Tag: Spidermonkey Cycling (page 1 of 2)

Spidermonkey Spotlight – Andy Schumacher

sandy twizz

Sandy Twizzler Photo by Jayloo

by Andy Schumacher

Traffic is what got me into cycling and Fireball got me to be a Spidermonkey. There’s not much else to know but I’ll back up a bit.

Like most kids, I biked a lot as a kid until I was 15. Then there was a brief cycling hiatus until I was about 30 when I moved to Chicago. I was previously living in the metro Detroit area where I got everywhere by car and I had no problem with it. I even worked for Toyota as a design engineer.

Moving to Chicago completely changed my perspective on cars. Stop-and-go traffic and searching for 20 to 30 minutes for parking were now part of everyday life and I was pissed off every time I got into the car. Within a few months, I got a commuter bike and instantly felt free again. I was no longer subject to traffic and was only limited by how fast my legs could pedal. I wanted to go faster so I bought a road bike and I loved it.

Taiwan Post Ride Recovery

A couple years after moving to Chicago, I joined SRAM as a design engineer. It’s been an amazing place to work and has taught me a lot about cycling culture. SRAM group rides were great but I didn’t have the experience of the other riders so I felt a bit out of place. I started doing some Saturday group rides with different clubs and found a good fit with the ‘Monkeys. They’re great people with different cycling backgrounds and are all very welcoming. Maybe more importantly, they like to have fun and that’s something I really appreciate. Some of the best friendships are forged over a bottle of Fireball, and Spidermonkeys drink a lot of bottles of Fireball. For the record, I don’t like Fireball but very few people will turn it down when offered. Fun fact – Did you know that you can put anything you want into a coffee cup and drink it in public? Sorry, I’m getting distracted.

andy cross

Speaking of drinking, did I mention I love cyclocross?!? There’s something special about the combination of mud, pain, heckling, and having a 10 year old stuff cookies into your jersey pocket after you faceplant in the sand that makes for an awesome experience. One of these days, I hope to learn how to bunny hop correctly.


Andy getting swoll

Andy just hanging out

Andy just hanging out

I have always enjoyed staying active and trying new activities. Last year, I started working out at Goose Island Crossfit during the off-season. I was hooked pretty quickly by the great coaching and I still work out there regularly – unfortunately, sometimes at the expense of riding. I’m still working on balancing activities but it has also gotten me to try some other new things like trapeze and Olympic weightlifting. I love trying new activities and look forward to a new challenge, but I really look forward to doing a lot more Spidermonkey group rides this year… and maybe sharing a High Life or three with the team at PK’s.

2009 Race Season Lessons

A Top Ten List

1) Always remember you shoes! (alright I learned this lesson via my teammates)
2) Its okay to share a changing towel, its how you bond as a team
3) Sometimes the lap card means minutes, and sometime it means laps, at the beginning of a Superweek race the lap card actually means 35 laps!
4) Crashing is not fun, but its going to happen, hopefully your first race crash will make it on to you tube so you can obsess over it
5) Once you get dropped you should try to enjoy yourself, otherwise what are you racing your bike for, its not your job
6) When race season ends you need to get a cross bike, otherwise you just feel left out
7) Traveling to races is fun, traveling with Ken is smelly
8) Getting knocked off the course during a race due to a crash in front of you is not considered a mishap by USA cycling, and no matter what you yell at the official the rule is not going to change.
9) Your best race effort will most likely not result in your best race result
10) Snake Alley is steep and bumpy, Kansas isn’t flat, the Hill in St Louis is really long
Honorable Mention:
– If you make a bet to wear a skinsuit you better win the bet so Dean has to wear the skin suit
– If you race in a 312 kit people think you might have 312 after the race
– By the third or fourth race you finally understand the difference between “being on the front” and “staying in front”
– Liquigas gloves are awesome
– Chamois Cream is a man’s best friend
– Buy a couple pair of bibs if its your first race season (you will thank me later)
– There is no such thing as a “comfortable saddle” just some that arent as uncomfortable as others
– JJ Peppers is the shit, but sometimes at JJ Peppers the cops shit on you

Northwestern vs. Minnesota tailgate at Wildcat Alley (09/26/09)

