In 2008, around this time of year, some unwashed friends were sitting around a table at the Hideout, hatching a scheme to put together a bike racing team. Either they didn’t feel like they fit in on their current team, or they wanted to step up from alleycats, but they were making it up as they went along. They had a shop and a ‘packet’ – a ramshackle document they could pass around, soliciting funds to get a spot on the jersey. This is why you should sponsor a bike racing team. As we all know, there’s a lot of love in the sport, as for Return On Investment…well, that’s another story. It’s a tough sell, but there were a few that were down from the start.
A guy at the end of the bar asked the bartender what they were up to. They sent down a packet. Long story short, the guy sends down a check. A big check. We’re talking Platinum-level, ‘nobody’s going to give us this much, but let’s put it in there anyway’ kind of a check. He didn’t want much in return, and he really didn’t even want his name thrown out there, but when pressed to put something on the jersey, he said “just put The Hideout.”
That man was Daniel Blue. He passed away last week.
There are many stories about him, many generous, some unbelievable, and a fraction of which can be found here. The Cuttin Crew would have found some way to put this thing together, but it sure helps when a stranger helps jump start your little scheme.
And what a scheme it became. Cash it before he sobers up! Kits and licenses, rolling deep to their cat 5 debut at the Spring Super Crit. A blazing attack in the last lap! Everyone jumps on it…except for the five guys in the Cuttin Crew leadout train. They take the win and four of the top five spots. oh we got this.
Needless to say, it hasn’t all been that easy, but there have been some bright spots. A bunch of State titles in Road, Track, and Cyclocross. A regional MTB title. National podiums for a current and former teammie. A few Illinois Cup and ChiCrossCup series wins, scholarship dollars to Lees-McRae, a North American Courier Championship, and a whole lotta good times.
Some of us have moved on to better things, and some of us will move on again, but for the most part, once you’re on the Cuttin Crew, you’re down for life. Thanks Dan. We would have done it without you, but you sure made it a lot more fun.
And so, here we are, in the final race week of our fifth year: Cyclocross Nationals. We’re putting our two best guys on it, one of which is a thirteen year old girl. Ella’s in a new age bracket, so last year’s podium might be tough to repeat, but she’s got a taste for Wisconsin mud.
There are only a handful of Chicago riders stepping up for the big show, THE Championship Race, up against the current champ, the fire-breathing Professionals, and the dreamers. Mumford will be there. Big truck driving, boot stomping, brick dragging, bunny hopping Mumford, laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth.