Jason Galles here. I was born in Plano, IL, a small town about 60 miles west of Chicago. It’s a place known for tackle boxes, agriculture, and most recently the set for the newest Superman revamp, coming this summer to a theater near you!
But long before it became Smallville, Plano was the perfect setting for a 5-year-old boy, tearing up the pavement on a Dukes of Hazzard Big Wheel, winning blue ribbons at Hometown Days celebrations.
If you’re looking for a build up, I have to disappoint you. I guess you could say I peaked early. Yes, it’s all downhill from here (just how I like it).
I always had a high level of energy growing up, and my parents were always looking for a good outlet for me so they didn’t have to deal with my rambunctiousness firsthand.
Their solution? Bikes. It seemed every holiday I was gifted a new bike, because its predecessor had either been left in disrepair at the bottom of some woodland trail hill, or destroyed in a neighborhood “ghost-riding” competition for ice cream money. What can I say? I was a sucker for a Screwball. I suppose you are what you…I digress.
Truth be known I wish there was some well-flowing narrative as to how I ended up loving all that is cycling. But the fact is, this all started with my feet on the ground. Before I found cycling I was an avid runner, competing in track and field events all throughout junior high and high school. I guess my only ‘claim to fame’, if you could call it that, would be reviving our High School Cross Country team after it had disappeared some 20 years prior. And by team, I mean myself, as my friend had come up ineligible due to poor grades and I was left to run alone. I still remember training for the regional as I ran around the schoolyard being called everything under the sun by the varsity football team but my first name. Good times.
This seasoned me into growing quite fond of self punishment, so I decided to take my running to the next level after school by way of half and full marathons. I had run Chicago a couple times and several other halfs and miles of other runs. However, at a point my knees were just not the same. A friend of mine started talking to me about the benefits and low impact of cycling, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I bought my rookie-ride, a Trek 2.1, and upon the first ride I was HOOKED!
It only took a couple rides before I had put the front wheel into a man-eating pothole and found myself considerably bleeding curbside on a city street, now with experience, I should have never been riding on to begin with.
Realizing that where was so much to learn about cycling (especially keeping the greasy side down), I knew I had to find a group of folks that could show me the ropes. So I did my research on Chicagobikeracing.com and came across Spidermonkey Cycling group rides about four years ago. I mean, how much research does one have to do past seeing a team with that name? Am I right?
From the first ride, Dean and Vanessa have never been less than welcoming and I’ve had nothing but great experience with any member of the team I’ve ever met. I dig the positive energy and culture that this team is built on. My cycling interests have taken me on experiences by way of century rides, velodrome racing, and the occasional crit (hopefully more in 2013). I look forward to the years ahead on two wheels!
I’m a landscape designer working for a design build firm on the north shore. I’m sure I’m still a stranger to many of you, as my career takes up much of my time when cycling season is in effect. However, I’m hoping to change this as we ramp up into this slightly delayed spring weather. I look forward to meeting many of you on rides and at events this year. If you’re lucky, I may just even race you for a Screwball! ;)