It was a brisk, overcast Saturday morning. I rode to Northwestern’s campus (my first ride since my crash) to rendezvous with Dean, Dan, Matt R. and Ami. We were joined by Ben, appropriately bedecked in a Northwestern bike kit. I arrived early to help John Clarke from GooseIsland set up the biergarten in NU’s Wildcat Alley, which in 45 short minutes would be swarming with fans of college football…and delicious Goose Island beer. The table tents and banners were in place. The cold plates had been iced and the Spidermonkeys were ready. Dan was on Honker’s Ale. Ami, Ben, and Matt were on 312 Urban Wheat Ale, our sponsor beer. Dean was pressing the flesh and working the crowd. I took my post behind Old Faithful, the Harvest Ale tap. 9 AM rang and the die-hard fans began to trickle in. Having worked the previous two tailgate events, I knew that this was the calm before the storm. I cautioned my fellow monkeys not to rest on our laurels. With each free second, I poured reserve beers; stockpiling them for the deluge I knew would come. All the old favorites were there, known solely by their nicknames. Physics prof, Party Down, Sir Talks-a-Lot and “business in front – party in the back” were all at the ready, beer tickets in hand. These guys could put away beer after beer while simultaneously talking your ear off, but the Monkeys were ready, pouring for other patrons while indulging the stalwarts. As 10 o’clock rolled around and the NU band finished their pre-game performance, the crowds really started to roll in, NU and Minnesota fans alike. From that point until we closed shop at 10:45 I didn’t close my tap, shoving one plastic cup after another under the stream of (shameless plug) – delicious, cascade-hopped, amber, 5.7 % alcohol by volume, seasonal ale. With each few spare seconds I helped myself to a gulp from my own cup of brew. My teammates kept pace beautifully and Matt even managed to wangle some tips out of the deal. The sputtering sound of foam and the rush of CO2 indicated the blow of the kegs in rapid succession. Mine was the first to go, but I smoothly switched to my alternate spigot while Carlos tapped a new keg. The 312 and Honker’s taps also flew through the beer, but the monkeys manning them were not at all bothered by the spray of foam on their nice kits. We poured and poured, all while smiling and schmoozing with the game’s attendees. Dean kept the mood light by swinging through and chanting “Spidermonkey! Spidermonkey!” with us responding “Caw Caw Caw!” While not sure how many kegs my teammates went through, I blew through three, which equals about 480 servings (each ½ barrel contains approximately 160 servings). At 10:45 we stopped serving. We were lightly soaked in beer (Dan was standing in it barefoot) but we were all smiling, due in no small part from the beer we had ourselves imbibed. Greater than that, though, was the fun we had. Kudos to all the Spidermonkey volunteers, as it was a great way to thank our generous sponsor for their support.
Ca Caw!!-
Joe H.

What are you listening to?

As many people have read we have quite the email chain rolling about what music you listen to while riding. So i thought i would provide place to discuss. Please post comments about what you listen to while riding…….



Are you guys from out of State?

Yesterday we had our third Tuesday night ride, myself, Bryan Witry, Dan , Jake and Drew all had a great time on the ride and went to our favorite liquor store to drink some high life’s (they are so delicious) and eat some jalapeno chips. It was all shaping up to be just another great night at peppers. Drew even commented “I drink at peppers more than any bar” and we all agreed that just might be the case!

Then the night took an ugly turn, the cops showed up. This has happened before without incident…..

The cops didn’t do anything on their way in to JJ Peppers to pick up some donuts, but on the way out one of the cops (he looked like the Seth Rogan Cop from Superbad) strolled over to us and said “are you guys drinking out here?” I thought to myself that’s a pretty stupid question i have a high life in my hand, but i resisted verbalizing this thought.
The other cop came over to back up his pudgy buddy. They then asked us “You guys know you cant drink outside? Right?” This was a hard question to answer, of course we know we cant do this, we are blatantly breaking the law, but you cant tell a cop that. Drew stepped up and starting apologizing. The next question from the cop really floored us, the cop asked “are you guys from out of state?” It was hard to not break out laughing. Did he think we rode in from wisconsin? indiana? i mean really what a dumb question. I again resisted my urge to say something stupid and let Jake, Dan and Drew apologize for us.
The Cop then asked us “do you think the owner wants you sitting outside his place of business drinking in the parking lot?” the answer was yes he does, they give us a 10% discount. but again we couldnt say anything. so we got on our bikes, the cop then decided to inform us “you know you can get a DUI on a bike!” This guys must have thought we were complete morons!
The moral of the story is that we got kicked out of the JJ Peppers Parking lot.
Lets hope we can drink High Life and eat chips in peace tonight!!!

