Tag: criterium

Spidermonkey Spotlight – Anna Affias

How I Became a Spidermonkey

Me and Jess after the LP crit

Me and Jess after the LP crit

Where do I even begin? How do I break down the last two years of my cycling life into in a single blog entry? How can I share all my ups, downs and in-betweens in a few short words, sentences or even paragraphs? The only answer I keep coming back to is, I can’t. Ironically, those two words no longer exist in my vocabulary because of what I’ve learned on the bike over the past 2 years. To keep this brief and easy to follow, I’m going to break down the last two years of my cycling life into three categories… before, during and after I joined SMC and found, “my people.”

Before

Forgive me for my bluntness, but 2015 sucked. It sucked for a lot of reasons, but two reasons stand out the most. First, I went through a horrible breakup that nearly broke me to my core, and second, I unexpectedly discovered a family member was very sick. Both unfortunate events happened roughly around the same time and completely turned my world upside down. People kept telling me, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and “you have to go through a little rain to see the rainbow,” but frankly, I didn’t care. The only thing I knew for certain was that I passionately wanted 2015 to be over. Life as I knew it had changed and I realized I had two options 1. I could change with it or 2. I could remain miserable and salty for the rest of my life. Luckily, with the help of close friends and family, a wonderful therapist and some much-needed soul searching, I found bike racing.

 

anna_3

During

 Somewhere in the middle of ‘The Great Shit Storm of 2015’ and ‘Ok 2016, Let’s Do This,’ I timidly entered the world of triathlon. This was the best worst thing that ever happened to me. While I rediscovered my hatred for running and struggled to stay afloat during the swim, I learned that biking fast made me happy. I didn’t know what it meant or where it would eventually take me, I just knew I needed to be on my bike. Pedal stroke by pedal stroke I started to feel mentally and physically stronger. Group riding with triathletes turned into group riding with cyclists, and before I knew it, I was a bike racer. I could write novels and tell stories for days about my first racing season, however, words can’t really do justice for how it made me feel or describe the relationships I formed along the way. The biggest takeaway was, as terrified and nervous as I was to show up and to be seen, I did it anyways and learned it was EXACTLY where I needed to be. It didn’t take long before I started meeting other cyclists and racers… and then… IT HAPPENED… I met the fine folks of SMC and instantly knew I had found, “my people.”

Racing at ToAD 2017

Racing at ToAD 2017

 

After

While I didn’t want to hear it at the time, all the pain and misery I went through in 2015 lead me to who, and where, I am today… and so it goes. The more I bike, the more I heal. The more I heal, the more willing I am to take risks and to try new things. The more new things I try, the more confident I become. The more confident I become, the more I accomplish. The more I accomplish, the more passion I develop. The more passion I develop, the more success I find. The more success I find, the happier I am. The happier I am, the more alive I feel. So, on behalf of my past, present and future self, I’m looking forward to discovering more of life’s ups, downs and in-betweens. I’m looking forward to pushing myself on and off the bike, embracing and leaning into the discomfort of change, learning more about my strengths and weaknesses, developing and maintaining my lifelong cycling friendships, and trusting my journey. In the meantime, thanks for a great ride friends, let’s go play bikes!

Scopin the Snake at the Snake Alley Crit 2016 Scopin the Snake at the Snake Alley Crit 2016 Medals from the IL State Championship 2017 Medals from the IL State Championship 2017 Proud to have an early season win Proud to have an early season win

Spidermonkey of the Week – Dave Cushman aka Crushman

The Crushman CX'ing

The Crushman CX’ing

For this entry of Spidermonkey of the Week we present Dave Cushman. Mr. Cushman has been a member of Spidermonkey Cycling since 2009. He sat down for an interview with Bob Costas earlier this week.

 

Bob Costas: When someone mentions Spidermonkeys, many things come to mind: Excellence, Determination, Inclusiveness, Charity, Dwelling in subtropical humid forests between 100 and 1,700 meters. It’s my pleasure to announce you are the first Spidermonkey of the Week for 2013! Congratulations!

Dave Cushman: Thank you.

Costas: Of all the awards and accolades I’ve received in the sports world, this is the one that has eluded me. It’s an honor to sit down with you today.

