Tag: mountain biking

Spidermonkey of the Week – Kurt Breitenbucher

Kurt - Picture 1

Like many others, bikes for me were just a form of transportation, a method to get to where your friends were. I checked all the boxes for endurance sports in high-school, cross country running, track, and nordic skiing. Despite my height I was never very coordinated unless on snow and ice (thanks viking ancestors), so I never really got into other team sports. Most Spidermonkeys know of my love for bikes that are way too small and do not really fit me. My first “real” bike was a 2000 Schwinn Frontier, I used that bike from 2000 until 2008, when I nearly died riding it.

Kurt - Picture 2

My transition from a runner to a dirt-bag did not take place overnight. My first year of college did not go well, I had tried to be a walk on for our schools D2 running team. In our first race I missed a course marker in the woods, and my first collegiate 8k race became a 25k. After this, I took two years off of school and coached a high-school nordic ski team and cross country running team. The head coach, an engineer, convinced me that there were bigger and better things, and in 2008 I went back to school to become a civil engineer. When I returned, I took my 1999 Schwinn on some trails meant for downhill mountain bikes. I came around a corner with too much speed and hit a jump I was not expecting. The crash split my helmet clean in two, I had a pretty terrible scar down the middle of my face, I had to endure people calling me “the boy who lived” my first months back, but I was hooked. I spent the next year with bike lust, working for the school and saving up to buy a new mountain bike.

Kurt - Picture 3

I was lucky enough to live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for 6 years. We were fortunate to have world class mountain bike trails right outside our door, a five minute pedal up the hill and you could be deep in the woods, not another person around. When others spent their breaks between classes in the library or eating at the union, we were rushing back out to grab our helmets, packs, and bikes to get another ride in. I’m sure 90% of the other students hated us, coming into class covered in mud, smelling ripe, and bleeding all over from a thousand cuts on our shins.

Kurt - Picture 4

I used to believe that cycling, especially mountain biking, was a very solitary sport. In graduate school, afraid of the impending real world, I became active with our collegiate cycling team and club. For many of us mountain biking was a labor of love and much of our time spent off the bikes was building trails, jumps, and advocating for more funds to pursue our passion.

Kurt - Picture 5

I have hopes that mountain biking will become bigger in Chicago and the Midwest in general, I’m particularly excited about the Big Marsh Project. Some of my fondest memories come from seeing how many bikes/people you can fit in a truck and hit the trails.

Kurt - PIcture 6

I moved to Chicago for work in January of 2014, I attended a few Spidermonkey events (Goldsprints for MS!) before officially joining at the Lacrosse Omnium in May. I’m fairly new to road cycling, to me it was always something to do to keep fit. I love the Spidermonkey group rides, the camaraderie at races (especially during cyclocross). Through the coming year I’m hoping to compete in longer distance events (Barry Roubaix/Dirty Kanza), some endurance mountain events, and WORS (Wisconsin Off-Road Series).

Photo Credits to Jayloo Photography.

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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