From the Desk of Jason Fergerson

On Hillsboro Eve 2013:. I’ve waited forever for the race that would be the kickoff to my 2013 racing season. These last few weeks have just slowly went by. The weather has been extremely mentally draining. I hate having to wear full balaclava’s at 20 degrees to get my Wednesday riding in. I’m hoping that this Hillsboro eve signifies the start of the actual racing season. Where no balaclava’s are required. Where gloves are made of thin wool, and somebody can actually ride well without knickers. Although shorts are unlikely for tomorrow, racing is going to happen. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself for this race, and am hoping that my teammates and I do well. However, all the preparation in the world cannot guarantee anything. Its bike racing. Its country roads with other bike riders. There’s no way to have any idea what is going to happen at mile 55. No one knows. I think its the uncertainty that is so amazing about bike racing. The fittest or fastest guy has to bring more to the table than that if they want to have any chance tomorrow. They also need Luck. And sometimes they need a lot.

From the Desk of the Good Doctor Morell

Hillsboro Roubaix is the rare road race where even category four racers can look forward to almost 60 miles of racing. The course consists of two 29 mile circuits through the narrow, twisty and gravelly farm roads of southern Illinois with each lap capped off by a loop through the hilly, brick lined streets surrounding the Free Methodist Church. The crew had Jason, Al and myself lined up with 73 other category fours (unfortunately Hillsboro shared the date this year with Barry Roubaix and for the first time in my memory the fours field failed to sell out). The plan was to do nothing but sit in for the first lap. Then on lap two we would have Al work the front, looking to insert himself into any possible breaks, while Jason shielded me from the wind. If Al was unsuccessful in finding a breakaway, Jason would set me up to attack on the steep section of hill that precedes the brick streets a few blocks from the finishing line.

As soon as the race began a few attacks flew off the front. I found myself near the rear of the peloton and was unable to see exactly how it developed, but three riders opened up a 30 or so second gap and seemed to be working well together. This had the effect of keeping the pace honest in the pack. I don’t think anyone believed the break would stay away for the next two and a half hours, but there seemed to be an effort up front to at least keep them in sight. I remained toward the rear of the race, choosing not to waste much energy on improving my position until it became necessary. This strategy almost backfired twice as I narrowly avoided crashes ahead of me in the field. Shortly before the end of the first lap the break was caught and a large peloton rolled up the hill leading to town navigating the bricks without incident.

At the beginning of the second lap Al moved to the front of the bunch and began to do his part to keep the pace high and possibly try to escape if others were interested. Al and Jason and guys from Ten Speed Hero spent a good deal of the next twenty miles eating wind at the front and though every break attempt was immediately shut down, I’m sure their tempo sent several riders off the back. Of the three Cuttin’ Crew in the race, Al certainly burned the most calories. Finally, with about ten miles to go, I made contact with Jason and settled into his ample draft. As the peloton realized no one was going to get away, the pace slowed to a crawl with five to go. With the group at the base of the gentle climb into town the pace quickened and Jason and myself maneuvered toward the front. At the short flat before the final climb Jason did two things that gave me a chance to win. First he created a space for me to get to the shoulder and have an open lane to attack. And second, he took the initiative on the base of the climb allowing me to follow the wheels of those who responded. I came around Jason and some of the others who attacked and kept pushing up the hill. By the time I took the left hander that leads to a steep downhill and the bricks I believe I was in third with a gap both ahead and behind me. As I pedaled through the downhill and the rough transition to the long stretch of uneven brick I could see I was going to catch second place. But on the long stretch of brick before the final turn those who I’d passed on the climb came roaring back. I was able to grab a wheel and keep myself in podium contention heading into the final 500 meters, but a sprinter I am not. I essentially held my position all the way to the line, missing out on 5th place by a foot and holding off 7th place by the same margin.

Even though we didn’t win and missed a payout by the narrowest of margins, we can take solace in having stuck to a plan and played our roles to the best of our abilities throughout a long and unpredictable race.

Other results for the Crew include Daphne hanging with the field in her first 1/2/3 road race for a 17th place finish, and Maria taking a solid 12th in the women’s fours.

Many thanks to the Fergusons for their hospitality on Friday night, to Andrew and Olivia for their selfless acts of heroism in the feed zone, to Jeff for helping us get out of Dodge, to Marie for the send off and the snacks, to the fellows at Comrade for their time, effort and expertise and to the International Christian Cycling Club for continuing to put on a tremendously organized honest-to-goodness road race at a time when such events are few and far between.

Courtesy of www.ficksphotos.com

Today is February 24th

That means a lot to a few.

Looking Back, Moving Forward

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.

A Glowing Review

The Afterglow is many things epic, but this year really topped it all.

Not only were riders able to mud it up on a rainy 40 degree day in December, but they were also able to help serve hungry people across Chicago during this special holiday time.

Our dude Fred of the Greater Chicago Food Depository stuck it out all day to collect donations. In his own words:

You Guys, that was amazing!  The warehouse staff couldn’t believe one bike race collected over 1 TON OF FOOD, and
that the entire van was loaded by two guys (with a little help from a two year old). I can’t tell you how much this means.
People are turning up at pantries in unheard of numbers; every single item turned in yesterday will be redistributed to people who
are in serious need.

If people still have things to drop off, they can either:
- stop by the Food Depository, 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place, Chicago, IL 60632 M-F 7Am – 6PM
- drop food in the Food Depository box on my front porch, 2416 W. Palmer.
- call a pantry near them, some accept donations directly:

Hats off and many thanks to you all!

– Cuttin Crew & Robots

Avi’s Words of Wisdom

If you haven’t heard it from five of our mutual friends, here goes nothing: Why should you race Afterglow?

1. It’s a race, and you’re a racer. That should be enough.

2. You feel empty after State Champs and the ChiCross series.

3. It’s going to be in the 40s, and it’s in the city. Ride there and save the planet.

4. The Park District is letting us trash a small golf course. Wind it up on the fairway and catch air into the sand trap! You know you want to.

5. If it were any cheaper, it would be an alleycat.

6. There will be several coffee options, any of which would be the best coffee you’ve ever tasted at a bike race. You have multiple baristas competing for your love.

7. There will be two grown men racing over the fate of a stuffed tiger.

8. You get called up to the front row for donating food, and your team will win a trophy if you donate a lot.

9. Men and women get equal payouts (zero), but there will be sweet prizes.

10. All the money that we’d normally make on this race will be donated to West Town and Blackstone youth programs. They teach neighborhood kids to ride, wrench, race, and stay out of trouble, and they literally share bikes while most of you own five. Even if you can’t make it, go ahead and register and invent some BS about how you threw your back out chopping wood.

get yr pre-registration on here: https://www.bikereg.com/Net/17636

(we will have a waiting list for the men’s 4′s)

The Evil Supergirl Rises


Support a TRUE PATRIOT and come out and cheer on Category: Sweet Justice!!

From the Kitchen of Supergirl…

There I was…just minding my own business, when out of the blue my phone got hacked and a series of sinister photos started popping up!

Seems like Supergirl decided to spam me after seeing what I had discovered. It started off innocent…

Reminded me of the good ol’ days of playful fun

And how I once used to revere that suit with the utmost respect.

But then it turned dark…

“Maybe he will use these for the overbearing geese population?” I naively thought to myself.

“Ahh, yes! A delicious pre-race dinner,” I continued…


Must.. Protect.. Freedom!!
Come watch, come race, come support!

From The Couch Of Jeff Perkins*

So… There we were. Just hangin’ out. Enjoying ourselves with a few laughs, some deep conversations, lively chats, some heart-to-hearts..

Ya know. Straight up chillin’..

Then, naturally, it came time for one of us to part ways..

I went about just soakin it all in. Then I noticed Sweet Justice left something behind..

Now. I ain’t one to snoop but something DID catch my eye..


That. Is. Uh. Strange..

What’s this all about??



*the couch being referenced is actually Nico’s

Fat Bikes for Chicago Food Depository

For those of you who didn’t win the M1/2/3 Illinois State Championship yesterday…

Remember how you were supposed to obtain a fat bike? Well let me let you in on a little secret…

The Greater Chicago Food Depository is hosting a competition between teams—-the team that brings the most food BY WEIGHT will be declared the winner and awarded a TROPHY, much akin to a certain 2010 cup! The team’s name will be engraved, and they will hold possession of it til Afterglow 2013,  when the cup is up for grabs once again. Sign up at afterglowfooddrive.blogspot.com!

AAAND, if you bring ANY amount of food, you will get the most coveted of prizes: a CALL UP. We might even give you a head start…

And stay tuned for even MORE tricks we’ve got up our sleeves, including a certain barista and a certain hero

Steps to Winning Most Fun at Afterglow

Step 1: Buy/borrow Fat Bike from your local bike shop.

Step 2: Pre-reg, then tell your friends to pre-reg.

Step 3: Relive last year’s experience as preparation.

Step 4: Roll deep with your Crew.

Step 5: Raceracerace. Then double up!

Check back the following weeks for more *secret* tips on 2012′s BRAND NEW COURSE!

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