This is an RCC ride from 2015 - it’s one of my regular routes now, and feels like the quintessential Chicago ride. Follow the lake south, enjoy the views, and get to know the city.
Distance: 42.6 miles
Elevation: 738 feet
Download the gpx route
BMX was big deal where I grew up. I wanted to build up a custom Mongoose BMX bike, but it was going to cost $306, which was a significant sum. I started cutting neighbors’ lawns that summer, and saved up the money to finally get this bike built. In the process, I mowed so many lawns that I destroyed my parents’ lawnmower. It ended up costing them more than the bike, but I learned a great lesson.
These days, I’m a composer. I co-founded Comma Music in 2001, and I focus on the side of the business that composes original music for brands, but we do pretty much everything related to sound out of our studios in Chicago, New York, and LA. I also have a sideline in creating electronic music on analog and modular synths.
There are a lot of people who have influenced my riding. At the top of the list would be my former longtime coach, Brian Conant. He was a great motivator, counselor, and friend. When it comes to style, it’s hard to beat the encyclopedic knowledge of Tony Bustamante from Velosmith Bicycle Studio. My friend Walid Abu-Ghazaleh also knows how to stay sharp – he’s a George Hincapie lookalike.
Cycling has taught me that many of our troubles are just in our heads. If you go out for a 120-mile ride, 60 miles can go by in the blink of an eye, effortlessly. Whereas if you were going out for just a 60-mile ride, at mile 50 you might be anxious for the end. The same holds true for intensity. You can suffer much more than you would ever imagine if you have the mental capacity for it. That said, at this point in my cycling life, I’m happy to dial back the intensity and ride for pure enjoyment and the camaraderie of my friends, nearly all of whom I’ve met through cycling.
In 2015, I joined with three clubmates I met through the just-formed RCC Chicago chapter to ride in the Midwest Prestige. It was brutally hot and humid that year. About 10,000ft of climbing over 120 miles. I cramped up badly about halfway into ride. These new friends selflessly nursed me for the rest of the ride. They were very patient and understanding. I suspect that’s what the Prestige rides are all about.