Erik Carlson started basic training at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs where he is studying aerospace engineering.
He started riding bicycles when he was 3 years old. By the time he was in high school, he started racing mountain bikes, but he also played football and hockey.
“I was goalie and not as good as other goalies,” he said.
So he gave up football and hockey and started riding his bike more. Carlson competed in his first cyclocross race in winter 2014. He was not only a passionate cyclist but a strong cycling advocate and helped start the New England High School Cycling Association at his school.
"My biggest contribution was that I was able to get kids out on bikes who would not normally give it a try," he said.
Carlson will represent the Air Force in collegiate cyclocross racing in the fall.
Read the full story of how Erik Carlson won a JAM Fund Grant.
Hometown: Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Hometown: Florence, Massachusetts
Hometown: Putney, Vermont
Beau Guenther started riding a bike when he was six years old.
“I got obsessed with it after I watched the Tour de France,” Guenther said. “I want to be a professional cyclocross racer and race for Jeremy Powers’ team.”
Guenther is one of 13 dedicated cyclists who are receiving a JAM Fund Grant award—financial or equipment assistance to help defray the expenses related to competitive cyclocross.
“I’m very happy about the grant,” he said. “I race as hard as I could basically, and that’s why I think I got it.”
In addition to being a little ripper on the bike, Guenther is serious about cross-country skiing. He also rides a skateboard, BMX and once played trombone.
Read the full story of how Beau Guenther won a JAM Fund Grant.
Hometown: Westmoreland, New Hampshire
Jonathan Hills started racing cyclocross when he was 8 while growing up near Cincinnati, Ohio. He competed in the junior races and then cheered on his favorite cyclist Jeremy Powers, the U.S. Cyclocross National Champion and co-founder of JAM Fund. When Powers won the Pan Am Championships last November in Covington, Kentucky, Hills went to his tent.
“I asked him for an autograph, and he asked me how long I’d been racing,” Hills said. “I got an autograph and water bottle. He told me about JAM, and then I looked it up.”
Hills applied for a JAM Fund Grant and won. He is one of thirteen grant recipients who will receive financial or equipment assistance from the JAM Fund this year.
“I’m young and I’ve raced 50 races,” he said. “I love riding and competing in cross is fun.”
His mom Tiffanie, dad Peter and 9-year-old sister Alexis all race cyclocross. He competed in 15 cross races last year and in his first Cyclocross Nationals in Asheville, North Carolina in January.
Hills enters 7th grade at Westmoreland Middle School this fall.
Read the full story of how Jonathan Hills won a JAM Fund Grant.
Hometown: Mansfield, Massachusetts
Hometown: Kittery, Maine
Katherine Johnson tootled around on a bicycle as a little kid, but it wasn’t until a year ago that she really fell in love with cycling. She started riding mountain bikes in May 2015 and by last October she competed in her first cyclocross race at Orchard Cross in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire.
“It’s super cool,” she said. “The race goes through the apple orchard and the apples fall on you and good friends throw apples at you. It’s so much fun.”
Although she’s new to cyclocross, Johnson was selected this summer for a JAM Fund Grant. She is one of thirteen grant award winners who will receive financial or equipment assistance from the non-profit cycling development program.
“I’m over-the-moon-so-crazy thankful,” she said. “The JAM Fund is so cool that they recognize the younger generation’s passion for cycling and believe in us and are willing to help us out, because it’s certainly not easy to afford everything.”
Read the full story of how Katie Johnson won a JAM Fund Grant.
Hometown: Southwick, Massachusetts
Hometown: Berlin, Massachusetts
Hometown: Westborough, Massachusetts
Anna Savage plays volleyball and softball, does gymnastics, is member of the Girl Scouts and races cyclocross.
“I learned to ride when I was little and started racing when I was eight,” she said.
In 2016, Savage was awarded a JAM Fund Grant.
“My dad called me after I finished a final and told me that I won the grant,” she said. “I didn’t believe it for the first half hour, and someone said it was on Facebook. I looked and saw my name, and then I knew it was true!”
She won the Verge New England Cyclocross Series overall ranking for junior women 15 to 18 year olds. She started her own bike team called Girls First.
“I made the team to encourage girls to ride,” she said.
Read the full story of how Anna Savage won a JAM Fund Grant.
Hometown: Horseheads, New York
Hometown: Leverett, Massachusetts
Hometown: Belchertown, Massachusetts
Jaden Wise wants to be a pro cyclist and he is certainly on the right path. He started riding bikes four years ago and began racing cyclocross soon afterward.
Wise races for the Northampton Cycling Club, and last year he competed in 14 cross events. While watching his dad Greg race at Providence, Wise met JAM Fund Coach Alec Donahue.
“Al said I could send a letter and apply for a grant,” Wise said. “He said that once I’m older that might turn into a spot on the team.”
So Wise applied for a grant and got it.
Wise is dedicated to his training. When he gets home from school, he rides his trainer in the basement for an hour and a half or rides with his dad outside.
Wise is in the 8th grade at Jabish Brook Middle School where he plays soccer on Mondays and Thursdays but says his favorite sport is still cycling.
Read the full story of how Jaden Wise won a JAM Fund Grant.
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