Category: MS Ride

Spidermonkey Spotlight – Corey Schumacher and David Fox

Is it really our time to be featured on Spidermonkey Spotlight?  We thought we would have a couple more years to come up with some cool stories but we’ll see what we can do.

Corey David MS Ride

Corey David MS Ride

Corey:  I didn’t grow up participating in any sports, unless you count the family bowling league.  My first bike as a child was a Powder Puff Racer. I rode it to my best friend’s house, passed a group of teenagers who mocked it and probably never rode it again. When I was in my early 20s and still living in Indiana, I bought a beach cruiser, which I also rarely used. I lugged it to Chicago with me in 2005, locked it up in the basement of the apartment building and let the tires go flat. Then, I met David.  After changing the tires for me, he told me to ditch the cruiser and get a “real” bike.  It took me a few more years before I did buy a real bike but even then it was a hybrid – which I still own and ride.  The first time I rode a road bike was in 2011 when David and I were on vacation in California wine country, where we rented bikes to ride around to wineries.

Corey Coppola Winery pre-crash

Corey Coppola Winery pre-crash

I know what you’re thinking: Don’t rent the road bike when you’ve never ridden a road bike, to ride around to wineries all day! I almost made it all the way back to the bike rental shop after a day of drinking, but crashed a couple miles away. I’m not sure what happened. One second I’m enjoying life and then next someone is asking me if I know who the president is.  That’s how I hurt my left shoulder.  Eventually I recovered mentally and bought a road bike of my own.  If David was feeling generous, he’d go on a ride with me on the lakefront path.  He’d pull the entire way and I’d curse him from behind. How is he going so fast? Is he even sweating? It wasn’t fun for either of us.

Sometime during all of this silent cursing at David I met Roxanne at the Y. This is where the story gets familiar. Does everyone meet Roxanne at the Y? Is Roxanne like Kevin Bacon, where you can always find a connection within 6 degrees?  One day we were talking about bikes and she encouraged both of us to try a group ride. My first group ride was a Girl’s Tuesday morning ride, because who doesn’t like to wake up at 4:45 AM? That first ride was lovely! I practiced a pace line! I drafted! I got dropped after the sprint on the way back! No one made fun of me for wearing gym shoes!  I came home and told David how much fun it was. We eventually both tried a Saturday morning ride where the ride leader had to sweep me off the back and Dean did make fun of my gym shoes.  After a couple of years of riding sporadically, Roxanne asked if we wanted to join.  I asked her if she was allowed to invite people into the group. She laughed at me.

Last year I increased the amount of riding I did.  We signed up for the MS ride and completed the 100 miles on the 1st day (and slept in the 2nd day). I participated in my first “old school” ride and bonked.  I started riding to work more often. On June 30th I was doored while riding home on Lincoln. That’s how I hurt my right shoulder.

Corey Nacogdoches TX

Corey Nacogdoches TX

If I’m being honest, I’m sure I wouldn’t have done any of this if I hadn’t joined Spidermoney Cycling. No matter how often I struggle, there is always someone to encourage me.  You give me tips, let me draft off your wheels and even after I bonk, you tell me that I did a good job.  You will likely never see me enter a race but I will be there cheering you on, as you cheer me on during any random Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday … but never a Wednesday night, because I would die.

David: Bikes have always been a big part of my life. My dad is an avid cyclist, but I was the one who taught myself how to ride when I was 6 or 7, rolling myself into the grass and tipping over until I didn’t. Soon enough I was hopping curbs in the cul-de-sac. My family and I lived on the top of a hill in the outer suburbs of Los Angeles at that time (and this was an actual hill, none of this Midwest stuff). My dad showed me how to cut my own switchbacks, veering from one side of the road to the other, so I could make my way up. It turns out that going down is actually the more difficult part, and I have the scars to prove that, but boy did I have fun bombing down that hill.

A couple of years later we moved to Northern California and I traded hills for the BMX track and dirt jumps (BMX is kinda like Cyclocross except you can catch some sweet air). I rode a chrome GT Mach One that fit me like a glove and I don’t think I could ever love another inanimate object like that again. I learned how to bunny hop, pop a wheelie, roll the doubles, jump the doubles, and fall. I fell a lot.

I’m glad I got most of the falling out of the way early. I moved to Chicago in 2001, and it wasn’t too long until I had picked up a battered, early 90’s Fuji from Working Bikes, stripped it down to a single-speed and started tearing up the streets urban style (Urban cycling is kinda like Cyclocross except you can catch some sweet… err… doors? Insults?).

David Nacogdoches Texas

David Nacogdoches Texas

I’d never ridden in a pace line until 2013. That’s where the Spidermonkeys come in. Corey and I had been working out at the YMCA for a few years and I’d frequently see this guy come in and work out in a sleeveless t-shirt, proudly flaunting what I thought was an epic farmer’s tan. That’s before I knew what “pro” was. I had no idea I was supposed to be jealous. Anyway, this guy and another taller, more freckled guy were often working out and chatting, and I “overheard” them talking about bikes (is it ever “overhearing” when it comes to Scott?). I finally struck up a conversation with Dean and he invited me out to a Saturday ride. Around the same time, Corey was training with Roxanne and tried out a Tuesday ride. We finally tried out a Saturday ride and I was immediately hooked.

I participated in rides sporadically until 2015 when I resolved to ride more. I had grown bored with triathlons after realizing I hated (and sucked at) swimming and was a mediocre runner at best. But biking, as ever, was a blast. Corey and I did a bunch of rides, including a few Sunday rides, and at some point that summer, we were offered the chance to become Monkeys officially. Of course we accepted, because you guys rock.

