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DIRTy Squirrels Racing

By: Kelly Clarke  May 30, 2019

Club Feature: DIRTy Squirrels Racing out of Palatine, Illinois earned the 2018 Club of the Year designation for Best New Club. We asked the DIRTy Squirrels about how they came to be and what their goals are.

DIRTy Squirrels Racing - 2018 Club of the Year - Best New Club

How did you get your name, DIRTy Squirrels Racing?

We wanted to go off the theme "dirt" since we were focusing on off-road and cyclocross. We wanted to make the name fun. While we were thinking about it, we saw two squirrels playing in the front yard and DIRTy Squirrels seemed like a perfect combination!

How did you get your logo?

Andres loved the squirrel from Ice Age and wanted to incorporate that into the logo. He sent that picture to a friend in Colombia to make a logo of a squirrel on a bike with mud splashing around, and that's what he came up with. We loved it! The squirrel looks more like a chipmunk since the words "squirrel" and "chipmunk" both translate to the same word "ardilla" in Spanish.

What motivated you to start a new club instead of just joining one that already existed?

Andres and I wanted to race mountain bikes, and since there weren't any teams in the area that focus on MTB, we decided to start our own! We also wanted encourage our friends that ride MTB with us to try racing and offer the support to make it an enjoyable and fun experience. Because our team is small, it's easier to give closer attention and support to teammates. We know racing can be intimidating, so it's nice to have a group of friends supporting you along the way.

What’s the hardest part of starting a brand new club and how did DSR overcome it?

Starting from scratch, having to get sponsors, a tent, grow the team membership. We were very persistent and asked who we could for help. The worst answer we could get was "no." We are lucky to have such awesome sponsors including Wheel Werks Custom Bikes shop in Crystal Lake, IL, Eleven Pro Cycling Clothing in Colombia, Wolf Tooth Components, Nuun Hydration, Maxxis, FFWD Wheels, ProNet Cycling, and Albabici.

What are your favorite events?

Illinois State Championship MTB Race Series and Chicago Cyclocross Cup!

What are some goals of Dirty Squirrels Racing?

Finish the Andes Epic Colombia 3 day MTB stage race which will take place June 1-3 and four DIRTy Squirrels will be competing, win State Championship jerseys in the Illinois State Championship Race Series, continue to develop skills, speed and strength for all team members. Also be named "Best MTB Club" of 2019 :)

What’s one of your favorite things about the Illinois racing scene?

Everyone is super friendly. It's great to support the local MTB State Championship Race Series organized by the Peoria Area Mountain Bike Association. The Chicago Cyclocross Cup is incredibly organized and fun to race. We love that it draws such big crowds and makes it fun to both spectate and cheer teammates on as well as race.

Do you have any tips for someone looking to start their own club?

Be clear with your vision. Make sure the people involved share that vision. And don't give up.

What is the most valuable thing about being a member of Dirty Squirrels Racing?

We are more than just friends who bike and race together. We are a cycling family and are always there for each other. Some of the team members answers:

  • "Access to awesome people, cycling community, mechanics, shops and encouragement."
  • "Great people, and our team's diversity."

We have teammates from Colombia, Puerto Rico, Romania, Vietnam, and Malaysia which makes us quite a "hodge podge" as one teammate described it. We greatly value our team's diversity :)

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