and down the streets, jumping off ever larger ramps and riding the BMX trails we were building in the local woods. Looking back now, it was a self made precursor to the cross bike – full size steel frame with thin wheels that could withstand a high level of abuse..

Chicago, early 90’s. Buying my first real mountain bike. 28 lbs of indestructible steel. City riding, discovering Palos, rides with Scott Bowens to Highland Park (being laughed at by the roadies flying by), trips to Kettle Moraine and to Boulder and Durango, riding in the epicenter of the mountain biking rage… This is where the ‘continuous upgrade’ montage would be played. Spending lots of my bartending tips on bike parts and higher grade components. To top it off, I built piece by piece what would end up as a $4000 mountain bike. It was top of its class in 1995, and can be viewed hanging in my basement at any time.

I thought Spidermonkeys was a swimming club??  Swimming in the Mediterranean .

I bought a road bike in 2000, mostly for around town transport, but also because I needed to get back into some sort of shape after years in the bar / restaurant business, quitting smoking and putting on some pounds. Scott showed me the north branch trail and I pretty much rode that to death as I again found the freedom and enjoyment of the two wheels. As my riding fitness and ability improved, I cautiously entered the “Sheridan zone”. It may not mean much to some riders, but being a solo rider up and down Sheridan can be: a) intimidating, and b) humiliating. As teams and better riders consistently blow by you, it either sends you back to the north branch trail, or you dig in and train harder to keep pace.

It was on one of these rides 2 years ago that I was quickly passed by the Spidermonkeys. I jumped on the back, and rode with the group the rest of the way to HP. Each week, it seemed that I rode nearly the same time as the team. I would usually get caught somewhere north of Evanston, and do my best to hang on the back as long as I could. Last spring, I ended up with the team on a few more rides, and got to chatting with some riders. I was really wowed by the amount of fun people had on the rides, and how they looked out for fellow riders and even gave pointers on how to ride as a group. I got to know Vanessa, John Castro and Dean, and several others.

Scott and Roxanne are my old friends and current neighbors. They were starting to cycle more, and joined the team after doing the MS ride, so they motivated me to get in on the weekend team rides and to join Spidermonkey as well. Vanessa and Dean asked me to join the team for the Harmon 100. I had
done a few centuries, but not with a team. I have to say, it was just about the most fun I could hope to have on a bike while riding 100 miles! Everyone was really having a good time, tons of encouragement going on, the group was riding really well together and challenging each other to make it up the seemingly endless number of hills. I swear that I smiled the whole way, and still keep that as a motivator when I’m having a crappy ride, or it’s too cold… Makes it easier to tell myself, I can’t stop now, or I’ll be off the back of the next team century!

Harmon 100!

On every ride, I see and appreciate the little things that remind me what I think Spidermonkey Cycling is about; Really great people, having fun while they do what they love, in a group who lift each other up, continually motivating and helping everyone improve and achieve their individual goals as we look forward to the team goal; the cold towel out of Dean’s cooler – and a beer to celebrate. Thanks to all who have welcomed me and I look forward to the upcoming season, the MS Ride, and many more.


Poncho, the dog.

End of Year Awards!

Thanks to everybody for attending our 4th end of year bash…once again, the night was filled with fun, Goose Island 312, patron, Dean speech, music, dancing, and awards! Click here for pictures.

And this year’s awards went to…

Top MS fundraiser’s:
Monica Pencz, Josh Green, Rebecca Dill, DJ Ryan, Mike Meyers, Kelly, Kristi

First time marathoner’s:
John Castro, Ellen Charnley, DJ Ryan

Fred Wu, Hayes Sanborn, Matt Duffey

Ride Leader’s:
Brandon, John Lyon, Josh Green, Drew, John Castro, Kristi, Rebecca

Everybody who travelled to Vegas for spring training!
Everybody who travelled to Lawrence to ride and race!
Everybody who raced!
Everybody who completed their first century!

Great leadership in cross:
Geoff Scott

Most consistent cross supporter:

Volunteer of the year:
Mike Meyers and Stewart Chapman

All the Get a Grip guys!
Matt, Michael, Adam, Ken, Geoff Scott

Most Humble:
Kim and Brandon

Best attitude:

Most improved:

And finally, the Ricky Bobby Award. The recipient of this award must consistently show initiative, is encouraging, involved, supportive, is the Rock of Spidermonkey who wakes up and pisses excellence. And the 2011 Ricky Bobby Award goes to…
Josh Green!!

Thanks to all our 2011 sponsor’s and partner’s:
Goose Island
Get a Grip
National MS Society
Roscoe Village Bikes
Universal Sole
Think Big
Turner Acceptance
Vision Quest

And to Josh Schilling for making our end of year video!

And to DJ Ryan for making our end of year party so awesome!

A special thanks to ALL OF YOU for making this so much fun for us and for the special gift towards our next spring training camp. We appreciate and feel lucky to know all of you!!

Can’t wait for our 5th year as Spidermonkey Cycling! Caaaa caaaaawwww!

Montrose Bake Sale

Thanks to everybody who supported our bake sale at Montrose this year! We were completely blown away by all the Spidermonkey baker’s…who knew we had so many talented cyclists AND bakers???

We raised $600!!! SRAM will match what we’ve raised which means SB^2 (Spidermonkey-Burnham-Shake-n-Bake) just raised $1200 for world bicycle relief (http://worldbicyclerelief.org/)!!

You guys rock!! Happy Holiday’s!

Week Wrap Up (Sept. 10-18)

Whether it was your first century (Justeen, Brandon, Paul) or your 50th, the Harmon Hundred was a difficult day! With 1500 feet of climbing in the last 25 miles, you were guaranteed to hear some cussing, singing and laughing when we came across a sign that said “Hills”.  A great ride in Wisconsin would not be complete without a stop at the Worlds Famous Legendary Brat Stop for brats and cheese curds! 

Two of our midweek gems came to a season end this week.  The Tuesday morning women’s ride and the Wed. night ride both saw a HUGE increase in attendance, speed, and safety!!!!  JJPeppers will be spending the next few months stocking up inventory of High Life and rumor has it they are putting in a mirror ball dance floor in the parking lot for us. Great work to our amazing ride leaders on helping make these rides successful!

One of our favorite target rides of the year was this past Sunday, the North Shore Century from Evanston to Kenosha (and back).  48 Spidermonkeys ventured out in what looked like it might be a nasty day of rain.  Turned out only the last 40 were wet….really wet!  We enjoyed our Potato Soup in Kenosha, lots of laughs and smiles….then headed home.  10 flats later, Yes 10, we all made it!  We made lots of friends along the way. Emails from a couple of new friends: You guys rocked and I look forward to knowing more”  “Really, really enjoyed riding with you guys.  You’re mentality is much different than many of the groups I’ve ridden with.  Everybody rode and signaled amazingly but still seemed to have a ton of fun the whole time. We departed from your group at one of the rest stops and didn’t enjoy the rest of the ride”

While many of us were riding to Kenosha, a huge group of monkeys were getting dirty in the muckity muck at Jackson Park. The Chicago Cross Cup opened up with a bang…from the Spidermonkeys!  Huge congrats to Kim on reaching the top step of the podium!  Ken, Michael Berman, Matt Daniel, Geoff Scott, Paul, Kelly, Kristi, Peter, Hayes and Trent all raced.  Can’t wait to heckle you all soon.  See you at Hopkins Park on 10/2!  

Spidermonkey of the week:  Tim Driver 

About five years ago a buddy of mine was going to do a 3 day ride for Make A Wish, so I decided to join.  After that I was hooked on cycling.  Shortly after that I moved to the big city of Chicago.  During the first year or so while I lived here I spent my cycling time as a Pathlete, avoiding Mayhem up and down LSD path and getting neck strains from the gorgeous, scantily clad girls.  It got to be a little dangerous in year two, so I decided to take my talents to the streets. I found a route that went to the northern ‘burbs and soon enough felt as if I might move to Kenilworth one day.  It was on a Wednesday night early in the spring that I met up with a couple of monkeys.  Wow, was that group moving fast!  I asked if I could ride north with them and they said sure, just stay in the back.  It was a great experience and I knew that I wanted to do it again.  “When do you guys ride?” I asked.  “Wednesday.  We leave from Roscoe Village. You know where that is?”  “Sure”, I replied, having no idea if Roscoe Village was a suburb or what.  Thanks to the world wide web I figured it out.  So I started riding with the Wednesday night crew, where I had my first ever JJPeppers High Life.   Finally, after I think two seasons I asked about joining the group.  This is the first year I have officially been a Monkey and it has been better than ever.  To continue on the love fest of this past week, everyone on SMC is very supportive and  great to hang around.  I really look forward to all of our rides and events!   

