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!