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: 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.
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.
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?).
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!
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.