by Amy Ancheta and Jonny Kloppenburg
Hey Spidermonkeys! It’s Jonny and Amy and we’d love to share a little bit about us, us cycling, and a few other things in between (really, we do other stuff besides ride bikes!). Let’s start at the beginning. Join us as we step into our time machine and travel back 20-some odd years. C’mon, it’ll be fun! [cue: harp music]
It’s Memorial Day, 1984 and little Jonny’s parents had (only recently) managed to divert his attention from operating light-duty yard maintenance equipment, long enough to learn to ride a bicycle. It was a modest beginning, highlighted by non-inflatable, solid plastic, squared-off ‘tires,’ He-Man decals and NO training wheels for this guy! Little Jonny really enjoyed cycling and to his parents relief, he gave up (briefly?) climbing to / jumping from eaves, ‘lighting off’ bottle rockets and leaving home for unsupervised midnight meanderings.
Moving on a couple of years, it’s 1986 and young Amy is riding around the driveway on the handlebars of her sister’s bicycle. This isn’t just any bicycle guys, it has a pink banana seat and really tall handlebars deep enough sit in while her sister pedals. They sing the “name game” song with the names of everyone in their family but always end on their dad’s name because it’s AWESOME and cracks them up! “Caesar Caesar bo beasar banana fana fo feaser me my mo measer CAESAR!”
Little did little Jonny and young Amy know, their two-wheeled paths would cross and intertwine, many years down the road…
Flash forward to 2007 when Jonny’s cousin throws a party and invites him and all her best friends. They talk and Amy impresses Jonny with her knowledge of bicycles. She asks if he has a Chrome Bag and whether he “winterizes” his bicycle for his commute to work when it snows (Jonny doesn’t have any idea what Amy’s talking about!). Nevertheless, Jonny is intrigued and finds himself interested in Amy…
They end up spending lots of time together; this includes riding bikes and many other things. If you ask Jonny, he’ll tell you he likes anything with wheels that goes around a track. This can be translated into lots of things: Little 500, NASCAR, IndyCar, mountain biking, monster trucks, etc. If you ask Amy, she’ll say she’s pretty much cool with whatever. She likes cooking (especially baking pies), yoga, drinking Old Fashioneds and entertaining.
Often times, their activities include any combination of these things but they usually include bringing bikes. Don’t even ask how many times Amy’s car has broken down and been towed with bikes on the Yakima rack! One particular trip they enjoyed was to the Michigan International Speedway for the Sprint Cup (NASCAR). While most spectators stay in their campers overnight and spend the day decorating Christmas Trees with ornaments expertly hewn from aluminum Miller Lite cans, Jonny and Amy rose early from their light-weight, 2-person tent and set out on a road ride into the beautiful Irish Hills.
Another great trip was the 10th Mountain Division Hut Trip snowshoeing with friends. During WWII, the 10th Mountain Division constructed a network of backcountry huts while training for alpine combat. These days, you can reserve, and hike to these remote and beautiful locations. Most of the group brought backcountry survival gear, such as: avalanche beacons, food and clothing. Not the case for Jonny and Amy; they hauled inflatable snow-tubes to the top of the mountain so they could sled 8 miles back to the car.
On to the important stuff! How did they get here?
After a few years of long rides with Jonny, Amy had become comfortable with riding on someone’s wheel and learned the basics of cycling etiquette. Most weekends, they would take their standard route up to the northern suburbs, through Ft. Sheridan, to St. Marys, to Buckley Rd, and past Abbott labs. A couple of times on their way up north, they rode near a big group in orange team kits that took a similar route to Highland Park. One day in early spring, they were out for a ride and stopped at a coffee shop in Highland Park (Perfect Blend) to have a coffee. There were two cyclists at the table next to them talking about work and coincidentally turned out to work in the same industry as Jonny. They got to talking and the girl (Vanessa) was really friendly and invited Amy to the Tuesday girls ride. Amy had never ridden with a group and certainly never with a group of all girls. That next week, she mustered up the courage to go to the girl’s ride. When she got to the meeting point, everyone was really nice and welcoming and one girl (Katie Isermann) talked to her the ENTIRE way up to Evanston. When they got to Sheridan just before the temple, Vanessa asked if Amy if she had ever ridden in a pace line. Of course she hadn’t but Vanessa talked her through the basics and they were off! Amy was so impressed by how strong and FAST these girls were! That day Amy called Jonny and was so happy about having joined the ride, and SO impressed with this awesome group of girls. Amy even told him how she took a turn in the “pull line” [which, BTW is known to everyone else as a pace line – I will never live that down…].
After meeting the Spidermonkeys, our lives have totally changed! We have enjoyed countless group rides with great ride leaders who always wait / pull you up if you get dropped (thanks Dean!), give you a push if you look tired (thanks Josh!), inspire you to be faster than you thought a girl could ever be (ALL the ladies!!). It has been great to get to know the long time members and the new ones too. Tuesday nights wouldn’t be the same without running stairs with Drew, Steph, and Tim. Thanks to everyone who has been so welcoming (Castro, Captain Jack, Paul D., Trent, the Meyers, Kristi and Crushman, Scott n’ Rox, DJ Ryan, Wrigley, Fenway, and too many others to name). Most recently, this past year got even better when a Belgian cycling team lent us their teammate. Mountain and fat biking wouldn’t be the same without the one-and-only, Belgian Horseman, Jan!
By the numbers: 3 years of team rides, 1 year of club dues (Jonny), countless girls rides, muffins, espressos, 1 ugly jersey win, a dip in Lake Michigan after 3 Floyds, 1 season of ridiculously irritating spoke-beads-on-carbon, and 90+ friends later…we’re delighted to finally make it official. Thanks Spidermonkeys for being such a great team, we are looking forward to 2013!