OFFICIAL 2016 GRUDGELIST

Without further delay, let the record show that 24 hours from now, the following scores will be forever and permanently settled, at least until Afterglow 2017:

Avi vs. Ella
Loser has to clean the upstairs bathroom, using the international standard for 'clean,' not simply moving trash around.

Karson Glass vs. Jake Huizenga
Loser buys winner an appropriate Belgian beer, in the spirit of cyclocross.

Sean Klontz vs. Joel Mulder vs. Simon Lach (oooh, a three way!)
Cruiser bikes only, max tire width of 25c.
If Joel loses, he has to proclaim his love for Luna Catbus.
If Simon loses, he has to proclaim his love for people that bring their children to bars.
If Sean loses, he has to proclaim his love for mayonnaise. 
(Interesting, how will they proclaim this? Facebook or permanent tattoos?)

Carel Jones vs. George Figueroa
Loser has to by the winner $20 worth of candy (It's nice to see our juniors getting in on the action, and let us just point out that THESE GENTLEMEN KNOW HOW TO GAMBLE).

Justin Lebb vs. Sarah Szefi
This will be a one lap race: Sarah on the unicycle, Justin on a SSCX bike, running 40x11. Sarah will receive a 120 second head start.
Winner is awarded a commemorative coffee mug* highlighting their amazing victory at 2016 Afterglow.
Loser is punished with a shameful coffee mug* detailing the nadir of their season where they lost the Grudge Match at 2016 Afterglow.
*Coffee mugs must be used for remainder of life.

Mike Morell vs. Andrew Nordyke
Mike and Andrew are playing for: the marbles (all of them)

If you want to settle a score of your own, show up with a fistful of dollars at least 30 minutes before race time. We will have a wager board, and you will be able to record your stakes, provided you and your opponent both sign in blood.
 

AND WE BACK! Cyclocross racing returns to Humboldt Park!

Once upon a time, a scrappy race team threw a bike race in Humboldt Park.

Photo courtesy of Levi Baer. RIP Flickr. 

Photo courtesy of Levi Baer. RIP Flickr. 

We're still working out the course details, but after a five year absence, we're thrilled to bring cyclocross racing back to Humboldt! You don't even need to read any further to know that you should go to bikereg and register right now.

Mark your calendars for Saturday December 10th. We can't guarantee that winter is going to make an appearance, but we're doing everything we can to make this a top-notch affair:

  • InsaneDeOmnium competition: race every category you're eligible for. You get a point for each lap you complete, and new this year: a half point for each racer you beat, so do your best not to finish DFL!
  • Grudge Match! You and virtually any other racer of any category/gender can sign up, state your wager, and start elbow-to-elbow. The post-race photo op is up to you. Sign up below. Feel free to place your bets on who will win the Ella vs. Avi showdown. 
  • We know many of you need to express yourselves in ways that most bike races can't handle. As such, we will have categories for: Fatbikes, Tandems, Cargo Bikes, and new this year, Fixed Gear CX. Naturally there will be a full UCI jury, chip timing, and finish line cameras to guarantee the category sorting, placing, and accuracy in these categories. Or not.
  • As always, this is a fund raiser for local youth groups West Town Bikes and Blackstone Bike Works. For most of the West Town squad, it's their first chance to race in their local park, so bring your cowbells and get ready to make some noise. Don't forget to throw some donation dollars down while you're registering at bikereg. We have been known to reward generous individuals with callups to the front row. We will also have a cash donation box at reg, so bring some dollars. We ain't exactly selling coffee and donuts, but you might get some free and feel compelled to donate, nahmsayin?
  • There will be some fly medals. Payouts? haha, ur funny
  • Fine tune your skillz before Midwest Regionals the following weekend. 
  • aw hell, it's a race, you're a racer, it's in the fine city of Chicago, do you really need any more reason than that?
  • We can't guarantee an Afterparty at Cousin Mikey's house, but feel free to take a trip down memory lane and see what Afterglow looked like back in 2010 and 2011.

GRUDGE MATCH INSTRUCTIONS:

Find a score to settle, challenge a racer, negotiate a wager, fill out the form below, but most importantly, don't forget to reg at bikereg! Wagers will be published on the internet prior to raceday, which we all know counts just like a legally binding contract.

Racer 1 *
Racer 1
Racer 2 *
Racer 2
AKA 'Diamond-Studded Title Belt' or '10 Snickers bars' or 'Must wash goose poop off winner's bike'

Why are you still down here reading this? Register already!

