A Note From Ben Raby

Hello ABD'rs

It's late December and I have been doing 4 hour rides in the Chicago
area. My motivation? Being hired as a professional cyclist, my dream.
I have received a contract with Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada for the
'07 season. I see it as an opportunity to continue using my talent,
desire and drive to succeed in this sport. Not simply being satisfied
with a "Pro" status on my cycling license. I feel that my career to
date has prepared me well, giving me the confidence to meet the
challenges with riding on a professional cycling team.

I would like to express gratitude to the ABD club as to my
development as a road cyclist. I started my racing career on the
mountain bike. As a junior, I raced with the Schwinn national team
where I was introduced to Mike Farrell as a coach. I remember
vividly, meeting with him and Mike Ebert one night at his old shop
for a heart-rate zone test. I straddled an awkward bike (a "road
bike") set on a Computrainer, perhaps my first time on a road bike.
Shortly after, Farrell supported me with my first road bike and began
persuading me to ride more and more on it. With his vast experience,
I feel he had an inkling that I would enjoy it. He was right. Ebert
and I soon bonded as new teammates on an early ABD cycling team. He
guided me during my start as a roadie, as well as Farrell, who mainly
focused on me not being a "Fred".

The years have quickly past. I've spent some of the years going back
and forth to Europe and Latin America but continuously racing my bike
and being adventurous at the same time. ABD has grown and Prairie
Path Cycles has expanded, but their fundamentals on developing young
cyclists have not. It's been proved just recently with Reid and Bryce
both signing as well. It's a phenomenal club to be involved with and
for those looking to grow in this sport and who live in the Chicago
area, ABD is the cycling team to start with and begin growth as a

I am off to Boulder, Colorado at the beginning of the year. My wife
and I will treat it as our base for next season. There have been some
small changes with Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada and they wanted to use
Boulder as a center for some of their riders in addition to
California. I may have to put a small plow on the front of my bike
for the first few months, but perhaps just living at altitude will
get me in shape and I won't have to worry about riding in the snow.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Ben Raby.


Reid Mumford signs with new US Pro Squad!

Extra! Extra!  

Check out the Decmeber 13th "Latest Cycling News" at Cyclingnews.com to read about the latest ABD'er to ink a pro deal! Local boy and one of our own, Reid Mumford,  signed on with the newly established Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast Pro Cycling Team for 2007.  Congratulations, Reid!


- ABD Reloads for 2007- Announces Elite Team Roster

With last week's announcement of the 8th annual ABD Indoor Time Trial Series (the largest event of it's kind in the U.S.), the members of ABD Cycle Club are hard at work preparing for another successful run in 2007. They have their work cut out for them after a productive 2006 season that included organizing 21 sanctioned events, winning their first USA Cycling National Title with junior rider Jackie Kurth, and the Men's Elite team finishing as the numer one amatuer team in the country in USAC's National Racing Calendar team standings(and even received a 2006 Druber Award to top it all off).

Much of the Elite team's success was due to riders Frank Dierking, Bryce Mead and Reid Mumford - and the club is very excited that all three of these riders have taken the step up to bigger programs for next year. Mead recently signed with the US Continental Jelly Belly squad and Mumford is also finalizing arrangements with an undisclosed Continental squad. In addition, ABD alumni Ben Raby (2002-2004) recently inked a deal with the KodakGallery.Com/Sierra Nevada team and Frank Pipp (2003) moved to Healthnet, the U.S.'s number one Pro squad. The most winning ABD rider to date, sprinter John Puffer, is undecided on his plans for next season. "We have a lot of horsepower to try and replace," says team manager, Mike Ebert," but I'm very happy for all of those guys. ABD is all about developing riders, and every club member can take pride in seeing our riders move to the next level."

With rider development in mind, the team looked for riders with a mix of experience and talent that could be ready to head to the professional ranks within a year or two as well. They've found just such a mix in riders Ryan Baumann (Madison, WI), Josh Carter (Fairview Heights,IL), Jeff Schroetlin (Decatur, IL), Alex Sharon (Wheaton, IL) and Brett Stewart (Munster, IN). Both Carter and Schroetlin have raced the Midwest circuit and numerous NRC races for the past few years, whereas Stewart and Sharon are 21 year old ABD "veterans" who started out with the club as Category 4 riders and moved their way up. 20-yer old Baumann is a very promising young rider who's worked under the guidance of Jelly Belly Pro rider Nick Reistad for the past season.

The ABD Club at large, with over 200 members and growing, is also looking forward to another busy and successful season. Winter training classes in the ABD Cycling Center at Prairie Path Cycles are almost completely booked through March and the club has plans for promoting at least 12 outdoor races once the Midwest weather warms up. Ebert adds, "There are so many dedicated people not only in our club but all over the upper-Midwest. Everyone is working hard to ensure that 2007 is the best schedule we can offer for riders at all levels." More details and the most up-to-date Midwest calendar are available at www.ABDcycling.com.


ABD'ers Play in the Snow at IL Cross Championships

A hearty congratulations to the three ABD riders who participated in Sunday's IL State 'Cross Championship at Montrose Park:

Gina "didn't she just have a baby" Kenny and blonde-bombshell Jonathan Tenney represented the blue and orange in the Women's 4 and Men's 3, respectively, and Tom Knoebl brought home the hardware with a silver medal (3rd Overall) in the Adidas Men's 45+ race!


