Tag: Goose Island Dock Party

Spidermonkey of the Week – Ian Hughes

I would like to start off by saying I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be the Spidermonkey of the Week!  While I have always been what I thought was a huge cycling advocate, my love affair with bikes is only in its infancy when compared to everyone else on the team.  I now know that I have only just seen the tip of the iceberg and that by drinking the Spidermonkey Kool-Aid, I am opening up the floodgates to all things awesome.  I have been absolutely humbled through my experiences with those of you I have met so far on the team, and have been deeply inspired in reading all of the other SOTW posts.  Because of you, my goal for 2015 is to become a stronger and more skilled rider and make you all as proud of me as I am to be a Spidermonkey!

That being said, here’s a little about the guy that may be sucking your wheel at the start of this year’s rides.  I was born in New Mexico and bounced around between there, Texas, Ohio, and Los Angeles before moving back to Ohio for college and my first grown-up job in Cleveland.  As with most kids, bikes were a big part of my life growing up but two memories vividly stand out- learning how to ride and going on bike tours with my parents.  My Grandma Joan sat me on my first bike that I received for a Christmas present in Las Cruces, NM and literally shoved me down a hill repeatedly until I could stay on without falling.  Fortunately I got the hang of it before I ended up breaking something!  As for the bike tours, they became a family tradition while I was in grade school after my parents got into riding.  They started bringing me along on 20+ mile country rides around Carey and Columbus, Ohio and it always made for awesome family time.

Ian Hughes Picture 1  Ian Hughes Picture 2

Six years ago I moved to Chicago (chasing my then girlfriend, now wife, Kelly) and left behind my beloved Ohio after 13 years of fun.  When I first got here, I absolutely hated it.  I found myself very frustrated with the noise, concrete everywhere, seeming lack of outdoor opportunities, and most of all the traffic.  For sanity’s sake I stopped driving, took to public transportation and that made things a little better, but after 2 years I was completely over it.  In the spring of 2011, I finally had a moment of clarity while we were sitting in a mess of rush hour traffic in our car- a small group of cyclists effortlessly cruised past us with smiles on their faces.  I wanted (and needed) that freedom and happiness, and later that week I bought a bicycle and took to the streets.

Ian Hughes Picture 3

What started off as a means of getting to and from work quickly turned into my escape from all of the things I didn’t like about Chicago.  All of a sudden I was happier, healthier, and felt a meaningful tie to the concrete, traffic, and noise that used to drive me crazy.  These feelings grew deeper when I began bike commuting year round and really learned to appreciate everything that all of the four seasons throw at us.  The only problem I came across was that my commute was only 6 miles each way, and I wanted more!

Ian Hughes Picture 4      Ian Hughes Picture 5

When I left my job as an Environmental Consultant and went to work for Goose Island Beer Company three years ago, I had the unique opportunity to take this newly found passion and grow it further through sharing it with my new coworkers.  Goose Island was already a strong advocate in the Chicago biking community through supporting the Active Transportation Alliance, Chicago Bike to Work Week, and of course sponsoring the Spidermonkeys, but we had some opportunities for improvement internally.  In the last three years the Green Goose team and I have made some great accomplishments to encourage our employees to ride- we started the Honking Peloton (once a month we ride to a local brewery), improved onsite bike storage, purchased maintenance supplies, and started offering employee tune up days.  Our efforts have resulted in an increase in bike commuting and have also led to Goose Island receiving a Bicycle Friendly Business Silver Award through the League of American Bicyclists.

Ian Hughes Picture 6

Ian Hughes Picture 7     Ian Hughes Picture 8

It was only a matter of time until I got to meet several Spidermonkeys at a dock party and a few other Goose Island beer release parties.  At one of these events (after geeking out over a few beers of course) I received a challenge from Fred Wu to come join the team for a Saturday ride.  Once I realized that there weren’t any Geese currently riding with the Spidermonkeys, I knew I needed to accept the challenge, represent the brewery, and roll with the team up to Highland Park.  After one ride, followed by a delicious gyros sandwich at Budacki’s, I was hooked!  Despite a busy travel schedule for work I managed to hit several other rides last year including a couple treks to Willow Springs and a very ‘spirited’ Wednesday night ride.  I am looking very forward to being even more involved this year, riding my first century, and diving into my first CX race this fall- hopefully I won’t be riding in Fred’s Divvy bike basket!  Here’s to all of you and here’s to a great year with Spidermonkeys! Cheers!

