Tag: Vegas

Spidermonkey Spotlight – Kylene Canham

I met the Spidermonkey’s on OkCupid. Well, kind of. But, truly, my experience with riding bikes has been all about relationships and this one started out as love at, well, second sight. The truth is, on the first date I swore I would NEVER ride a century. I mean, after all it is 100 miles on a bike and who wants to do that?! You have to understand that unlike many of you, I wasn’t born on a bike. See me here with my little sis? I’m 6 years old and still enjoying training wheels.

Me and my Lil sis

Me and my Lil sis

Not to worry; that same day they came off. It was awesome. I remember crashing into the grass right past that tree shortly after that picture was taken – my dad still running behind me. Sweet.

Pre-crash

Pre-crash

I’ve come a long way since that day and it’s been a great ride (pun intended). In 2013 Stewart Chapman made my Michigan weekend by allowing me to borrow my first big kids road bike!

Official owner of a big kids bike!

Official owner of a big kids bike! Thanks SC!

Later, she actually let my buy it. So, that pretty Red Bianchi became my first. And that’s when I knew this relationship was more fun and was going to last longer than the one I had with running. Hooked.

So I started riding. And then riding more. Getting to know the people I already knew better and getting to meet new people too. Oh, and loving it! So when the time came to get a little more committed I was excited! I completed my first Bike the Drive and felt great! Maybe I WOULD take on some more challenges!

Bike the Drive

Bike the Drive

In 2015, It happened. I joined the team. An official Spidermonkey! Got a kit, hit up VQ and learned how to group ride baby! I was lucky to have a ton of support along the way, especially from this guy. Thanks, D.

Getting dropped often, but still having a blast. Oh, and the thing I swore I’d NEVER do, I did. I won’t lie to you and say it was the best time of my life, but I did it! 100 miles, Done!

And then there was Vegas Spidermonkey style, and my first crash – wait, what, we have to shift here? Huh? Always learning and still loving it. Flats in the rain, chain needs lubed – no problem. I was taught that. Recently, I’ve gotten to know some of this team even better and I have to say – what an exciting, eclectic, smart, kind, fun and supportive group of people.

Vegas Baby!

Vegas Baby!

I’m not going to be someone I’m not and this team accepts that. I’m a jack of all trades and a master of a few. I love the bike, but I also love art and motorcycles and traveling, climbing and the occasional bar run, and so much more. It’s great because this team pushes me in just the right ways, and I’m still growing and loving every minute! Ca Caaaawwww!

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Climbing Monkey’s

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Spidermonkeys of the Week – Yvonne and Paul Tierney

Vegas 2013 with JT on the right

Vegas 2013 with JT

Hello Spidermonkeys,

We are the Tierney’s, Paul and Yvonne.  We are both from Galway, Ireland. We moved to Chicago for a year in February 1998 and have yet to go home.

We don’t have any cool bike stories like the rest of the SOTW, so we will fast forward to how and when we became Spidermonkeys.

We knew Dean through our gym, the YMCA.  We were also friends with the Bowens (Scott and Rox).  We did the MS ride with the Lakeview YMCA team back in 2010 along with Kyle, Scott and Rox.   The Bowens ditched us to ride with the Spidermonkeys, but I can’t say I blame them; we were on our commuter bikes after all.  That’s right; we did 75 miles on day 1 of the ride on our commuter bikes!!  Thank you I know that’s impressive.   I remember cursing every person that passed me on a road bike.  After that ride we realized we needed road bikes.   The very next day or week we paid a visit to Get a Grip, where Ken fitted us for two new Scott Road bikes.

MS Ride 2011

MS Ride 2011 with Roxanne

Before we continue the story, we need to remind you again that we have no experience whatsoever with riding or bikes or any of that stuff. …So now that we had these expensive bikes we needed to ride them.   We showed up to our first group ride at Element not knowing anyone except Dean.  Dean was kind enough to point out to the group that we made a horrible rookie mistake – our tires were flat!  Oops!  But aside from feeling completely embarrassed and stupid, we learned never take out the bikes without first putting air in the tires – So thank you Dean!