Week Wrap Up( 8/11/2011-8/30/2011)

Party week!

We’ve been doing a lot of riding…time to take a break and party! Lots of us showed up to the Harvest Ale Dock Party at Goose Island. I think we proved that Harvest Ale is really, really yummy! Thanks for having us Goose Island, we had a fantastic time! (proof here!)

The very next day, we were ready to party again! MS held a celebration for their huge success at the Tour de Farms this year. Spidermonkey’s helped and raised over $21,000, volunteered, and also had a hand in getting others involved in this great cause. We were honored to walk away with the “MOST VALUABLE TEAM” award! And we were thrilled to see our sponsor’s team Turner Acceptance walk away with “CORPORATE ROOKIE TEAM OF THE YEAR”. Thank you MS for letting us be a part of something so big and important, we can’t wait to do it all over again next year! Pictures here!

Cross Season Already??? Hells Yeah!

I believe we had a record number of Spidermonkey’s who showed up to the first cross race of the season…and not just to heckle but to race! Cross bikes, mountain bikes, beer, cookie crisp, jello shots, argyle socks…what’s not to love?? Stewart, Rebecca, Kelly, Kim, and Amy were all first timers…pretty sure the smile on their faces at the finish line means it won’t be their last! Great job everybody, thanks for making cross races so much fun! Pictures here!

While all that is going on, some of us are still doing some road racing! Congrats to Brandon, Ken, and Geoff Scott who travelled to Michigan to complete one of their races.

Weekly rides are always ongoing. Wednesday rides have been vomit-fast…if you’re not getting dropped, you must be doping! Unfortunately, the girl’s ride is coming to an end due to loss of light (stupid darkness!), but what a great season we’ve had!

Upcoming…Join us!

September 11: Harmon Hundred

September 18: North Shore Century

Spidermonkey of the Week: Fred Wu

I was told about Spidermonkey in early spring of 2010 thru one of my college team mates. He indicated that due to my desire for both bicycles and drinking beer there was only one logical bike team that would work for me.

It was in the late spring of 2010 when I first met Dean and Vanessa at the 1st Burger and Beer fun run operated at Universal Sole. After speaking with both of them, I was informed that membership was closed to new members. After much pleading to both Dean and Vanessa I was finally let on the team. Since joining the team I have perfected the art of the “reverse breakaway” and my desire to attack the group rides at times that make no sense at all. While I don’t like to admit being a triathlete, I do dabble in triathlons. I think of myself as a swimmer, cyclist and runner.

Fred is one of our craziest and humblest Spidermonkey’s, ask him about all his ironman’s, ultramarathon’s, etc, that he’s done…he recently completed Ironman Canada…congratulations Fred!!

Week Wrap Up (7/20-8/10) Busier than a…

The past few weeks we’ve been busier than a long-tailed monkey in a room full of rocking chairs, a one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest, a mosquito at a nudist colony and a cross-eyed air traffic controller…well you get the idea. 
A huge thank you to Kristi and Kim for putting together the field trip/ride to 3floyds brewpub!  It was a hot 78 mile day which made the cold beer taste even better.  When 3floyds saw the Spidermonkey/312 team arrive (19 of us!) they welcomed us with open taps!  Great ride, great route, loads of fun, fantastic beer and food…and a nice refreshing swim at Promontory Point on the way home!
Spidermonkey racers participated in the Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove. Great job Paul Halupka, Masa, Peter Monko, Derick Adame, Trent and Brandon!  5 top 20 finishes!!!  Paul is already tearing up the roads with a 5th place finish!  Looking forward to seeing some great Spidermonkey teamwork from our growing Cat4 squad in 2012!
Chicago Cross Cup! Less than 6 weeks until the official start of the CCC at Jackson Park. Spidermonkey Cycling is officially sponsoring the CCC!  We will be supplying the Juniors prizes every week (10-14 and 15-18, Boys and Girls).  Are you ready?   Matt from Get A Grip and Geoff Scott will be holding a cross practice/clinic this Sunday at 9 am on the north side of cricket hill.  Come one, come all!  
Our Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday (girls) and Wed Night eGem rides have been HUGE successes.  JJPeppers Parking Lot Night Club has been the place to be seen.  Especially if you wore an UGLY jersey!  Congrats to Paul Halupka and Dave Cushman for taking 1st and 2nd prize in last weeks Ugly jersey contest.  Paul only beat Dave due to his accessories (nice bandanna Paul).