Cushman: I’m happy to be here.

Costas: In fact, as the only one to race as a Spidermonkey in road, cyclocross, criterium, track, and mountain biking events, you’re quite impressive. You’re what the pros call a “quintuple-threat.” And what’s more is you’ve had the wisdom and foresight not to do triathlons. Amazing!

Cushman: Is there a question there, Bob?

The Crushman MTB'ing

The Crushman MTB’ing

Costas: … I guess not. [awkard silence] Well let me start here: I once read you “grew up in the backwoods of rural Oregon, calling the mountains and rivers your home, part Grizzly Adams and part Huck Finn.” How did you ever get in to cycling?

Cushman: Besides the usual riding around the block as a kid, my first bit of cycling was when I was a freshman in college. I didn’t compete, but I started doing longer distance rides. I had a black 1970’s Peugot (found by my dad’s uncle, as someone had stolen it then thrown it over the fence into his yard) that I upgraded with super-sweet, self-installed, Nashbar knock-off, fluorescent yellow, LeMond-style aero bars. At first I was the sag wagon for a friend training for his first marathon. Then I started putting in real miles (yes, as much as 40 at a time!) in preparation for the Seattle To Portland Bicycle Classic. This is essentially a 200-mile gran fondo, but before the days of it being cool to call your ride a Gran Fondo.

Costas: Is it safe to assume you won?

Cushman: Hardly Bob!! Even today I’m not sure I’d want to try doing the whole thing in one day, which is what it takes to win. Along with my brother and father I rode it in two days – 120 miles on the first day, and an easy 80 on the second. The last 35 miles of day one were extremely tough, but as a 19-year-old it was quite an accomplishment that helped me realize what could be done on a bike.

Costas: So how did you get into racing your bike?

Cushman: I exclusively ran (5ks, 10ks, etc.) until 2008. At that point, thanks to my employee perks at Roscoe Village Bikes, I got my first real (i.e. fancy) road bike, and started “training.” I wasn’t really training for anything in particular, Bob, but it was just fun to ride with the Spidermonkey group, which started its rides from my shop. In the fall I was able to borrow a friend-of-a-friend’s cyclocross bike and raced two races in the Chicagoland Cyclocross Cup series (now Chicago Cross Cup). I competed in the 4B category, before the days of the B’s being a circus, and had a blast. That set the stage for 2009 when I started riding more seriously, racing road races and completing the whole Cross Cup series.

Costas: Now I’m to understand your similarities to David Beckham don’t just stop at your athletic talent and striking good looks, like him you also compete for two teams?

Cushman: That’s correct Bob. Ever since my first Spidermonkey year in 2009 I race much of each summer in black and orange, and most of each fall with Roscoe Village Bikes Racing p/b Virtue Cider.

Costas: I can’t help but notice the main sponsor for each team (Goose Island 312 and Virtue Cider) are both companies from the same owner, Greg Hall. Is this some sort of Great Expectations, anonymous benefactor situation?

Cushman: That’s the premise I’ve been operating on for the last 4 years, Bob.

Costas: Rumors have been flying around various social media sites that you rode your bike 9,000 miles in 2012.

Cushman: That’s correct. Between commuting 30 miles a lot of days, many long Old School rides, and a summer bike tour, the miles added up quick.

Costas: Bike tour?

Cushman: Yes, Bob, a friend and I rode self-supported from Ann Arbor around both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Just a tent and a change of clothes strapped to our bikes. I tell ya, you haven’t really ridden til you’ve ridden an 85-lb. bike in 99 degree heat on a six-lane highway coming out the ass end of Cleveland to start the 7th (of 11) hours in the saddle for the day.

The Crushman touring

The Crushman touring

Costas: Fair enough. So I have one last question for you. Your fans around the world of course know you as Crushman™, and it’s obvious why. After trademarking it, reserving crushman.com as a work-in-progress living shrine to yourself, and tattooing the nickname across your chest, I must ask: have you thought about legally changing your last name to Crushman?

Cushman: Bob, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t. But, honestly, I just don’t want to come across as narcissistic.

Costas: Understood. Thanks for your time, and good luck in 2013!!

The Crushman taking names at Leland

The Crushman taking names at Leland

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