Michael Kirby awarding the Intergalactic Championship belt to Jason Fergurson after Grudge Match 2015.

Michael Kirby awarding the Intergalactic Championship belt to Jason Fergurson after Grudge Match 2015.

Twenty sixteen

We were hoping to roll up at Super Crit sporting this year's kit design, but Mother Nature wasn't quite ready for racing to start. Instead, we decided to to spark your interest with a little preview.

We can't talk about kits without talking about sponsors. We've got lots of friends, new and old, and we're thrilled they want to be part of our little team.

First up we've got eClad, the future of natural stone cladding, forreal, with a connection that goes back to Ms. Larkin's pit crew at Irish CX Nats. FKLaw is back again, in case you're unfortunate enough to need a lawyer for any bike-related incidents. Four Star Courier for your Chicagoland transport needs, and Domu, Chicago's apartment site, has your hookup in case you're looking for a new pad. If you get thirsty for some raw, non-gmo, unpasteurized delicious beverages we've got Time Machine Juice. If you're more of a country mouse, Fergurson Insurance will keep your farm biz covered, and call FIK for your real estate operations.

On the bike side of things, we're pleased to partner up with both Yojimbo's Garage and Comrade Cycles, since we're too much for one shop to handle. We've got SportCrafters keeping us fit on the rollers all winter long, and of course, no serious athlete can live without sustenance, so we recharge at Marie's Pizza and Liquors.

Last, but not least, we've hooked up with Milwaukee's Fyxation, sponsoring a bunch of fixed gear crits in the area this summer. Check out fyxationopen.com for more details, and sign up for the prelude event at next weekend's Lincoln Park Crit.

Ok, we know you're just here to see this year's colors. We're happy to partner with the awesome Podiumwear team up in MN for our latest. Something this fly could only be made in the USA. Without further ado...

Dude, where's my human?

Pretty dope, right? We'll see you at the races!

Tour of St. Louis

By Mia Moore, Cat 2 Racer Extraordinaire

“It’s been a long time, we shouldn’ta left you (left you) without a dope beat to step to...
 
See you don’t wanna throw it all away
I might be shy on the first day, what about the next day? (Huh, huh, huh, huh)
See you don’t wanna throw it all away
I might be buggin on the first day
But what about the next day? (Huh, huh, huh, huh)

If at first you don’t succeed
Dust yourself off and try again, 
You can dust it off, and try again, try again
‘Cause if at first you don’t succeed
You can dust it off and try again
Dust yourself off and try again”

-Aaliyah

It’s been a while since I did a race season, I’ve been busy learning acupuncture and figuring out how to be a good witch, but after a full chi cross cup season, I wanted to hit the streets this summer. After some mild cajoling and side eye from Daphne, I decided that I would start the summer off in March at the Tour of St Louis, considering the race to “get comfortable” and “dust off the cobwebs” (although this phrase always reminds me of Mrs. Havisham, which is not a character I am trying to cultivate). 

The race started Saturday with a very early ELEVEN MILE time trial, to be followed by a mid afternoon criterium, and another criterium on Sunday morning. 

Time Trial

Jrho and I got up at 5am on Saturday and drove to the course. The sunrise was stunning, far more stunning than my performance, it would turn out. We were given our start times, and looked over my warmup “set your watch to the official time” it said, “do NOT be late” it said. “DUH” I said, I finished my warm up with only six minutes to spare, and still had to check in at the porta potty, and I put a few pumps of air into my tires. When I was done, I looked at my Garmin, and my heart completely sunk, “noooooo, omg, noooo this is actually happening, I’m going to miss my start time” “FFFFFFFFFF” I sprinted to the queue, and was told I could add the couple minutes to my time as it was rolling, if I waited to start after two other riders. “Ok” I said, completely bummed at how much I had screwed up. It was hard to keep my head in the game and not berate myself through the the whole 30 minute effort, but I did what I could (I ended up upping my 20 minute power by almost ten watts, so that is a positive). The course was really lovely- sweeping turns through a little bucolic enclave (apparently Frankie almost hit a deer). I would love to go back and have another crack at it, the right way. I finished and went back to the car, not looking forward to explaining myself to my teammates…HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN? It will never happen again, I tell you what.