We did a few more group rides, the majority of them ended in pouring rain. We also did that North Shore Century that one year where it rained the whole time.  Paul did the whole ride with his bike shorts on backwards!!!   We were starting to feel like someone was trying to tell us something!   But with attending clinics at GAG, and listening to everything that people on the team told us along with the way, we were getting the hang of it.  Still PLENTY to learn but getting better with each ride.   Dean invited us as special guests to the end of year bash in 2011, and we officially joined the team in 2012.

We decided to go to spring training in Vegas in 2012 to get to know other team mates.  Again remember how little we know about riding, well we did the North Shore Century and didn’t ride again until Vegas.  We did it though and learned a ton.  I didn’t even know what a switch back was let alone ride my bike on one.   We had a blast.  Everyone on the team was so supportive, encouraging and helped us along the rides.   We decided to sign up for VQ to train in the off season.  We went to Vegas again this year and we surprised ourselves how much stronger we were.

Vegas 2012!

Vegas 2012!

We really are so happy to be a part of such a great team.    The great friends we have made and the new friends we make each and every time we get together with the Spidermonkeys.  This team is more than just a team; it’s like a big family.  We didn’t have any family in Chicago until we joined the Spidermonkeys. We can’t wait to ride in 2013!!

Caw caw

 

Spidermonkey of the Week – Derek Barnett

Representing SMC in Tennessee, Cherohala Challenge 2012 – one of my favorite rides

Representing SMC in Tennessee, Cherohala Challenge 2012 – one of my favorite rides

by Derek Barnett

Hey Monkeys,

Derek B. here and JPC thought it was time for you to learn a little more about me since I’ve been hanging out with the troop since summer 2011.  I will try to be brief, but there is much to cover as I feel blessed to have had many great experiences on two wheels, perhaps the best of which is meeting this outstanding group of people that share a genuine love of all things cycling.  So with that, here is a little of my story, I hope you dig it.

Some of my earliest childhood memories involve a bike.  I can still remember the day when the training wheels came off the kiddie bike.  What a rush it was getting to ride up and down the street at ever increasing speeds without the annoying aero drag of those little stabilizing wheels dangling off my ride.  Of course, that leads to my next memory which is a trip to the ER due to an inevitable bike crash.  I do not recall the details of the crash since I was knocked unconscious from my head bouncing off the street curb.  I came to in the arms of my older sister carrying me while running to the awaiting family truckster…seriously, it was a ’78 Pontiac Safari Wagon…google it…you’re welcome.  Yes, it was the late ‘70s in Arkansas and that’s how we rolled.  My sister’s rescue effort was a touching moment, no doubt.  We weren’t big on wearing helmets back in the day, but the upside of the ordeal is that I got my first gnarly scar…a nice head gash which is still visible today.  I soon recovered and continued to hone my riding skills, and before long I was riding full size BMX bikes, including some with banana seats and mag wheels.  Yes, that’s how you rolled in Arkansas in the ‘80s.  The boys and I were quite the terror around the neighborhood, including wheelie contests (I was Boss back in the day), jumping homemade ramps, and riding dirt.

As I reached legal driving age, however, my interest in pedal power predictably shifted to an interest in horsepower.  Thus, cycling was put on hold for a few years until I was off to graduate school.

The summer before I left for The Ohio State University, I picked up a hardtail Trek mountain bike for commuting around campus, for which it worked well, especially after putting on some road slicks (see below).  My interest in road cycling probably can be traced back to my advisor in grad school.  He was relatively young in age, but definitely an old-school roadie at heart that rode many thousands of miles per year on a local built, custom steel frame sporting 5- or 6-speed Campy, down tube shifters, and sew‑ups.  His ride was so vintage (insert yo mama style joke here) that by the time I graduated, he could only source replacement drivetrain parts from specialty shops that specialize in hoarding NOS parts.