The Man of Many Mustaches Making Statements!

Which one do you like the best?

Chicago Criterium Cat 5-Race Report

Todd Kaiser, Andrew Zens, JPCastro, Tristan Whitehead, Samuel Winn, Josh and I (Bryan Witry) clipped in at 8:10 for the Cat 5 race and weren’t heading out for a Sunday stroll on a beautiful Chicago morning. The team looked remarkably focused as we sat in the sweet new 312 tent and pinned our numbers on our jerseys. The plan was to control the race and set up a train for the final sprint, I was the Monkey to reap the benefits of an all out Shake and Bake.

Todd set the tone at the top with monstrous pulls and traded duties with a few riders; he would remain near the front the entire race. I was shepherded around the top 8 of the pack the entire race by Andy. Truly selfless performances by the both. The race was crash free, everybody loves a safe race. But everybody also loves the entire team in the front of the race! I saw every Monkey in the front 10 in the first few laps. Actions like those really set the tone of the group. Sam, Castro, Tristan, and Josh all had smiles on their faces when they were zipping around Michigan Ave listening to the back-side announcer constantly mention Spidermonkeys (I couldn’t see Andy and Todd because they were in front of me the whole race, probably smiling though).

No primes…. total crap…. at least throw us a friggin’ water bottle, right?!

As we slammed down the front stretch with one lap to go, everything seemed to fall into place. Castro came scorching by and everybody followed suit. It was as if Merril was starting the fast section of the Wednesday night ride and everybody fell into a perfect line. JPC pulled hard and immediately 5 Monkeys were in the top of a strung out field. He peeled off and said something like (I’m spent/tired/dying?) and I laughed to myself because I couldn’t get over how awesome it was that someone had just sacrificed himself for the team. Todd slammed the corner and Andy took over around the chicane leading Todd and myself with 2 corners to go. A few guys jumped hard around the second to last corner and I jumped their wheel up the last lil kicker. The mini-group hit the downhill hard and we all maintained position the last 200 meters finishing all within connecting bike lengths. I finished fifth, without my team I would have finished last. The Spidermonkeys displayed some serious tactics, a testimony to the hard work thats been put in on the route to HP.

Anybody who doesn’t enjoy a good cheering section can kiss my ass; Spidermonkeys have the best cheering section ever! We all heard cheers every lap, and saw so many people after the race. Everybody who came this weekend, THANK YOU! I was unable to hear Dean on stage during the race, but I imagine he made the sponsors proud. I was proud to be a Spidermonkey today. Not just because the entire field united themselves and sacrificed themselves for one teammate, but because everybody carried themselves with class. On that note, everybody who raced is entitled to a few classy highlifes this Wed night ride from Bryan!!!

Shake and Bake
Bryan Witry

-teamwork kicks ass

Posted by Andrew Zens for Bryan Witry

Racing on a Monday is much better than work! (Richton Race Report)

