Before we get down to business:

We're a couple races into 2011, and the new kits have been deployed to rabid fanfare. A few things should jump out at you. Style counts, and so does history, so we had to get a little throwback action going in 2011. We're not saying we're going to cross the pond and take a Grand Tour, but we can think big, right? On a more serious side, this is a dedication. We've all been blessed, and possibly cursed, with an addiction for bikes. Life would be simple if we could just, say, go to the local court and get our game on with a pair of sneakers and a ball. Instead, we're hooked on a sport where you can spend a good chunk of pay getting a race-ready bike, a kit, a license, and entry into a race or two. Nevermind about the latest ceramic bearings or handmade French silk tires, as a wise man once said, "we're just trying to get to the bike race."

With that in mind, we go looking for sponsors. We're not P.R.O. and we're not a charity, but sponsor dollars go a long way towards getting us in the door and keeping the bus rolling and looking for glory. Pretty much every bike sponsor from Discovery Channel on down has discovered it's tough to make back every penny put into a team. For that, we have big thanks. We've got some of the old faithful back in our corner, and a couple new faces too. We want to introduce you, and we hope you recognize that they are not just sponsoring us, they are out there for grassroots racing, and this means most of you too.

First up, we've got the man who needs no introduction, the Best Bike Mechanic in Chicago, all-around font of knowledge, and the nicest man in the business. So what are you waiting for? Be sure to check out his new store hours, because he's got a lot going on.

Next up, we hope you never need to call Lawyer Jim. BUT if you're a Chicago area cyclist, pedestrian, or transit rider who's been a victim of injury, don't go asking the Internet what you're supposed to do, go ask a pro. We've all been tagged, and let's face it, you need all the help you can get. The other guy's insurance company has 6 lawyers determined to get you a settlement of zero.

If you rode the Cuttin' Cruiser to a race last year, there's a chance you already sampled some GK Snacks, aka the geniuses who had the bold vision to put M&Ms and Reese's Pieces in the same jar. This year, our friends from up in Waukesha are rolling out Savanna Orchards. Of course they are healthy and snackalicious, but they go one better: they've gone Paleo on us, putting BEEF JERKY IN THE TRAIL MIX. There might be some on the bus this year, but you will have to armwrestle half the team to get it. Seriously, get your own.

I don't need to tell you where to get the best Italian sub in town. They have been down for so long, you might even recognize them for being on the back of some other team's jersey back in the day. You want a Prosciutto Moz sandwich the size of your head? Go to Bari already! They even have a website now. Fraaaaank!

You've probably heard stories about the owners/operators at 4 Star Courier Collective. But did you know that for a small fee, you can call dispatch and have your messer show up in a State Champ's jersey?

If you have been pushing those physical limits or did have the misfortune of needing the services of one bike-friendly attorney (see above), you're also going to need to pay a visit to Wellness Chicago. Unfortunately, too many of the Cuttin' Crewstas have had to use their chiro, massage, and general homeopathic advice. If you're smart, you'll go before you get hit, and look after yourself right.

Need a LEED-certified building designed? Why not use a firm that's so bike friendly, they've got a bike shop downstairs. Seriously, they have been down from day one, and left many a drafting racer asking "What's an Architrave?"

If there's one thing we appreciate, it's folks that have to do their own thing. Our own Ben Fietz and photog-to-the-Prez (yes, THAT Prez. seriously, talkin Obama people) Chris Dilts are Boss Photo. You'll see more of their work here in the future, but check out their spot in the meantime. Pro with a capital P.

Jeez, we've got a crapload of sponsors! We're almost done, I promise. Stay with us.

You may remember hearing about SportCrafters at the Afterglow race last year, serving up the Grand Prize of the day: quality rollers from just down the road in Indiana. Why would you buy the fancy German ones for way more money? Seriously, they picked our brains to co-host the first Cyclocross race in their neck of the woods, and you can't sponsor grassroots racing much more than that.

Remember magazines? Unlike websites, they're shiny and heavy, you can leave them laying around, loan them to friends, and regret it when you wish you had them back. COG is one such magazine, and it's handmade just over the hill in Milwaukee.

And let's just wrap it up with a big shout out to the folks at Pickens-Kane. If you've ever caught a ride on the Cuttin' Cruiser from its oh-so-convenient spot in downtown Chicago, you have them to thank.

That's it! Thanks for having a look, and big thanks to all of our friends and sponsors in this crazy bike racing world for doing their part to keep us all going!