The Carondelicious Criterium

I was nervous, not knowing what to expect from the other riders in the field, but I DID know that Daphne was 2nd in the omnium after the TT, and my job would be to support her and rough up the competition. The course was great! It’s in a lovely park and has a fun downhill sharp left turn into an uphill, a few nice curves, and an uphill through the start/finish. I decided it would be best to start off the race by throwing some early attacks. I knew I wanted to be in front going through the downhill turn anyway, so it was to my advantage to work this into my race strategy. After a few solid attacks, Daphne attacked after a preme, and a break was established with one woman from all the main teams represented. I worked to help the break cement-chasing down attacks and generally trying to disorganize any attempts at chasing my teammate. It was fun. I feel I would have received a ‘most aggressive rider jersey’ had that been a thing. I like to have a job, it helps my nerves, and makes racing more fun. (When I have the fitness and confidence for that job to be “win” that will also be great.) Jrho and I tried a lead out for the field sprint, but I’ll just say we need practice. S’ok; it’s March, cobwebs, etc. Daphne won from the break, so success on that end. 

Dan Singer Photography

Dan Singer Photography

The Great Forest Park Criterium

We woke up to a snowstorm, and not like, “oooh it’s a little wet” but like big fluffy heart attack snow flakes. It wasn’t really sticking to the ground, but it certainly did look like winter. I thought about how cold and miserable it would be to race, and pretty much resigned myself to watching. I didn’t put in my contacts, I didn’t put on my kit, I ate a bunch of cornmeal waffles...Jrho, Daphne and I drove to the course where Kelsey and Frankie were out going hard in the paint, the wet wet cold paint. The snow stopped, and I received the last message of a back and forth conversation with my coach-me bellyaching, her trying to convince me to at least try: 

 “Let’s play what would Alison Powers do. She would say htfu and go for it; attack those conditions and tell yourself you LOVE racing in the rain...you could always stop when you want” 

Daaaaaaaamn, no one wants to let Alison Powers down. 

I also thought about this group of women I ride with with, and how I would have to hand in my tuff card if I didn’t at least start the race, so I put on my skinsuit, my silver shoe covers, my regular glasses, and did a couple pre laps. The course was pretty tame for a crit and wound through a really beautiful park with wide turns and only one real corner (and only one corner with any paint). I did a little warm up, and we rolled to the line. It was cold-36 degrees or something awful. We took the first lap pretty gingerly as a pack, and I realized how I was not properly warmed up at all.

WELP, MAY AS WELL MASTER MY OWN DESTINY THAN WAIT FOR SOMEONE ELSE...

Photo by Mike Bockserman

I attacked with the sheer purpose of getting some blood into my legs and lungs, and propelling myself into race mode. It felt good. The pace increased in general, and racing commenced. Daphne was leading the omnium, but was very close to one other rider in the standings, and needed to win the crit. She said her legs felt good and ended up racking up all the premes, which made for some tasty treats after the race. It was my job to soften the pack and keep people chasing. After another lap, I attacked again, hard, right before the corner on the back side, knowing the pack would not want to scream into the wet painted corner at full speed all together. I pushed through a lap OTF until I was re-engaged with the group. Jrho countered, awesome. When the pressure is not on me to win, I find great satisfaction in making the people around me huff and puff. There were a couple other mini attacks, but the pace slowed again, so I went for it again, right around the same corner. I spent another lap OTF. It was great. Racing with intention and aggression is amazing. The rest of the crit was more of the same, with some Annie Byrne attacks thrown in as well. In the last two laps, I went to the front and kept the pace high for the final lap lead out. The last lap went and Daphne sprinted for the win. SUCCESS. 

 

Notes

I’m really glad I did this weekend. As a learning experience, it was top notch. I did some dumb stuff, and made some major mistakes, but it’s March, and I can recover for the races I have targeted as important. It felt good to be back in the mix, and to spend a weekend on the road with a great group of leopard clad ladies. Daphne won the omnium, Kelsey won some dollars, I ate a really good pork chop, and faced some racing demons. 

I learned a rule after the TT which is pretty good for life as well as bike racing:

“If there’s a race that doesn’t go the way you’d hoped, you can get mad, angry , frustrated, and upset for as long as it takes you to drink one water bottle. After that, release the energy and move forward” —Jen Sharp

It was great to watch and cheer for my friends and teammates, and to see Chicago really dominate the women’s fields, with Annie Byrne of BFF winning the women’s ¾ Omnium and all the races in that field. Frankie was back in the road game for the first time in a while as well, and offers this advice:

“Racing on pavement is sketchy until you chill out, learn from the rad women around you and remember that you do this everyday when you’re late to work, only then the other racers are cars, so it’s actually comparatively not bad...also always bring all the snacks, all the tools, and extra bar ends” —Frankie

 

“You can dust it off and try again, try again, oooh oh” 

—Miatron 

 

When he wasn't live tweeting the women's race, Jason was smashing it in the Cat 3s.

