Homewood hosts amateur cycling races Sunday
BY CASEY TONER email@example.com July 2, 2013 10:44PM
Homewood bicycle racers Matt Kelley (left) and Shane Feehery pose inside Homewood's Goodspeed Cycles. They are set to race in the Downtown Homewood Classic on July 7. | Casey Toner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 4, 2013 6:33AM
Local racers Shane Feehery and Matt Kelley devote their entire summers to bicycling, competing with their local cycling group in more than 60 races throughout the Midwest.
Of all the heart-pumping cycling events, only one will give the two men the satisfaction of racing, and hopefully winning, in front of a home crowd.
That’s because the two Homewood residents will be racing Sunday in the initial Downtown Homewood Classic for amateur cyclists.
There will be seven races, based on skill level, with the first starting at 11:05 a.m. at Ridge Road and Dixie Highway, and the last race beginning at 4:55 p.m. The entrance fee is anywhere from $25 to $35 depending on the race, with prizes that range from $500 to almost $2,000. Registration can be made in advance at www.bikereg.com or on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m.
Feehery and Kelley are mechanics at GoodSpeed Cycles in Homewood, which is sponsoring the race.
They said the race will be fun because it will highlight the village and let them perform in front of their friends.
“It’s really nerve-racking to be fighting on your home turf,” Feehery said.
Feehery, 22, has been cycling since he was 10. Kelley, 29, is newer to the sport, having started racing three years ago.
As a child, Kelley raced go-karts with his father and then got into mountain biking as an adult. Why bicycle racing?
“I enjoy the speed,” he said.
Training for the summer tournament season is a year-round project for the men. Feehery and Kelley said they ride about 12 hours a week in the winter and spring to stay in shape for the summer racing. Combined, they have ridden in more than 1,000 races.
Both are members of the South Chicago Wheelmen, a club of about 40 amateur racers that keeps a trailer full of equipment in the parking lot of Goodspeed Cycles.
Feehery estimated that the store sells anywhere from 400 to 500 bicycles annually. The bicycles range in cost from $480 for cruising bikes to more than $14,000 for the lightweight, carbon-fiber framed racing bicycles that they will use in the upcoming Homewood race.
Prior to the race, there is a free, non-competitive race, Bike the Dixie, that will take place from 8 to 11 a.m.
Bicyclists have the option of riding a .08-mile route through downtown Homewood or a 5-mile route throughout the village. Riders are encouraged to snap photos of seven of the murals that Richard Haas has created on buildings along the race routes.
Anyone who can show that they took the photos will be entered into a raffle, and the winner receives a signed Richard Haas print of the mural he painted on the wall outside Goodspeed Cycles.
“Homewood is a beautiful town to bicycle in,” Bike the Dixie organizer Steve Buchtel said. “It’s the kind of community that’s very bicycle friendly. Older communities were built around train stations before there were cars. The blocks are short, the sidewalk connections are everywhere, and there are multitudes of residential routes that can get you all over town.”