Spidermonkey of the Week – Emily Beswick

by Emily Beswick

2005ragbraicelebrationSag wagon, bicycle shop, repair vans, shower guys, and medical assistance were all foreign words as I began my cycling career during Ragbrai (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Race Across Iowa) 2005. I decided the route was starting 15 miles from my hometown, Sioux City, Iowa and I would bandit the ride for 1 day; after all it was only 65.5 miles.

As I pulled out of LeMars “the ice cream capital of the world,” I thought I was prepared with my free green Huffy that I won at my college health fair and my Camelback hydration pack. The first half of the ride was fairly easy with stops for food/drinks every 6-8 miles. As the temperature was pushing triple digits, and I made the turn north for the last 20 miles I ended up getting a flat tire without a tube or CO2 cartridges. The fun turned into tears. Even after I had help fixing my tire I was exhausted. My first big ride had me pedaling and crying all the way to the end.

Once I arrived in Sheldon a huge smile was on my face and a feeling of accomplishment overcame me. I couldn’t wait to celebrate with a beer.

How powerful a spell does RAGBRAI cast over the first time rider? After a few hours on the road I was hooked and promised to be back for the entire week next year.

2006 was the year I officially signed up for Ragbrai, it was 444 miles of adventure. I decided to experience it the real way and tent the whole week rather than stay in hotels/friends homes along the way. I also decided to upgrade and get my 1st real bike. I purchased a Specialized Rockhopper. My mileage/training was riding the mountain bike trails of Stone State Park and I couldn’t understand why I needed more than 1 bike much less a road bike. I thought at that time every bike was created equal. Now, I was ready for the journey with my foot cages, upgraded water bottles, and bike jersey/cycling shorts. Starting early Sunday morning I embarked on my journey with 30,000 other cyclists of all shapes, ages, and sizes. I began my ride with the long tradition of dipping the front tire in the Missouri River at the start of the ride across Iowa and again the back tire at the conclusion in the Mississippi River. The highlight for me at the time was riding on the same road as another Ragbrai virgin, Lance Armstrong.

ridingwithlance 2006ragbrai
2006ragbraifinish

ironman

In October 2008 I moved to Chicago. Once I completed my list of bucket items to being a “true Chicagoan”, Sears Tower stair challenge and the January bikini polar plunge with water temps in the low 30’s; I thought that finding a cycling team would be a good way to meet friends and also be less life threatening. I joined a newly formed women’s downtown team that was close to my work/home. We didn’t ride everyday but I enjoyed the long ride camaraderie and the mileage helped me to complete Ironman Wisconsin on 9/11/2011 as I was now a true “roadie” with my Specialized Roubaix.

After a few years with this team I was sick of being dropped on the “no drop” Saturday ride by the 4 boys that rode and frequently was the only girl. I started looking for teams during the Gapers Block Crit races this year. The 1st night I had inquired with Half Acre and found them to be cult/sorority like in their team selection. Night 2 I was packing my things into the car and Kelly Clarke/Michelle Moore were next to me. I saw the Spidermonkey kit and asked “how hard is it to find a team to join in Chicago that likes to ride bikes and drink beer?” She stated the next team ride was on Saturday and we exchanged numbers. A few weeks later we were riding a century up to Frank’s Diner in Kenosha, WI.

franksdinercenturyride

I am so grateful I asked them that question that day. I love being a Spidermonkey!! The numerous options to ride every day of the week and the variety of paces/miles is great. My favorite rides are Tuesday morning girls ride and the fast pace Wednesday nights (each week as the season progressed I was proud I made it further in the ride before getting dropped).

Furthermore, I love the social aspect and having beers with the team. What’s not to like about a Goose Island Dock party and various special beer release parties!!??!!

mondaymorningrideI’m looking forward to a great 2014 season with the Spidermonkeys. My first Vegas trip will be this year and Tour of Galena is on the calendar again. As I look back I am proud of my journey as a cyclist and I am grateful to ride amongst the best in Chicago who are on our team.

I am also proud that I’ve expanded my vocabulary to consist of saying….all I want for Christmas are size 42 Mavic Zxenon cycling shoes, a Seven Axiom SL, and a bike fit with Get a Grip Cycles (and actually know what that means)!! :)

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

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