Upcoming events:
North Shore Century Sept. 18.  Welcome our cycling friends from Lawrence KS who will be joining us on the ride this year!  Can’t wait! 

Bike MS 2011 Celebration Party! Aug. 18 Help us celebrate raising over $21,000 to fight MS!!!!

The Grand Cycling Classic and the Tour de Gaslight. Grand Rapids, MI 8/20 and 8/21.

And a special report from Ken (Prince of Fashion) Mitchell: 

BEST crit series EVER!!

The Gateway Cup in St. Louis. Mr Matt Smith introduced me to this gem
years ago and damn if it’s not a shit-ton of fun! 
It’s over Labor Day weekend 9/2 to 9/5.
If you can, you should move Heaven and Earth to do this 4 race series. 
The crowds are great and the beer and food are plentiful. 
And now…..
Spidermonkey of the Week:  Masayuki (Masa) Tsuchiya

Back in Japan, almost every mom had a kind of bike we affectionately called “mama-chari” (mom’s bike http://www.japancycling.org/v2/info/bikesj/mamachari.shtml ) that had a basket attached to the front of the bike to put groceries in.  If she had a small child it would be likely to have a child carrier at the rear (I’ve never seen a handlebar mounted child carriers, so it must be a new thing). My mom had one of those bikes and she carried me around in the rear seat until my younger brother took over the seat and so I got my first bike around the age of five.
I remembered how that bike was like. It was a cool black bicycle with training wheels. What was cool about that bicycle was that it had an electrical buzzer that made zapping sounds of space ship laser beam every time I pushed the little button attached on the handlebar instead of bell. That must have been the cutting edge Japanese technology available to kid’s bike back and I was a proud owner of that bike. After that, bicycles became just means of transportation and during my college years my motorcycle took over that role. Then bicycles were long forgotten until recently.
I came to Chicago to attend the graduate school and then somehow I got married and soon we had a son. Since my wife and I had a job in suburb, it was natural for us to move out of the city to get closer to where we work.  Soon after we moved to the suburb, I got a cheap used bike to ride along the bike path at the forest preserve near our home.  I mounted a child carrier and my son and I had a lot of quality time together on the bike.  That was how I got back on the bike again and it was the beginning of my new life as a cyclist.
I met Todd in the winter of 2007.  The next summer he invited me to drive down for the ride from Roscoe Village Bikes to Highland Park. By then I had decided to participate in some triathlon events and I had bought myself a road bike.  I was very nervous about riding with people I don’t know well and on the route I don’t know well because I was slow rider at best.  But just like everybody else tried the ride says, I had a good time riding up to the café in Highland Park. Everybody in the group was friendly and I felt very welcomed. It seemed that Dean was little disappointed to find out that I was not Chinese because he could not show off his ability to speak Chinese though.  Dui Bu Qi, Dean.
After doing several rides and a century ride as a guest, I had already knew what club I wanted to join when I wanted to start riding seriously.  I sent out an email to Todd asking if he knew the membership was still closed for the next season.  Then I received an email from Vanessa soon after with the membership application attached.  It has been the highlight of my life since then. I knew that Spidermonkey Cycling was one of a kind and it would worth a drive down into the city to ride with you awesome people.  I truly thank you for all the encouragements, the advices and the cheering during the rides and races.  I am glad that I become a cyclist and a Spidermonkey. You guys make me feel at home in this country.  I have been shining quite a while now!

