Spidermonkey of the Week – Ken Dorado

by Ken Dorado

Hi, I'm Ken

Hi, I’m Ken

My fondest memory on a bike was when my dad would take me on a ride. Placing me in the child seat on the back of his mountain bike. Family and bikes – that’s what it’s all about. Riding through the streets near our house, feeling the wind and the rush of speed gave me the feeling of freedom and all that I was exposed to during those early summer days. I was lucky to realize early on that this was a healthy escape. I was in nirvana in a kids bikes seat.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had some form of human powered transportation. My first ride was the special edition Big Wheel® Knight Rider™. Since then I’ve been addicted ever since.

My original ride

My original ride

After wearing off the plastic tires on my Big Wheel®, I graduated up to a red BMX bike in my teens. There, I learned to do my first wheelie.

Diamondback Zetec

Diamondback Zetec

After graduating high school, I moved onto college at Purdue where I learned the real meaning of owning a bike. Getting to class in a lot less time than on foot. Every minute counted for much needed rest. I enjoyed riding around with my Diamondback Zetec.

After college… I had it all… a travelling full-time job, a girlfriend and an overweight frame to show how “happy” I was. For some reason, I didn’t feel fulfilled and so I ditched the first two (tried to get rid of the third) and found a new religion – amateur racing.

I was first introduced to racing by my friend Ted Ramos and I had the honor of riding with him on Team Get-A-Grip. He’s a great coach at Well-Fit and dear friend. This is where I did my first set of mountain bike and Xterra races. If you’ve never done an Xterra race you need to. Xterra racing consists of a small tight-knit community and you are so close to nature. Nothing beats adventure endurance racing when combined with swimming, mountain biking and trail running. I’ve had my ups and downs with endurance racing, especially from my first triathlon. As easy as a doing a triathlon sounds, getting towed in by boat mid-swim was definitely a reality check and game changer for me. At the end of the day it added fuel to the fire.

Xterra World Champion Conrad “The Caveman” Stoltz and I

Xterra World Champion Conrad “The Caveman” Stoltz and I

If you thought it couldn’t get better than that, enter the world of Chicago Cyclocross (CX). Better known as the ChiCrossCup. What better way to train during the off cycling season with fun races!? I found CX as a great way to find release and decompress from a long year of hard criterium racing and triathlons.

Jackson Park - Date: 2009

Jackson Park – Date: 2009

Indian Lakes - Date: 2010

Indian Lakes – Date: 2010

After a year or two of racing with Get-a-Grip I ended up rolling with Team Iron Cycles. Although these guys were way more hard core than I, hanging with this crew made me a better all around cyclist. Here, I ended up taking on more road races seriously, especially criteriums. Although I wasn’t big into travelling to races at the time; I’ve really enjoyed going to the Tour of Galena. It’s the trifecta of road races. You get the opportunity to race a time trial, road race and criterium all in one weekend and take in the views of a gorgeous town.
This also happened to be my first experience hanging with the Spidermonkeys.

Tour of Galena - Criterium - Date: 2012

Tour of Galena – Criterium – Date: 2012

I ended up rooming with Spidermonkeys like Sara Rice, Peter Monko and Hayes Sanborn. There was an air about their demeanor which was down to earth but when they brought their game into the race their performance was nothing short of epic.

After getting to know some of the Spidermonkey’s I knew this was a special crew. I had to join them. Not only because of their diverse membership, which consists of volunteers to racers. The Spidermonkeys magically checked all the boxes of what I was looking for in an cycling group:

✔ – Vision

✔ – Great leadership (Dean & Vanessa – You rock!)

✔ – Strong relationships with members

✔ – Support for social causes

✔ – Tight-knit cycling and social community (Never miss a group ride or outing)

✔ – Humor (Hey, it goes a long way)

✔ – Great partnerships

But what they most represent to me. An extended family – ✔

Goose Island Dock Party - Date: 2013

Goose Island Dock Party – Date: 2013

Spidermonkey of the Week – Tim Hogan


Bike Collage (clockwise from top left): halfway point of NSC with Katzfey, pulling two kids in the 2011 Bike the Drive, 2011 NSC finish, Thanksgiving ride with Jack Cahillane in Peoria, once at work bike stays close to desk—no more theft!

By Tim Hogan

My Specialized Rockhopper was stolen in 1998, and a cyclist friend of mine suggested I take a trip to Johnny Sprockets and invest in an entry road bike or a hybrid. Having spent the previous two years going over the bars in the Kettles and Palos Hills, I thought maybe a change would be good. I bought a Jamis Aurora with drops—which I hadn’t ridden a drop-bar bike since my 1986 Schwinn Traveller. (Thanks to 80’s movies like Quicksliver, Breaking Away and American Fliers, as well as a trip to the Little 500, I regularly donned my Campagnolo cycling cap and sped through the mean streets of Palatine like a zit-faced Kevin Bacon). I rode the crap out of that Jamis, including my first distance ride from Elgin to Lake Geneva with a group of fellow cycling buddies. Sadly, after some 11 years of service, the Jamis was stolen while locked to a fence outside of a bar in Wicker Park. I replaced it with a temporary $100 single speed I bought off Craigslist, which was in turn stolen from a neighbor’s garage whom I had loaned it to. Not to be dissuaded, I found an inexpensive Swobo commuter and a good lock. Along with a Burley trailer, this is the rig I typically use to pull one or more of my three my kids to school.

I began regularly commuting to and from work in 1999 and continue commuting by bike to this day. In addition to the health benefits and having more energy throughout the day, riding to work allows me to sort through things on my way in and decompress on my home. It’s also become an unexpected way to meet people, usually at stop lights along the Elston express. On one trip heading into work I noticed a guy riding an orange Voodoo frame and I decided to ask him about it. We rode together for a few miles and realized we had a lot in common—including having recently finished the miserable North Shore Century in the rain the week before. Turned out he has two kids eerily close in age to two of mine, and lived less than a block away. His name was Matt Katzfey and he suggested I come out for a Spidermonkey ride, which I did that very next weekend. (Ironically this would be the last I saw of Katzfey for almost 6 months). The timing was perfect, since the indie group I had been riding with for the past few years was starting to train pretty seriously for the Wisconsin Triple Crown and I wouldn’t have the time to dedicate to training for those rides, but I still wanted to join regular rides.

In addition to my day job as a creative director, I serve on the board of an organization called EPIC—an organization dedicated to pairing creative professionals with nonprofits that need their help most. So when I saw that Spidermonkey assembled a team and raised money for the MS Ride, I knew this would be a good fit, and decided to join. Being my first exposure to an organized cycling club, I had no idea what to expect, but I liked the combination of competitive and recreational male and female cyclists that don’t take themselves too seriously. In 2012, I participated in the Easter Ride, plenty of WNR and weekend club rides, the Tour de Farms and the North Shore Century. I was able to raise almost $1,800 in the fight against MS (look out Decker!), and consider it to be the highlight of my summer. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know people on the team, and have continued coming out as much as work and family allow—It’s been a great opportunity for me to improve at my own pace, which as of recently includes ass-kicking sessions at VisionQuest. Who knows, maybe my 40’s will be the decade I start racing.


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