I can recall July days in the lab, where he would repeatedly step out to get an update on the TdF via the web, especially when the riders were approaching a climb on a decisive stage or Lance was about to take the start of a TT.  I initially did not really understand the fascination with Le Tour or his love of vintage bikes or tires that are glued to the rim and seem like a royal pain in the ass when you flat.  However, over time I learned more about the sport and started to get it…the craftsmanship that goes into a handmade frame, the tactics that go into a successful attack, the solo effort required for a time trial, and the ability of the peloton to reel in a breakaway with 1 km to go with surgical precision (most of the time).  If one could look past the dark underbelly of the sport, or accept that things in life are not perfect, one would see that the sport could be quite romantic.  Anyway, I was definitely intrigued.

I was introduced to serious road cycling during this period via “the breakfast ride”, an approximately 60 mile round trip ride from campus to a breakfast spot in rural, Amish country.  My advisor had invited me to join the group one Saturday, and I figured this would be easy, right?  I mean I have always been a decent athlete and I have been riding all my life.  So, what’s the big deal?  I showed up on my trusty Trek sporting the original knobby tires (the aftermath of this ride prompted the switch to road slicks) and thought I was the bomb.  I think I led the group out popping wheelies and sprinting light-to-light as we left campus.  Needless to say, I barely made it to the restaurant stop, let alone home…but, I made it and I had a new respect for road cycling.

After the aforementioned switch to road slicks on my Trek, I became more serious about commuting by bike and road riding in general.  I believe I did “the breakfast ride” a few more times during my time at OSU.  I also refused to buy a campus parking pass for my car my last two years, choosing instead to commute everyday using my Trek, including during the Ohio winters (HTFU).  Unfortunately, my commuting did have some scary moments, including getting hit by a car one night (thankfully a minor incident) and a nasty crash one morning resulting in a fractured shoulder scapula, apparently usually reserved for high speed car crashes or falls from a significant height.  I narrowly avoided surgery, but got to wear a sling for 8 or 10 weeks.  I don’t recommend working in a chemistry lab with one of your wings in a sling.  This was my first broken bone, and like my first “gnarly scar”, it was compliments of my bike.  So, in a way, I viewed it as paying my dues and getting some street cred, especially since it could have been much worse.

Fast forward to July 2003, and I am moving to Chicago for a new job.  I have a couple of weeks before I start working and, by now, I am into cycling (sans road bike) and have Tour fever big time.  So, I reward myself for the new job by buying my first road bike and before long, I am exploring all things Chicago by bike, including rides on the lakefront and north on Elston to the bike path leading to the Botanical Gardens.  I would ride the lakefront in the mornings during the week before work and ride to the Botanical Gardens on the weekends.  I think my longest, unsupported solo ride back in the day was an 88 mile ride from Wicker Park to North Chicago.  Not long after, I did the North Shore Century (my first century)…then the Harmon Hundred, the Wheeling Wheelmen, The Apple Cider, and many more century rides in the area.

Then something cool happened…I discovered group riding, more particularly, group riding on the North Shore out of Plaza del Lago.  What a scene this place was on weekend mornings!  The rush of riding in the pack and looking down at your computer showing 28 mph and it felt like you were barely working.  Needless to say, I was hooked as evidenced by my early wake up calls on the weekend to meet the group to ride.  I rode with this group for a couple of seasons and during this time also discovered some great rides out of state in TN, CO, CA, HI, and AR.

Copper Triangle in Colorado – another one of my favs

Copper Triangle in Colorado – another one of my favs

On the Queen K in Kona

On the Queen K in Kona

Fast forward to summer of 2007 and I am moving to Milwaukee.  My riding was once again relegated to solo rides as I was still commuting to Chicago 4 days a week for work and finding time to connect with a group in Milwaukee proved difficult.  My “city loop” was a 40 mile ride that included riding to the coffee shop on the lakefront.  Then one weekend day, while riding the “city loop”, something truly amazing happened.  I randomly met someone on the ride who would quickly become one of my closest friends, and it was him that would later tell me about this cool group of cyclists in Chicago called Spidermonkeys.

The abridged version is as follows.  It was a weekend morning on the “city loop” and I was riding to breakfast.  I first saw “Jim” up ahead on an open stretch of road where I would normally sprint.  I thought to myself what a nice carrot to have in front of me…I can catch that guy.  Sure enough, I did and as I went by he hailed me down, “Hey!  Do you know the way to the ferry?”  “Sure, what’s up?”, I replied.  Well, it turns out Jim struck out solo at 4:30 am from the north side of Chicago on his way to Milwaukee to then catch the ferry over to Michigan for vacation with his family that next week.  Jim wanted to get in a solo century before vacay.  Needless to say, I was impressed and seeing how Jim was ahead of schedule, I invited him to join me for breakfast.  The rest, as they say, is history.