Tour of St. Louis 2016 Results

Thanks to our hosts Amy and Justin Lebb.

 

International Women's Day

We couldn't think of a better day to do some announcing. It's almost time for the new Crew kit to drop (you're not going to believe your eyes) but kit day aside, this day is for WOMEN.

We are happy to announce the growth of the ladies side of our squad, with the addition of three of the baddest, most rowdest, most tuffest women in Chicago. Without any further a-do at all; 

Let's get down to it. 


Mary Randall

Rowdy Tuff Gurl 1.0

Photo by Snowy Mountain Photograhpy

Photo by Snowy Mountain Photograhpy

Mary needs little introduction, a fixture of the Chicrosscup and Chicago cycling scene, she has been smashing down obstacles and jumping over barriers as a mechanic and as a racer for years. Mary races cyclocross, rides trails, wrenches on bikes, loves whiskey, dances to Nicki  and we couldn't be more delighted to bring her on board. To quote Mary herself on this awesome day; 

It’s International Women’s Day and all but I don’t need a special, designated day to remind me to think of all you strong, smart, tough, positive, grumpy, rowdy, inspiring babes. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you as friends. Thanks for pushing and inspiring me every damn day. And thanks to all the women who have been working tirelessly to smash the [redacted eff bomb] patriarchy since before we were even here. 💪💪💪
— Mary's fb page

HOW COULD WE RESIST SOMEONE AS AWESOME AS THAT!

Mary wouldn't like us to add anything more, but will be spotted fiercely pushing herself to the max at every race she attends in 2016.


Kelsey Phillips

Look for my finger brace while you race...

One sacred afternoon, while powering her way through a sandpit mid-race, Mia gazed off into the distance and spotted a small item buried in the sand. What was it? Glinting up at her. In it's shining surface  she saw the reflection of her great performance, she recognized that it was a finger-brace. Smiling deeply she was bolstered by it's presence. That finger brace belonged to one Kelsey Phillips, she left it there as a marker to other racers who would come after her. Here lies Kelsey's finger-brace, may all who see it, know the way to victory. 

That was one of many moments that had the Crew saying, who is this woman, and how can we get her to join us.

Kelsey races road, cyclocross, alley-cats, organizes for the WBMA, brews beer like a LITERAL pro. She most recently was one of the master(ms-ter)minds behind the WBMA's PSA about Catcalling. KELSEY EFFING PHILLIPS;


Ellen Ryan

Ask me about my P.I days

Photo by Tenspeed Hero

Photo by Tenspeed Hero

Last, but not least, we present Ellen Ryan. Don't be fooled by that smile Ellen will not hesitate to show you who's boss if you try to take a wheel from her. You'd never suspect that behind that sweet smile, and weird gooey peanut butter concoction she's holding for some reason,  lies the heart of a lion. 

A Kitty 2 on the road, Ellen will be participating in some of the hardest racing in the region with Chicago Women's Elite Cycling team.  Ellen loves her 18lbs orange cat named Cheeto, her husband named Eric, and she's got an endless supply of ridiculous and hilarious stories to tell you. Ellen has a deep, dark past, we dare you to ask her about it.  You can sometimes spot her wearing some awesomely ridiculous costumes while out racing cyclocross. She swears it's not her forte, but we've seen some impressive bike handling skills while wearing some pretty challenging head gear.

 You better fear the ladies of the crew for this up coming season. Things just got real. 

See their profiles here, here and here


HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

 

 

ALL MY SINGLE (SPEED) LADIES, REDUX

We've had the hamster wheels in our brains all spinning over Afterglow, and we nearly forgot that we're once again going to award the women's top SS State Champ finishers, bandit-style.

That is, if you're a woman, come race the Single Speed field at Montrose this Sunday at the State Championship, be one of the first three women across the line, and we will reward you with a special, decidedly non-official State Champ trophy and some cash.

We're throwing prize parity out the window too: whatever the top three SS dudes get, you'll get that plus a dollar!