Last year I learned the joys of road cycling by getting my ass handed to me at a few Wednesday rides and completing my first century ride (Road cycling is kinda like Cyclocross except… alright, I give up). I also did my first Cyclocross race!

David cyclecross

David cyclecross

I can’t wait to kick off the 2017 season with ya’ll. Corey and I are so lucky to have found such a welcoming and diverse group to hang with, and I look forward to acting like an adult-sized kid with you guys whenever I can.

 

Spidermonkey Spotlight – Zach and Gina (Ugo) Neff

You’re getting a two-for-one with this Spidermonkey profile, but I’ll (Zach) be doing the “talking” here.  Gina is far too modest to brag about herself adequately. She also attended Indiana University for four years, so she’s not that strong with the written word. I’m a Purdue graduate (hence the obligatory IU ribbing) with an engineering degree.

IMG_4718Gina graduated from Indiana University, but that was only the beginning for her. She also has a Master’s degree and a Physician’s Assistant degree from Chicago-area colleges. Gina works at Rush as a Physician Assistant and I’m a 19-year employee of Sonoco Products Company as an International Engineering Manager. We have two dogs, no kids, and we live in Bucktown. The boring stuff is over.

This is a couples profile, so I’ll start off with the non-cycling action first. Gina and I met here in Chicago back in 1999. Her roommate was dating my roommate. Gina and I got along well enough when we were all together, so they thought they would try and hook us up on a blind date that was rife with lies and deception. Gina’s friend told her that I wanted to go out with her. My friend told me that Gina wanted to go out with me (a wildly optimistic idea to this day). Gina and I figured this all out in the middle of our first date during the intermission at Phantom of the Opera. Either way, it was funny and it worked.

We dated for about a year before I was transferred through my job to Southern Indiana. The long distance relationship begins here. We really weren’t that serious at the time, but she cried when I left….so that’s something, right? I was down there on my own and the roads are absolutely amazing for cycling.

Zach as a child (tri)cyclist

Zach as a child (tri)cyclist

I had been on bikes a lot growing up in the mountains of Asheville, N.C. Where I lived as a kid, you can’t get anywhere without a car or a bike and I was far too young to drive. If you want to go and hang out with friends after school, then you ride up or down very steep hills to get there. I had a 45 pound, Columbia mountain bike and my parents were into road biking (old school, 1978 Univega’s, since you asked). I bought a decent mountain bike when I moved to Indiana in 2001 and quickly realized how inefficient they were for the roads when I was passed routinely by a pack of road cyclists. They waited up for me one day and encouraged me to get a road bike. They told me it would change my life. That was a true statement.

My trusty steed

My trusty steed

I bought a really nice road bike and started out on my own. I had a lot to learn. It wasn’t long before I ran into that same group of riders. When I say, “ran into”, I mean they were passing me. They waited up again and they let me tag along for 20 miles. Over the next few months The Southern Indiana Wheelmen taught me the hand signs, the etiquette, the safety, and the beautiful addiction of road cycling. They treated me like a brother immediately and I’ll never forget it. I gradually started improving and learning how to pace myself on the steep ascents of the area. Then, when they thought I was ready (I wasn’t) they invited me to the Wednesday night drop ride. I asked, “What does that mean….drop ride?” My new friend said, “Well buddy, you need to know the way home because these boys are on a hammer fest and they won’t be waiting for anyone who gets dropped.” I did that ride with them every Wednesday for an entire season. There are zero stoplights, which means there is zero chance you will get back when you leave that last wheel. Fact: It wasn’t until the last month of that first year that I was able to hang on and complete the entire ride with the team.

Zach (again) as a child cyclist

Zach (again) as a child cyclist

Here is where Gina comes into the mix. We got married after a long-distance engagement when she was in school in Chicago and I was working in the hills of Southern Indiana. She moved in with me and she was quickly interested in my addition to riding bikes. We bought her a decent Fuji road bike and I started teaching her the ropes. What I didn’t tell you about Gina is that she’s extremely athletic, extremely driven, and extremely competitive.

Focused on her next pitch

Focused on her next pitch

I forgot to mention that she was an All-American, 4-year, full ride pitcher at I.U. (see beast mode picture). She was amazingly good and she has a Big Ten ring to prove it. You don’t know that because she is too humble to talk about it. Anyway, she HATED it when I rode past her up a hill. She HATED it when she got dropped. None of that lasted long. She got strong super quickly and it didn’t take her long to get comfortable with the new road bike. We rode every chance we could down there and we loved it. To us, it’s a blessing that we have something like cycling that we enjoy doing together. Special thanks to The Southern Indiana Wheelmen. It’s a great group of people down there and they put some serious miles in.

So, after a 2-year transfer in the U.K., Gina and I relocated back to Chicago in late 2008. We were looking for people to ride with when we bumped into Charlie Jollis one morning. Gina and I were taking donations and handing out candy for Misericordia on Fullerton and Damen. Charlie was at the stoplight headed south after the Saturday morning ride all kitted out in orange. We asked him where he came from and who he was riding with and the rest is history. Gina and I showed up the next week we quickly realized we had met the right group of people for us. We rode with the Spidermonkeys just about every week for the entire season from that point forward. We were asked to join the team late that year and we are so happy to be a part of it.

Teaching people road cycling is a gift, and it’s free. Those guys in Southern Indiana didn’t have to slow down and talk to me. They didn’t have to teach me the ropes when I got my road bike. Spidermonkeys did the same for us in Chicago. Gina and I truly appreciate the openness and friendliness of this group of people. Thanks for having us on your team.

North Shore Century 2014

North Shore Century 2014

MS Ride

MS Ride

 

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

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