After breakfast, I showed Jim to the ferry landing and he was on his way across Lake Michigan.  Over the course of the next year, we stayed in touch, did a few rides together, and became good friends forming a friendship over all things cycling, but more importantly, over shared life experiences.  Fast forward to spring of 2011 and I am moving back to Chicago during a dark period on the personal front.  Jim was my biggest supporter during this time and helped me when I needed it.  I will always believe that our “chance” meeting on the road that random weekend morning had nothing to do with chance.  You know those impactful moments in life when special things happen and people enter your life and its course is forever changed?  This was one of those moments for me and it was made possible because of riding my bicycle.

Jim knew I was looking for a cycling group in Chicago, and he told me about the “Spidermonkeys”.  He had met Dean and Vanessa (Denessa or Vean ?) several years ago at the MS ride and thought they were the bee’s knees.  He had also seen the group at the Easter Ride and had ridden as a guest on one or two weekend rides.  He told me they were a great group and that I should look into joining.  I emailed Vanessa and showed up one Saturday at Element and the rest, as they say, is history.

Since that first Saturday group ride, it has been many group rides, the MS ride, VQ, Gold Sprints, happy hours, dock parties, off-off broadway theatre, and the year end bash.  I am even a “runner” now and will be doing my first marathon later this year!  Who knows I might be racing before this season is over or doing triathlons.  Oh yeah, don’t forget VEGAS!  This year was my first year making the trip, and what a fantastic time!  The riding was awesome and it was great getting to better know the group.  I am already looking forward to the trip next year!!

Needless to say, I have been inspired and truly impressed with the quality of people that I have met during my short tenure with the Spidermonkeys.  The support, camaraderie, and inclusive nature of the group is awesome and has been on display since my first Saturday group ride!  As silly as it may sound, I feel very fortunate to have found this group of awesome people who share a genuine love for cycling (and running…and swimming…and generally having a good time).  I am really looking forward to 2013 and getting to know more of the Troop.  I am soo excited!!!

Cheers,

Derek

p.s. e-craps anyone?

Ride with Levi Leipheimer in Sonoma - [ahem…he wanted some tips on his TT position]

Ride with Levi Leipheimer in Sonoma – [ahem…he wanted some tips on his TT position]

Lunch with Levi…[convinced him he should go with the preying mantis position]

Lunch with Levi…[convinced him he should go with the preying mantis position]

 

Pulling DJ Ryan around all day…except for the finish…thanks – 2012 MS ride, day 2

Pulling DJ Ryan around all day…except for the finish…thanks – 2012 MS ride, day 2

 

Guest Spidermonkey of the Week – Jim Twomey aka JT

JT and the Spidermonkeys!

JT and the Spidermonkeys!

by Jim Twomey

Prior to the Spring Invasion of Spidermonkeys in Henderson, NV, I was asked to share some background with the group.  As some of you know, I own and help run JT’s Bicycle. May 1st, we will be here 7 years.

But to back up some…  I grew up in New Jersey and one my favorite things to do was to go riding with my friends. We would ride until we were lost and then try to find our way home. Still a technique I enjoy.  Flash forward, I graduated from college in NJ and was supposed to teach high school English. I found that I liked teaching the students, but I couldn’t relate to the teachers (they were mostly much older than myself).  So I proceeded to fall into many jobs, too many to list. OK I’ll list the major ones:  school bus driver, taxi dispatcher, real estate salesman, studio photographer, x-ray equipment repairman, Marketing Director for a multi-national, Owner of an x-ray equipment & service company in New England, Professor teaching Small Business courses at Gainesville City College in Florida (along the way I had gotten my MBA), Program Manager for a Bio Tech Company (making parts from cadavers), RV salesman, District Manager for a major commercial air conditioning manufacturer and finally opened the bike shop I had day dreamed about for about 30 years.  The list is in correct chronological order. The important part of my history that I haven’t touched upon is Kathi Twomey.  My wife and I have been married 35 years counting the two times we have been married to each other (4 year hiatus about 15 years ago).  We have one daughter, one son-in-law and two grandchildren, all living in Las Vegas and a big part of our life.

