Tag: NSC

Spidermonkeys of the Week – Yvonne and Paul Tierney

Vegas 2013 with JT on the right

Vegas 2013 with JT

Hello Spidermonkeys,

We are the Tierney’s, Paul and Yvonne.  We are both from Galway, Ireland. We moved to Chicago for a year in February 1998 and have yet to go home.

We don’t have any cool bike stories like the rest of the SOTW, so we will fast forward to how and when we became Spidermonkeys.

We knew Dean through our gym, the YMCA.  We were also friends with the Bowens (Scott and Rox).  We did the MS ride with the Lakeview YMCA team back in 2010 along with Kyle, Scott and Rox.   The Bowens ditched us to ride with the Spidermonkeys, but I can’t say I blame them; we were on our commuter bikes after all.  That’s right; we did 75 miles on day 1 of the ride on our commuter bikes!!  Thank you I know that’s impressive.   I remember cursing every person that passed me on a road bike.  After that ride we realized we needed road bikes.   The very next day or week we paid a visit to Get a Grip, where Ken fitted us for two new Scott Road bikes.

MS Ride 2011

MS Ride 2011 with Roxanne

Before we continue the story, we need to remind you again that we have no experience whatsoever with riding or bikes or any of that stuff. …So now that we had these expensive bikes we needed to ride them.   We showed up to our first group ride at Element not knowing anyone except Dean.  Dean was kind enough to point out to the group that we made a horrible rookie mistake – our tires were flat!  Oops!  But aside from feeling completely embarrassed and stupid, we learned never take out the bikes without first putting air in the tires – So thank you Dean!

We did a few more group rides, the majority of them ended in pouring rain. We also did that North Shore Century that one year where it rained the whole time.  Paul did the whole ride with his bike shorts on backwards!!!   We were starting to feel like someone was trying to tell us something!   But with attending clinics at GAG, and listening to everything that people on the team told us along with the way, we were getting the hang of it.  Still PLENTY to learn but getting better with each ride.   Dean invited us as special guests to the end of year bash in 2011, and we officially joined the team in 2012.

We decided to go to spring training in Vegas in 2012 to get to know other team mates.  Again remember how little we know about riding, well we did the North Shore Century and didn’t ride again until Vegas.  We did it though and learned a ton.  I didn’t even know what a switch back was let alone ride my bike on one.   We had a blast.  Everyone on the team was so supportive, encouraging and helped us along the rides.   We decided to sign up for VQ to train in the off season.  We went to Vegas again this year and we surprised ourselves how much stronger we were.

Vegas 2012!

Vegas 2012!

We really are so happy to be a part of such a great team.    The great friends we have made and the new friends we make each and every time we get together with the Spidermonkeys.  This team is more than just a team; it’s like a big family.  We didn’t have any family in Chicago until we joined the Spidermonkeys. We can’t wait to ride in 2013!!

Caw caw


Spidermonkey of the Week – Ann Marie Martens

Having a good time with some Goose Island Harvest Ale


So, I would say that I am an artist with a side of cyclist. This path that I have chosen has given me somewhat of a migratory life and at the moment I find myself here in Chicago riding with a bunch of Spidermonkeys.

2012 North Shore Century – I’m in white in the middle with the whole Spidermonkey gang

Anyways, bikes have always been apart of my life, but in the beginning it was more on a casual level, the occasional commute here to there or a stroll along the local bike path. I really didn’t think twice about cycling. Mainly because back in high school I saw myself more as a skateboarder, snowboarder, into the punk/indie rock scene, and oddly enough a golfer. Yes I know that is quite the mix and I was definitely an anomaly on the golf course, but having the competitive side that I do, I was actually pretty good. And back then, the only encounter I had with cyclists was the BMX riders that would show up occasionally at the newly hot skateboarding spot. So the idea of serious riding didn’t enter my life until a good decade later.

So then I went off to college and really put my focus on art and pretty much dropped the majority of my side endeavors, as it seemed like I spent more time in the studio than at home. To be honest I still put the studio first. After I graduated, I spent my time traveling, attended a 2-month artist residency, moved to Tennessee for a year, and had some serious life stumbles before I decided to return back to school and refocus the path I was taking. This was also the time where cycling entered my life a little more as I started riding/commuting almost daily. Soon after, I received my first masters degree and was awarded a full ride and stipend to an MFA program at Michigan State University.

“Our Binding Path”, 2012, Installation, Ceramic Needles, Thread, and Batting

In the summer before I started my MFA, 2008, I met this avid road cyclist/racer and my interest in cycling soared. At the time I was riding a Trek Hybrid style bike, a heavy beast, and this guy decided to take me out to the Black Hills to ride 30 miles on Needles Highway. If I remember correctly that was going to be my longest ride and first in that kind of terrain. We started near the top of Needles so what goes down must come up, right? Well, I was definitely not prepared, hadn’t eaten enough, ran out of water and ended up barely being able to walk the last mile or so up to where we parked near the top. It was one of my best rides even though I was physically and emotionally exhausted. This experience definitely set the hook. A couple of weeks after this trip I left for Michigan and was dating this guy. While residing in the Mitten, I began riding more on my own aiming for one 20-30 mile ride a week as well as commuting everyday to the studio/school. I know it’s not much but it was what I could give to cycling while in grad school. The time spent in the saddle was great for thinking. It gave me the opportunity to leave the studio and contemplate the direction of my work. At this time, I also became self-competitive about cycling by trying to bring my average speed up with each ride. Then in 2009, my guy upgraded his bike and I acquired the carbon road bike he was previously riding. And with a couple of necessary changes it fits like a dream and I love it.

Needless to say by the time I graduated in 2011 I was on my own again, but with a really great bike and off to Kansas for a year as an Artist in Residence at Kansas State University. I was excited for the new terrain and adventures of the Flint Hills and hoping to give a little more time to cycling. While there I tried riding with a local group but they were not quite my niche, I was too slow for the fast rides and thought the other ‘no drop’ rides as too slow for me. So I was back to riding on my own again with the occasional ride with a good friend.

North Shore Century 2012, I’m the one in white with the socks

Then spring 2012 came along with a job offer in my field/medium here in Chicago and by June I was living in a new city. Being use to the open country roads and riding without stopping Chicago cycling became quite the adjustment. And honestly I was frustrated. This led me to look into the various cycling groups around here and that’s how I found the Spidermonkeys. Since I have joined them, I have met some really great people and accomplished my first century. This time I remembered to eat and fill up my water bottle and I didn’t have to walk the last mile or so. So where my adventures will lead to next? I’m not sure. Though I am curious about cyclocross and possibly looking into racing, but it all depends on the studio.

Ann Marie Martens

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