Hi. My name is Andy Daley. Thanks to a long, boring criterium, my domination of 127th position in said long, boring criterium, a slightly rhyming name, and a crew of Goose Island beverage imbibed SpiderMonkeys, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of me.
The powers that be were kind enough to let me fill the Spidermonkey blogosphere with a little about me. My story starts a few years back when while on a group ride, Dean was lamenting how he was constantly made fun of at races for getting drunk and yelling out Air Supply lyrics. At the same time, I was complaining about always being mistaken for ChiCrossCup Titan Jason Knauff. It was then we worked out a solution. He’d substitute Air Supply lyrics for chanting my name, and I’d bury Mr. Knauff in obscurity. (One out of two ain’t bad).
|Dean, drunk serenading Matt Smith, again:
“Girl you’re every woman in the world to me.
You’re my fantasy, you’re my reality”
If I’ve done my math right, this is my 9th year of racing bicycles. I didn’t race in college or anything like that, so when I started up in 2004 as a Cat 5 newbie, I was straight up terrible. Got dropped on the first lap of Monsters of the Midway. Dropped on the first lap of the State Road race. Dropped at Downers Grove. Dropped Dropped Dropped.
Eventually, though, I reduced my effective entry entry fee down from $25 per lap and got good enough to move past the 4’s into the 3’s and then squeak by into the Category 2’s. As a Cat 2, typically my race ‘strategy’ was move up as many spots as I could when I heard the chase motorcycle tail gunning the back of the pack. Still, good, good times. I’ll never forget working myself into a deep, deep hole just to finish once the opener of Superweek, the Beverly Cycling Classic.
I’ve since downgraded to a Cat 3. I told the USAC officials I needed to downgrade due to having a newborn to take care of, but in reality it was all part of my evil genius plan to race in the same category as a certain venison jerky maker.
|Shake and Bake race strategy in action at Evanston last year:
“Brandon, I’m bonking. More deer jerky, please!”
Tasty venison snacks aside, I’m looking very forward to racing with the Cat 3 Spidermonkeys and helping out the Cat 4’s and Cat 5’s avoid some of the many mistakes I made when I was just starting out. You’ll be hearing more soon about us Burnham veterans offering to tell war stories and give some race advice. Just nod and pretend to be interested during the war story retelling and I promise you’ll eek out at least a few racing nuggets of info. Hopefully.
Sad news from the western front as the Mayor’s Office of Special Events failed to include the Chicago Criterium on its 2010 calender. However, this leaves the oppurtunity for a title sponsor to step up… Might I suggest a Chicago based one:
So it was great to be racing this Sunday with a huge cheering section and a friend out on the course with me. Katie and I planned on sticking together this race but I kept finding myself in the very back of the pack. The first few laps I don’t remember much. I kept trying to find Katie and stay near her so I had someone I knew around. However, I am really still getting a feel for racing and this was the biggest field I had been in. So mostly i was just trying to stay upright and get comfortable. But the speed wasn’t anything that I couldn’t handle. Any time I started to feel tired I would just get so excited by everyone cheering me on that I wouldn’t slow down. John Lyon was even there on the back side of the course to cheer me on that side! Having all that support is so great.
After the first 10 minutes or so I was comfortable and moved toward the front of the pack as much as possible. I was feeling really good. My thoughts went from “don’t get dropped and don’t crash” to “Hey, Let’s see how good I can do!”. But then right on turn four on the second to last lap there was a crash right in front of me that I narrowly avoided. I have no idea how it happened but I remember thinking “well I think I’m going down but I hope I don’t.” I swerved over to the left of the downed riders just in time and sped to get back with the main field.
At that point I couldn’t find Katie and was worried that she had been involved in the crash but was pretty sure she hadn’t. It was the last lap and I felt pretty good, so i started moving to the front because I remember someone saying that you if you could make it into the front for the last “hill” you had a good chance of making the top 5. I felt great and was right up near the front until turn 3 when a woman came a little to close to me in turn three and I braked just enough to lose momentum going up the last “hill”. I lost contact with the group at that point and was totally bummed. HOWEVER, it was a really fun race and great to have someone I knew in the group. But the most awesomest part was hearing my name and GO LIL V more than anything else!
Todd Kaiser, Andrew Zens, JPCastro, Tristan Whitehead, Samuel Winn, Josh and I (Bryan Witry) clipped in at 8:10 for the Cat 5 race and weren’t heading out for a Sunday stroll on a beautiful Chicago morning. The team looked remarkably focused as we sat in the sweet new 312 tent and pinned our numbers on our jerseys. The plan was to control the race and set up a train for the final sprint, I was the Monkey to reap the benefits of an all out Shake and Bake.
Todd set the tone at the top with monstrous pulls and traded duties with a few riders; he would remain near the front the entire race. I was shepherded around the top 8 of the pack the entire race by Andy. Truly selfless performances by the both. The race was crash free, everybody loves a safe race. But everybody also loves the entire team in the front of the race! I saw every Monkey in the front 10 in the first few laps. Actions like those really set the tone of the group. Sam, Castro, Tristan, and Josh all had smiles on their faces when they were zipping around Michigan Ave listening to the back-side announcer constantly mention Spidermonkeys (I couldn’t see Andy and Todd because they were in front of me the whole race, probably smiling though).
No primes…. total crap…. at least throw us a friggin’ water bottle, right?!
As we slammed down the front stretch with one lap to go, everything seemed to fall into place. Castro came scorching by and everybody followed suit. It was as if Merril was starting the fast section of the Wednesday night ride and everybody fell into a perfect line. JPC pulled hard and immediately 5 Monkeys were in the top of a strung out field. He peeled off and said something like (I’m spent/tired/dying?) and I laughed to myself because I couldn’t get over how awesome it was that someone had just sacrificed himself for the team. Todd slammed the corner and Andy took over around the chicane leading Todd and myself with 2 corners to go. A few guys jumped hard around the second to last corner and I jumped their wheel up the last lil kicker. The mini-group hit the downhill hard and we all maintained position the last 200 meters finishing all within connecting bike lengths. I finished fifth, without my team I would have finished last. The Spidermonkeys displayed some serious tactics, a testimony to the hard work thats been put in on the route to HP.
Anybody who doesn’t enjoy a good cheering section can kiss my ass; Spidermonkeys have the best cheering section ever! We all heard cheers every lap, and saw so many people after the race. Everybody who came this weekend, THANK YOU! I was unable to hear Dean on stage during the race, but I imagine he made the sponsors proud. I was proud to be a Spidermonkey today. Not just because the entire field united themselves and sacrificed themselves for one teammate, but because everybody carried themselves with class. On that note, everybody who raced is entitled to a few classy highlifes this Wed night ride from Bryan!!!
Shake and Bake
-teamwork kicks ass
Posted by Andrew Zens for Bryan Witry