My biking experience began with a trick knee cap that dislocated during almost any kind of sporting activity and it even dislocated once while stepping out of the car. My sports surgeon recommended that I take up cycling to alleviate the pain in my knee. I went that day to my local bike shop and bought a bike. I was in my mid- thirties and overweight and out of shape.  Needless to say it was work at first, but like millions of others, I was hooked.  I started riding out of a bike shop called Fat Dog Pro Cycle in MA. The owner was pretty “picky”.  You had to clean your bike before you brought it in for a tune-up. As a former racer, he taught me a lot about riding. I started riding with a group in MA called MAC, short for Mad About Cycling. Before I moved from MA to Florida, I spent two years as the president of MAC.  In Gainesville I rode with a very large and active club. Most weekend rides had 100+ riders. Outside Gainesville it was all tree farms and horse farms (no traffic). There was also some great single track along the Swanee River.

When my wife and I moved to Henderson from Florida, we took six months to travel around the  U.S and western Canada. We had a full size van with two road bikes and two mtb’s in back. We pulled a travel trailer behind the van and every town we stopped at we would visit the local bike shop.  Our standard question was “what’s good riding, mountain bike or road”.  I can say without any qualifications that this was the best 6 months of my life.  My wife would agree.

One of my favorite things to do is going on bike vacations.  I have done about a dozen of these all over the U.S. and Canada. My last one was Ragbrai, the oldest and biggest of them all. Two years ago I rode with a group from Henderson called Team Durkin.  We rode across Iowa along with 20,000 other cyclists.  One of my favorites (not too far from Chicago) was the Tour of Indiana.

RAGBRAI!

RAGBRAI!

The short history of the Spidermonkey training camps in Las Vegas begins with Dean and his dad coming to JT’s Bicycle about 4 years ago. Dean and I discussed the possibility of several Spidermonkeys coming to Henderson to do some spring training. I had recently begun renting bikes so it looked like a good fit. Dean asked me if there was anyone that could lead some local rides since the group would be unfamiliar with the area. I volunteered to act as guide, although it might be guiding from the back of the pack. I believe the first year there were 7 people (not exactly sure).  Fortunately, we had very good weather and the rides turned out well. Last year we had 16 rentals and 1 or 2 people brought their own bike. One day was windy and cold and all the locals were crying about the weather, but it was no big deal for the Spidermonkeys. Our last day, we rode the Red Rock Loop and the weather cooperated for a nice send-off ride. This year we have 18 rentals so far from the Spidermonkeys and I’m not sure if anyone is bringing their bike. I will be adding a few Bianchi bikes to my rental fleet and probably 4 or 5 of the Spidermonkeys will be riding brand new 2013 Bianchi bikes when they are out here.  I will post the Spidermonkey Rides on the Green Valley Cyclists club calendar and we will probably have a group of riders from the club join in. I know the locals that rode last year and the year before enjoyed the rides.  Personally, I have ridden with many different groups, but I think the Spidermonkeys are some of  the nicest of all time.

The City of Henderson is working towards the designation of “Bike Friendly Community” from the League of American Wheelmen. The City Manager bought a bike from me and he commutes to work every day.  The city has built both great paved paths and dirt trails. On March 9th there is a grand opening of a dirt trail called the McCullough Hills Trail. It starts just up the hill from our shop (about 4 blocks) and it is about 7 ½ miles in one direction. It was built by the City of Henderson and has a rest stop about halfway out. It is not technical but some good climbing. They will be building single track off the main trail in the future. We think that this area will become a very popular mtb area in the next few years.

Eric on Armagosa Trail

Eric on Armagosa Trail

I guess that’s about all I can think of to share. I’ve got my Spidermonkey jerseys ready to go and I’m hoping that you guys and gals haven’t had much chance to ride over  the winter.  I can always sweep.

 

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