2007 ABD App/Renewal & Volunteer Sign-Ups

The 2007 ABD Membership Application/Renewal Form is available!  Please take a moment to read through the updated information and apply for or renew your membership for next season.

New for 2007! We're building on our Standard, Silver and Gold membership levels with the option to use your ABD volunteer credits in three different ways: race for FREE, stock up on PowerBar goodies, or redeem credits for ABD Voler Clothing! Some restrictions apply.

We are also currently seeking ABD'ers to help out with several of our annual duties, and the ones right around the corner include:
- Assistant Membership Coordinator: Excel knowledge helpful 
- Indoor Time Trial Pre-Race Volunteer Coordinator
- Indoor TT On-Site Volunteer Coordinator: (to share duties with Pre-Race coordinator)
- ABD Reports Coordinator: will be responsible for posting reports to the ABD site.  No coding or web design experience required, but web savvy-ness is a plus.

Last but not least, please be sure to carefully read through the ABD Rider Release & Code of Conduct on the final page.



Another ABD'er goes Pro!

The KodakGallery 2007 roster posted at Cyclingnews.com this morning includes perpetual ABD'er Ben Raby!  Congrats, Ben!


A Message From Big Bird

Dear friends.

First off, thank you for taking time out to read what the Bird has to squak about. The past two seasons with ABD have been life changing. Seriously — I went from being the Big Bird by only a few people to having little kids coming up to me asking for an autograph. At first I would sign with my real name, Bryce, but this had very little market value. The "Bird" autograph is now going for 25.00 dollars, while the bid on the more rare "Big Bird" autograph is now at $52.43 on eBay. Quite impressive if I must say so myself.

Ok... to the point. The past two season's with ABD squad have been life changing. I made some great friends in those two years, and met a lot of interesting people. When racing in the Chicago-land area it was always great to be cheered on by so many club members. The ABD club is by far one of the most positive clubs that I have ever seen, and I truly hope that the members will continue this great run.

As of Dec 31. Of this year I will sadly be hanging up my ABD gear, and I do mean sadly. I have had many special moment's wearing the orange and blue gear. On January 1 2007 I will join the Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team. It's long been a dream that has now come true. My race schedule will change, but I do hope to see many of you when I race in the area and hope to stay friends with many of you... and if it's not to much to ask for, please be supportive and cheer for the Bird.

Last, but not least, I owe a special thanks to a few people:

Mike Farrell, hope you can still help me with my Trek bike order's.

Mike Ebert, thanks for everything, even in California.

Jenni Mumford, the greatest soigneur ever. EVER

The hit squad. I will always have a special place in my heart for you guys. Call me.

Big Bird

A.K.A. Bryce Mead

Sterling, Il.


Calendar & ABD Race Programs

It's been very busy at the "ABD office" since I posted our Events Calendar last Saturday. Both ABR and the USCF released their tentative calendars right around the same time, and it became apparent (as it always does this time of year) that there needs to be a way to consolidate this schedule into one that makes the most sense for riders and race organizers.
So, with a lot of help from the ABD Board, Oz on the website, and people inside both ABR and the USCF, we've started a project to open the lines of communication between all the promoters in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin to develop a solid, cohesive racing calendar - independent of sanctioning affiliation. The response has been very good so far, and you can see the fruits of everyone's labors at the calendar section of the ABD website.

Speaking of the ABD website, Jeff Bird has also been diligently working with me on integrating ways to keep it updated better with what our very active club is doing — from Race reports to the Photo Gallery to the growing Triathlete portion of the club to the "Wheelers" rides and even this news feed! You can see some of his work-in-progress at our new home: ABDcycling.com

In other changes, I'd like to fill you in on the current status of the Elite Team: I'm very excited to report that both Bryce and Reid are moving to the pro ranks for 2007, and we can only hope they remember us now that their famous! Bryce will be riding for Jelly Belly next season, and Reid is finalizing things with his new team. Frankie has also moved on to a program with a lot of potential, A&F-Inferno, but he should be at enough races in the area we won't miss those shiny legs for too long. Luca Fagundes is focusing on going back to school right now, but we hope he'll be flying the ABD colors at a few races next year. John Puffer's business, MemorialSolutions.com, is demanding more and more of his time... but the thought of big races always motivates him to start training again so we hope the updated calendar will get him moving.
Fortunately, ABD's own (since they were Cat. 4's) are ready to step it up. Next season Alexander Sharon and Brett Stewart will be racing a lot more with us "senior" ABD'ers - which includes Rob Jungels, Dylan Lewis, Lucas Wall and myself. Continuing in ABD's tradition of athlete development, I'm also currently scouting a number of young Midwest who may join the squad for 2007.

And last but certainly not least, some announcements on the topic of athlete development. As you noticed in the Events Calendar, we've already scheduled seminars, clinics and a few skills & drills sessions to help everyone cover the basics. However, we are currently seeking nominations for "point people" to help coordinate different categories of racers within the club: the Juniors, the Masters, the Category 3's, and two smaller groups of Cat. 4's - the Masters 4's and the Juvenile 4's (who I'm sure will ride together often, it's just easier to coordinate smaller groups-- and sorry I couldn't come up with a better name!)
The appointed "point-person" for each group will be responsible for organizing a couple of early season training rides, rallying the troops around 6 to 8 select events (TBD at the Feb. 24th Calendar Seminar), managing sponsorship product for that group (PowerBars, Emergen-C, spare parts), and acting as a liason between the group and Farrell or myself in helping to plan race strategy. Send me an e-mail with your nominations by Decemeber 1st!