More from this month’s “Last Word” column with Andrew Starykowicz and Ben Collins, which can be found on page 96 of the July 2013 edition of LAVA. The two sat down at Starykowicz’s home in North Suburban Chicago home after a long day of training to talk about life in Wauconda, Ill., training in the winter and racing in the rain.

Ben Collins: I don’t know what you do aside from train up here (in Wauconda, Ill.). I would go crazy.

Andrew Starykowicz: What’d you mean?

BC: There’s just nothing around. I don’t know; I’m a city boy. Are there any bars nearby?

AS: Oh yeah. Right in downtown Wauconda.

BC: There’s a downtown Wauconda? But then you have to drive to the bar.

AS: No you don’t. There’s a little bus—a local drunk bus. It’ll take you home.


AS: There’s no hiding from the weather around here. In the summer, you can get a sweltering day with crazy winds. When you’re riding through cornfields, you can’t hide from any of that. And it’s the same way in the winter. You can’t get away from the conditions; you just have to deal with them.

BC: I spent most of the winter on my trainer. It might be boring at times, but it’s a great workout.

AS: I never ride my trainer. My most memorable race of all-time was the U.S. Open in Dallas in 2007 or 2008—whatever year it was raining and freezing.

BC: I think that was 2009. I remember that race.

AS: I just remember everyone was riding in a pack because no one wanted to put his face into the wind and rain.

BC: Yeah, because it was freezing.

AS: I just rode right to the front and started pulling away. I was thinking, “this is great! It’s just like being back home!”


AS: I have everything I need here. My wife has a great job. We bought a house and fixed it up and it’s everything we wanted it to be. I really don’t feel like I get held back here. The weather sometimes forces me to alter my training a little—maybe if it’s really bad I’ll ride two hours instead of three—but that also helps me pace myself throughout the year. I don’t over train early in the spring and that gives me more energy later in the year. I like having four seasons.

BC: Not me. I’m a wimp. I like the Northwest—doesn’t get that cold, doesn’t get that hot.

AS: Yeah, but it rains all the time.

BC: The rain isn’t that bad. Except in the middle of winter when it’s barely above freezing and pouring rain. This winter [in Chicago] has been rough.

AS: What? This was an easy winter. Stay here a couple of years and you’ll get a real winter.

BC: I felt like the weather was really nice while I was taking some time off—like around December—and then it got really bad as soon as I started training again.

AS: Maybe you should’ve started training earlier.

BC: Absolutely not. There’s never any need to train in December. We took a nice ski trip instead.