JAM Fund Team 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The JAM Fund announces its 2017 cyclocross team with the return of its four elite riders Jack Kisseberth, Rhys May, Scott Smith and Natalie Tapias. Kisseberth made a name for himself this past year with his fourth place finish ahead of some of the biggest names in cyclocross at the Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut. He crushed a field of 53 pro riders to win day one of Supercross Cup and raced to podiums in five other pro races. Kisseberth represented the Team USA at the World Cup in Hoogerheide in January. He will certainly be looking for a pro contract in the near future.

This summer, Kisseberth and Smith spent several weeks racing in Belgium as part of their pre-cross season training. Smith is the longest team member, racing for JAM for the past four years. May and Tapias are returning to the JAM Fund elite team for a second year. Both have been on the local race circuits this summer and are amped for a strong cross season.

JAM Fund's development team includes returning riders Trent Blackburn, Ian Gielar, Chris Niesen and Kale Wenczel. New to the devo squad this year are Mark Hewitt and Tim Willis and junior riders Chris Norvold and Daniel Vaughn. All riders receive training under JAM Fund Coach Alec Donahue, who is arguably one of the best cyclocross coaches in the country. Donahue coaches pro cyclist Ellen Noble, the U23 U.S. National and World Cup Champion.

You can read more about the team at jamcycling.org/riders.

Pictured above from left to right: Coach Alec Donahue, Kale Wenczel, Trent Blackburn, Rhys May, Jack Kisseberth, Scott Smith, Natalie Tapias, Chris Norvold, Tim Willis, Daniel Vaughn and Ian Gielar. Missing: Chris Niesen.

 

8th Annual Grand Fundo is coming soon!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Vicky Sama

JAM Fund Media Coordinator

(707) 362-1420

jamcycling@gmail.com

 

Registration is Now Open for the Eighth Annual Grand Fundo!

Ride your bike with 4x U.S. Cyclocross National Champion Jeremy Powers

and friends on Saturday, July 22

 

SOUTHAMPTON, MASSACHUSETTS (June 20, 2017) Catch the allstars of cyclocross at the JAM Fund’s eighth annual GRAND FUNDO, the one-day bike ride through the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Leading this year’s ride is four-time U.S. Cyclocross National Champion Jeremy Powers and the JAM Fund riders and friends. The ride starts at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 22 at Glendale Ridge Vineyard in Southampton (previously Black Birch Vineyard), located in Powers’ own neighborhood. After the ride, celebrate with a delicious barbecue and beer under the big tent on the vineyard grounds. All registered riders will receive a pint glass with the signature JAM Fund logo to take home as a reminder of the special day. More than 400 cyclists are expected to participate.

“What’s great about the Fundo is all the smiling faces, awesome music, food, drinks and beers,” Powers said. “But what I love most is that everybody comes to our area, and before the ride and we take pictures, hang out and then head out for a nice day of riding. The best part is seeing everyone.”

Because they were so dialed in, this year’s Grand Fundo will follow the same routes as last year, although, you never know what Powers has under his jersey sleeve. He’s been out scouting new roads this summer. When you register, select to ride one of the three distances: 39-mile Mini Fundo, 65-mile Grand Fundo or 85-mile Grand Hundo. As in previous years, all rides have rest stops fully stocked with the JAM Fund’s world famous peanut butter, Fluffernutter, bacon and blueberry sandwiches. Riders can stay refreshed with plenty of drinks from Nuun Hydration. It wouldn’t be a fun Fundo without the stocked-to-the-hilts ice cream truck, and SRAM will supply support vehicles to help those who have mechanicals along the way. Of course, there’s the giant pig roast and raffle where ticket holders can win special prizes including the Focus Mares bike that Jeremy Powers rode during National Championships! All that and more exciting stuff to provide an amazing ride experience!

The Grand Fundo is JAM Fund’s biggest fundraiser of the year. All proceeds go to the non-profit’s development program that helps young cyclists achieve their goals and be better ambassadors in the community. The fundraiser allows JAM Fund to teach riders life skills and provides the support needed to send the team to the highest level races such as National and World Championships. But it’s not only about the competition: Traveling introduces the riders to different cultures in a way that they can better understand their own. In addition, the JAM Fund will award grants to more than a dozen young cyclists to help them overcome financial barriers to the sport. The grant recipients will receive cash, equipment or both at the post-ride barbecue. So participation in the Grand Fundo is for a great cause!

To register for the GRAND FUNDO, go to https://www.bikereg.com/jam-fund-grand-fundo.


About the JAM Fund

JAM Fund is a 501c3 organization created in 2003 by Jeremy Powers, Alec Donahue and Mukunda Feldman, three great friends brought together in their passion for cycling. JAM Fund’s mission is to help motivated, young cyclists to reach their potential on and off the bike, while not being limited by finances. This is reached through close mentoring and involvement in the cycling community. Grants are issued to young cyclists in and around the Pioneer Valley who show the interest, determination and desire to be their best. To learn more, visit www.jamcycling.org.

For media: Journalists interested in riding the Fundo should contact Vicky Sama at the number above. Use of attached photos please courtesy Meg McMahon.

Fundo Fundraisers

Ben Berry is getting ready for his fourth Grand Fundo. He's an avid supporter of the JAM Fund's challenging road ride through Western Massachusetts, and this year, he'll be riding with us again on July 22.

