Tag: cheer

Jackson Park

by Peter Monko

After nine long months of riding trainers and road bikes, the opening day of the Chicago Cross Cup (CCC) was finally here.  On a beautiful warm sunny Saturday in September 12 Spidermonkeys lined up ready to kick butt and take handups.  It was a full day of non-stop action starting with Geoff Scott racing in the 40+ at 8:45am to Kelly, and Mike Meyers muscling their way through the 4B race late in the afternoon.  All the other usual suspects were to race; Kim Brokohf, Kristi Hanson, Ken Mitchell, Stewart Chapman, Mark Z, Hayes, PJ, Aaron Brynes, Trent, Kyle and Katie Kolon.  Tons of other Spidermonkeys made the trip down to the southside throughout the day to take photos, heckle, give out s’mores handups and drink beer of course.

I raced the Masters 30+ in the AM with Hayes and PJ lined up nearby in about 4th or 5th row back.  The race was fast and lasted about 7 laps.  I dropped my chain twice and had a couple of minor mishaps and ended up in 25th.   I came into the race with minimal expectations and was very happy to score some points and get a better starting position the next time I race.  Now I had 4 hours until my target race, the Cat 4A race.

The time flew by talking to friends, watching racers crash, and of course heckling.  When it came to line up for the 4As race, I had a pretty good spot on the left hand side in the second row.  This placed me out of the way of the huge divots, potholes and manhole that cause mass chaos in the earlier races.  I got a pretty good start and ended up taking the first turn in about 5th or 6th wheel.  Right off the bat, Brian Witry from Rhythm Racing took off holding a 5 second gap on the rest of us chasers.  During the technical twisty section I would pass one or two riders and soon there were just 3 of us at the front. Having raced in the morning and taken a few practice laps since then I knew what lines to take and where I could rest and save some energy.    Witry was slowly getting away, but I just hung on to the wheel in front of me until I could pass him near the barrier section.  Finally it was just Witry and I with about a lap and a half to go.  The back half of the course was Spidermonkey Alley chock full of screaming teammates that got me pumped up every time I went through.  I finally passed Witry just before the uphill barrier and now just had to hang on without puking for less than a lap.  I rode hard, but tried to keep it in control in order to avoid a crash or dropped chain.  With the finish line ahead, I finally could breath a sigh of relief and celebrate my first bike race win ever! 

Pete handing up pickles and High Life during the 4B race in his leaders jersey!

Thanks to all the Spidermonkeys who showed up and cheered for all of us to go faster, it made a huge difference.

Palos Meltdown

Catch that guy, Adam!

8/5/12 Palos Meltdown Race Report
by Adam Kaplan
Wow. What a perfect day to ride mountain bikes.  The rain the night before made the trails nice and tacky, and reduced the dust a lot. It was sunny and low 80 deg. temps with a light breeze.
Geoff Scott and I drove out to Palos with my wife and two daughters. The family made for great cheerleaders for the both of us. There were plenty of booths to check out and vendors for smoothies and hot dogs that made for a good lunch.
Registering was painless and Geoff and I got our numbers very quickly. No numbers for the jersey, as they used a RFID chip on the bike number plate for timing. Nice.

Geoff at the start of the race
Geoff and Kristy raced the Sport class and did 2 laps. Kristy had a real look of determination on her face as I cheered her on in the first lap. Geoff just grinned and said “This is fun!” as he passed by. All the races started with a mild uphill and a lap around the grassy field, but that didn’t really help spread out the field. Geoff said he had to hike a bike around downed riders a few times before things opened up. He did his two laps and finished in the top third overall. He mentioned feeling like a real mountain biker now that he was becoming more confident holding his line and flowing through the technical spots. Great job Geoff!

Go, Kristi!

I raced the Cat. 2 Comp class that raced 3 laps. I lined up right in the middle of the pack of 109 riders. After the Elite men and women went, we all started together. It was a bit of a struggle to find my own pace with so many other racers around and found I had to go slower than I wanted to in some sections due to simple congestion. After the first long lap, things opened up a bit and I found a good rhythm. Coming into the second lap, my oldest daughter gave me a bottle hand up that I promptly dropped, but Geoff was there to the rescue and got me the needed bottle on my next pass. The girls were a great cheering section!
At this point, I was trading off places with guys who were weaker on the single track, and stronger on the fire roads. I could tell these guys had some legs from road racing.

Second lap of the race, I found myself going faster through the single track and picking up quite a few places. It was important to ride strong on the multi-track in order to keep your place.  As I came by a second time, Geoff tricked me into thinking I had yet another lap to go and this coming lap wasn’t the final one! I was getting fatigued and fell for it.  I saw Kelly as I was fueling up on a gel and was encouraged by her cheering. I did let a few riders get past me as I tried to conserve a bit of energy for my “last” lap. As I got the line I started to go towards the lap route and Geoff yelled “you’re done!” and I toddled over the finish dazed and confused.
I finished 23rd out of 109 overall, and 13thout of 55 for my 30-39 age group. No mechanicals and great trail riding and conditions. Loved it!

Cobb Park Race Report

by Drew Kushnick

Brandon convinced me to do the Easter ride and race Cobb Park.  The Easter ride was a blast, but by the time we toed the line for the race we had 70 miles in our legs.  The race was 45 minutes and from the gun a Burnham rider went off the front.  Brandon and I made a couple of attempts to bridge to the front until Brandon was able to get in the break.  This may have been 10 minutes in and I thought my legs feel good, but I am sure they will give out at some point.  The break started to swell and I followed a wheel all the way up.  Brandon was surprised to see me up there, but was happy to have another person rotate through because the break had about 8 or 10 guys, but only about 3 or 4, including us, were working.

Drew and Brandon discussing the race
Due to the lack of cohesion, we were caught by the field.  Three guys were off the front again so I made a couple digs to try and get to the front.  Finally, I was about 3 or 4 seconds behind the lead group of 3 when another guy came up to me and finished off the gap.  The five of us worked well together and were joined by 3 more.  Our lead continued to grow to 25 seconds, and at about 30 minutes in, I told myself that my legs could survive for another 15 minutes.  I had never been in a successful breakaway, and really wanted to make it to the end in front of the pack.

One of the best parts about racing is having people cheer you on.  It was a blast having Stephanie, Kristi, Kelly, Ken, and Geoff cheering us on.  It gives you that little extra energy when you come around and see them.  Plus, when I feel good, I have fun making hand gestures and faces at them!  You can ask them about that.  Another good thing about racing is enjoying those days, when your legs will do whatever you want them to.  Cobb Park was pretty close to that.  My breakaway stayed away and I managed to take 6th in the sprint for the line.  Brandon was able to sneak off the front with a Burnham rider as well and take 11th.

Brandon off the front with Burnham’s Jason Knauff
We finished the day with 92 miles in the books and a lot more confidence in our fitness.  I am glad he convinced me to do both rides.  The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent eating and groaning whenever I moved until I went to bed at 9:30.

Official Spidermonkey Participant List:
Kelly Clarke
Brandon Diffenderfer
Tim Driver
Kristi Hanson
Drew Kushnick
Stephanie Kushnick
Ken Mitchell
Geoff Scott 

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