Superweek continued in Richton Park on Monday and I couldn’t think of a better way to start the week than racing my bike. Mike Shea and I headed south to Richton Park.
The course was a .6 mile four corner crit with some curvy roads on the front and back stretches. We arrived and saw Geoff from Get a Grip would be racing with us today. I pretty much consider Geoff a teammate, I mean he comes with us to Rocks after the soldier field crits to eat burgers and drink bombers (312 for me). So the three of us did a pre ride of the course to look at the turns and identify any problems areas on the course, we didn’t really find any. However, we did notice that turn two might cause some issues if the guys on the inside didn’t hold their lines. We all continued our warm up and I spent a number of my warm up laps talking to a rider who came in from Marquette, Michigan (that’s in the UP). I could tell he was a strong rider and making nice with him prior to the start could benefit me later.
As we stood at the start line I looked around and noticed a couple racers who I may want to stay away from; the guy with the toe clips and stuffed pockets (it looked like he was hiding a small animal in his back jersey pocket) the guy with the numbers pinned the wrong way, and the guy who was gonna race with his saddle bag and his hand air pump attached to his bike. We stood at the start line for a quite a while, and one of the bicycle heaven guys said “this race is 25 minutes right?” I replied “no its 25 miles (or about 32 laps)” the look on his face was priceless! Ken from XXX chimed in “I made that same mistake at Blue Island” (sidenote: only one xxx guy (ken) in the race, never seen that before)
The race started and for the second race in a row I actually clipped in without any problems. The race rushed into the first two corners, the guys I had identified as possible “stechy riders” lived up to their billing, the toe clip guy took the second corner about as bad as humanly possible! One of the bicycle haven guys yelled “you gotta hold your line, or you are gonna kill all of us” and he couldn’t have been more dead on, this guy was gonna hurt one of us unless we dropped him off the back quick! I made sure to get as far away from that guy as possible for the next couple of laps, and thankfully we dropped him about five laps in.
The pace at the beginning of the race was brutal, two guys from Springfield (I think they were on Team Hammer) took a strangle hold over the race, they set the pace, just the two of them. It was the most impressive display of dominating a race I have seen at the cat 4 level! Finally someone went to the front to slow the pace frantic pace. The early pace spit riders off the back only the stronger riders survived.
Several attacks went off the front, none of these riders were able to hold their attacks for more than a lap or lap and a half. The best attack occurred somewhere around 15 laps to go, it got off the front and a guy from bicycle haven asked me to go chase it down with him, I declined I just didn’t have it in me.
With seven laps to go I realized I had no idea how many laps were left, I rode up to mike shea and asked him, he told me “7” the others riders in the group tried to trick me and said “15” or “12” and one said “2”. Lesson learned, always keep an eye on the lap board, or find a teammate, because everyone other than your teammates are there to beat you!
With five laps to go the pace got pretty serious, everyone knew that position would be king, and a field sprint looked like a real possibility. I did my best to find a spot in the front of the pack and hold it over the next few laps, but as we entered the final lap I was stuck mid pack, and out of the last two turns I struggled to gain better position. As I came out of the last turn I knew it wasn’t going to happen for me, and I sprinted to the finish (passing a few guys) to finish a respectable 22nd. Mike Shea got another top 10 coming in 7th and Geoff (who gave mike a lead out) finished 19th. The two guys from Springfield went 1-2 in the race, hats off to those two.
It was a good race and I learned a couple important lessons:
1) Always know the lap count
2) Position is key
3) Work on holding my position in the last couple turns
4) Learn how to sprint

Shake and bake’

The Lawrence Top Ten List

10) Driving across state lines with Ken requires the ability to open four car windows quickly! It became the rating system, Ken only produces four window farts!!!!!!

9) Wheatfield’s breakfast is the breakfast of champions (http://www.wheatfieldsbakery.com/)

8) Dan Pollard can eat and he loves a good turkey leg

7) Kansas is not flat

6) Dehydration after a race allows for limited rest stops on the 9hr drive home (ride there 4 stops; ride home 2 stops)

5) People in Kansas are very nice; they will just start a conversation with you, its a bit weird but kind of cool too.

4) If you drive roughly 1200 miles you better pick up some podiums!

3) When you can not find 312… Free State Beer is a great substitute. (http://freestatebrewing.com/) We loved all the Free States Beers.

2) If you win a race it entitles you to the first ‘smile’ from Mystique… more to come at jj peppers…

1) The last man back to the hotel room wins the next day (night 1 zens stumbles in at 2:15, night 2 jake arrives around 3:15, both claim victory the following day)

Rain .. rain .. Bike to Work Rally!

Hey Everyone,

Great time riding with the 2 media personalities this morning .. weather was great, police escort was awesome, the blackhawks/blues brothers car with the blackhawk girls was pretty cool and the winner of the “race” was pretty cool too.

Pic from the United Center, before we got started .. free dunkin donuts coffee and assorted donuts, yum. Blackhawk cheerleader girls, yum.
Here’s some video of the group near the end of the route turning from Lake onto Clark (I think) – a little wobble in these videos, hope you don’t get sick ..

Here’s another video of the group entering Daley Plaza .. listen to what Dean has to say to Vanessa ..

Once the morning program wrapped up, it was pretty chill, did some yoga and then just before the beer started flowing, the rain started coming down, first a little, then in sheets. The bmx’ers stopped doing their backflips on the ramp and started doing some flat land tricks, but then they even called it quits. The brave souls that ventured out were treated to some free 312 and mini vienna beef hot dogs.

Here’s some pics .. Anna from Goose Island putting the vienna beef hot dog umbrella to good use.
Can karate chopping at the rain drops ..
Dean and Vanessa strolling in .. the rain.
Overall, good time, unfortunately it ended early, but they’re rescheduling the event for July 24th, the Friday before the Chicago crit.


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