Week Wrap Up (7/12-7/19)

Evanston Grand Prix was chock full of excitement, adrenaline, and fun for everybody! Spidermonkey’s raced and raced really, really well! What we’ve learned about Paul Halupka? He doesn’t mess around! He chose Evanston as his very first race! Mike Meyers and Tim Driver joined him in the race and they all did an excellent job. Brandon made his debut in the cat 3’s, Ken raced in his new super fast shoes, while Trent-a cleaned up in the cat 4’s. Great job guys! And nobody cheered louder than the Spidermonkey’s! Thanks to everybody who came out and cheered and to Bike MS and Goose Island for making it extra fun for us!

Tim Driver and Mike Meyers also raced in the Willow Springs road race. We wish the Spidermonkey cheer squad could have been there to see them finish in the top 10!!! Rockstars.

Last weekend, Kristi and Grace travelled to Muncie to destroy a half ironman. This weekend, Matt Duffey, Peter Monko, Liz Kolshak, Jesus Cruz and Fred Wu went up to Racine to do the same thing. Despite the 101 Degree heat index, they all managed to finish. That is crazy awesome! Congratulations! You are all superstars in our book!

Our standard Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday (girl’s), and Wednesday night rides are still ongoing with lots of participation. They continue to be a complete blast!

Upcoming this week:

This Saturday’s ride will be replaced with our yearly safety clinic run by Randy Warren. Spidermonkey’s, please make every effort to attend!

And if you haven’t heard, Liz is moving to Boston to attend Harvard. While we are extremely excited for her, we will definitely miss her! We loved having you in Chicago…come back soon!

Spidermonkey of the week: Liz Kolshak

Last summer, I moved to Chicago and knew only a few people. My sister must have grown sick of all our quality time together because she told me I needed to make some friends. Not exactly sure where to meet friends, I volunteered at a triathlon in an attempt to find some people with similar interests. That’s where I met a girl who rode with the Spidermonkeys on the girls rides. She wasn’t a Spidermonkey, but told me to show up at Lincoln and Belmont one Tuesday and I did.

I’d started riding a year earlier and knew very little about riding in a group. I’ve always considered myself a runner and only bought a bike because it was a requirement for participating in a triathlon. Luckily, Vanessa, Rebecca, Kristi, Katie and Grace were all patient explaining a paceline to me, how to ride in a group, etc. (you know, the basics!)

It wasn’t long before I made it to a spidermonkey happy hour and then a Saturday ride (keeping priorities in order–beer before biking). It’s been the perfect group for me, drastically improving my cycling and also allowing me to meet some great friends at the same time. The group is diverse with people from all different backgrounds, with different interests and levels of cycling experience, but we all have the common interest of cycling.

From being doored the night before the Chicago triathlon to being run over by a cyclist on the path, its almost amazing that I’m still biking–let alone that I now love it more than running. I think the Spidermonkeys have contributed a lot to that. I still giggle thinking about our Vegas trip, jokes from rides or random nights at Excalibar (if you haven’t been Rebecca Meyers wants to go back!!). I’m going to miss y’all, but don’t worry I’ll be back!

2 Week Wrap Up (6/29-7/10)

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things!  We not only reached our original goal of $8000.00 but we blew it out of the water!  With a 50% match to all of our Bike MS team members from Trading Technologies (Vanessa’s company) we are officially over $22,000!!!!!!  Thank you to all who donated, fundraised, supported and participated!  A HUGE thank you to ABT Electronics for donating an iPad for a raffle (over $1000 raised), Goose Island/312 for letting us collect tips (over $1500) while pouring 312 at the ride….and anyone else I forgot to mention.  We could not have done this without your support!

Road Trip!!!! to the Tour of LawrenceIf you think Kansas is all flat, think again!  Trent and Michael Meyers participated in the fast paced Crown Toyota Street Sprints.  Trents final sprint was against Steve Tillford a former National Champ and pro for over 30 years!  Dean, Michael and Trent also did  the challenging Lawrence.com KU Campus Circuit Race up and down the hills of Mt. Oread with over 400ft of climbing per lap. Clearly the heat did not bother Mike…with a 5th place finish!  Dean completed the race and did not die!!!  But the best part:  The muffin ride with the Lawrence cycling club…thank you Randy, Chris and all the members for making the spidermonkeys feel so welcome on you amazing group ride!  

Oh yea…there was also a running race on the criterium course.  1 mile sprint!  Vanessa and Grace finished 2nd and 3rd overall and first in their respective age groups!  Dean and Mike had a little fun while still breaking an 8:00 mile!  Best finisher of the day was Nick Sprecker taking 1st in the kids run and 2nd in the kids bike race!  Overheard Nick talking to Vanessa:  ” Its ok and it makes me happy when others win…but it makes me really happy when I win.”  Way to go Nick!

Thanks to Becky Welbes who hosted Friday’s “Pretty. Fast. (women’s cycling meet and greet)”. The meet and greet was just what new rider’s needed to get them started with riding in groups and racing. It was great to see so many women excited about riding their bikes…and show up for the Tuesday morning girl’s ride!

Congrats to all the spidermonkeys who have been participating in this years SuperWeek races!  We look forward to seeing all of you on Sunday at the Evanston Grand Prix.  Look for our Spidermonkey/312 tent around the corner from the fountain.  We will arrive at 8:30am for a full day of cheering on our racers!  Come and enjoy a cold 312 with us at the Goose Island/312 Beer Garden!!!!

Spidermonkey of the Week: Grace Chappell  

My mother needed a break from hearing me yell “go faster!” from the seat attached to the back of her bicycle so my first bike was purchased for $3 at a garage sale and I rode that thing into the ground (literally, as it had to be retired after the brakes went out while I was going down a hill and I wound up in a nice thorny blackberry patch).  My next bike was a little nicer and allowed me to keep up with my big brother and his friends around the neighborhood, as well as family weekend rides.  As I got older I didn’t ride much but was concentrating on my true passion of swimming, and after competing on swim teams from age 8-17 I was burned out and stayed out of the pool after high school.  Meanwhile my brother had stayed a cycling enthusiast and was quietly but constantly encouraging me to give road cycling a try.  He sent me my first road bike via UPS and told me I could assemble it myself (piece of cake.  yeah right.) and I proceeded to provide some great entertainment to my college roommates as I tried to figure out how to clip in and out of my pedals; repeatedly falling over traveling zero miles per hour.  After I got that figured out, I reached out to some people on the Illini Bicycle Racing Club and learned how to ride amongst the corn fields of Champaign-Urbana.  Wind!  I had started running occasionally during my time off from swimming, and therefore I decided to give triathlons a shot.
After moving to Chicago, I did not ride my bike much because I did not have companions, and I was also pretty scared of riding in the city.  I went on a lot of solo training rides since I still wanted to compete in triathlons, but I missed riding with other cyclists and as I watched lots of spandex-clad groups riding north on Damen I longed to ride with a group again.  I inquired at my local bike shop, Roscoe Village Bikes, if they had group rides, and Lesley mentioned a group called the Spidermonkeys which I thought sounded pretty rad.  Turns out that about the same time I got motivated enough to email Vanessa about joining a ride, I made friends with Katie at a triathlon and she invited me on a Tuesday morning all girls ride.  I loved waking up at the crack of dawn to ride with a group of awesome ladies, and soon found myself trying to keep up with the whole group on a Saturday ride.  I was absolutely hooked and couldn’t wait to ride every Tuesday and Saturday.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that the Spidermonkeys are an amazing group of people who have a blast together both on and off the bike.  
Although I have been riding a bike throughout most of my life, I have only realized how extremely fun cycling can really be since becoming a Spidermonkey!  Thanks for all the lessons and all the laughs!!

2 Week Wrap Up (6/29-7/10)

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things!  We not only reached our original goal of $8000.00 but we blew it out of the water!  With a 50% match to all of our Bike MS team members from Trading Technologies (Vanessa’s company) we are officially over $22,000!!!!!!  Thank you to all who donated, fundraised, supported and participated!  A HUGE thank you to ABT Electronics for donating an iPad for a raffle (over $1000 raised), Goose Island/312 for letting us collect tips (over $1500) while pouring 312 at the ride….and anyone else I forgot to mention.  We could not have done this without your support!

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