"It's my favorite event of summer," he said.

Berry will drive from his home in Ohio to the Pioneer Valley for the one-day bike ride and says the trip is totally worth it.

"By riding the Fundo, I'm helping cover race entries, equipment and travel expenses and other needs of these budding athletes in a sport that, let's face it, isn't always the most financially rewarding," Berry said. "All you have to do is look at the list of former JAM Fund cyclists, and you see them on podiums all over the county, like national champions Stephen Hyde and Ellen Noble, to name a few. These athletes all directly benefit from their time on the JAM Fund with the support and coaching offered and the life skills taught. "

For the second year in a row, Berry is registered as a Fundo "fundraiser." He has already raised more than $250, and that means he'll get VIP treatment with a special invitation to the pre-Fundo gourmet dinner with four-time Cyclocross National Champion and JAM Fund Co-founder Jeremy Powers and friends.

"It's a highlight of the trip," Berry said. "The food and wine are superb, and most importantly I get to spend some quality time with good people. It's a wonderful night."

Lesli Cohen of Worcester, Massachusetts will be riding her fifth Grand Fundo this year. She and Berry rode the Mini course together last year.

"Apart from riding, my favorite part of the Fundo is seeing all the returning familiar faces and making new friends," Cohen said. "It is a super fun time, and I always look forward to seeing and riding with Ben and hanging out with everyone from the JAM Fund."

As a Fundo fundraiser, Lesli Cohen received extra raffle tickets at the 2015 Grand Fundo where she won an original t-shirt signed by JAM Fund Alum Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes). Photo by Meg McMahon.

As a Fundo fundraiser, Lesli Cohen received extra raffle tickets at the 2015 Grand Fundo where she won an original t-shirt signed by JAM Fund Alum Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes). Photo by Meg McMahon.

Like Berry, Cohen is also a Fundo fundraiser who receives special perks for raising funds for JAM Fund.

"I love the intimate feel of the VIP dinner, and getting to spend time with all of the other dedicated Fundo supporters in the gorgeous winery setting," she said.

You don't have to be a fundraiser to ride the Grand Fundo. But if you'd like to extend your support, you can do so with just one click. Mark the "fundraiser" box when you register for the Grand Fundo. Now your co-workers, family and friends can support your miles! If you raise more than $250, you will be invited to the private gourmet dinner with the JAM Fund and invited pros on Friday night before the big ride. You'll also get raffle tickets where you'll have the chance to win Jeremy Powers' bike and lots of other great prizes! The more you raise, the more perks you'll get as our show of thanks.

See you on July 22!

Above: Young girl wins a raffle prize, by Meg McMahon; Brad Huff and Jeremy Powers call the grand prize winner of the Focus Mares bike, by Meg McMahon; Jeremy Powers toasts supporters at the VIP dinner, by Vicky Sama.

Header photo: Ben Berry thanks JAM Fund for a prize after Brad Huff and Jeremy Powers announce Berry as a raffle winner. July 2014. Photo by Meg McMahon.

 

 

 

JAM Grant Countdown

Ben Jankowski is passionate about food and cycling and wants to combine both in his future. He's a 20-year-old sophomore at UMass studying resource economics and food farming. He manages a student farm, is vice president of the university's cycling club and volunteers at local cycling events to inspire kids to ride. It's no wonder that last year he won a JAM Fund Grant.

"The grant means that those of us who want to test ourselves and grow as athletes have the ability to do so," he said.

In addition to the grant funding Jankowski received, he built a special relationship with the JAM Fund crew.

"It doesn’t get much better than being able to pedal with the rad riders in the JAM fam," he said. "I was able to follow their structure and learn by watching some of the best bike handlers in the nation. I feel myself getting stronger and see improvement in my technical skills. I owe most of that to the JAM fam and to the crew of cyclists out here in the valley. The grant let me meet these groups."

Jankowski encourages other young, passionate cyclists to apply for a JAM Fund Grant.

"The JAM Grant incorporates cyclists into a team that runs on holistic goals, which is what I love most," he said. "This is a team that trains in the physical sphere, and personal, by developing athletes who are inspiring community builders. The last few weeks, for example, the team volunteered at the NCC Kids CX events, which aims to show kiddos how fun cyclocross and riding your bike is. Groups like JAM are opening doors into the cycling world. Ride your bike. Have fun. Get sendy. Get stronger. Become part of the family. It’s pretty sweet!"

JAM Fund Grants are made possible by generous donations and from rider participation in the non-profit's biggest fundraiser, the Grand Fundo. All proceeds from the Fundo bike ride go toward supporting the JAM Fund cycling and grant programs. JAM Fund is accepting grant applications now. The deadline is June 10. 

 

 

What the JAM Fund Grant Means to Me...

The JAM Fund is ready to award its annual JAM Fund Grant to young, enthusiastic cyclists who are devoted (like we are) to cyclocross. The grant comes in the form of funding and/or equipment in an effort to get kids to more races and more involved in the cycling community. Grant applications will be accepted until June 10, and we will formally present the winners at our July 22 Grand Fundo. How has our grant made a difference? Here's what past grant recipients have to say:

Mira Fowler

"The first grant I got motivated me to race cyclocross. I got a focus frame, helmet, clothes and money that allowed me to start racing. The second one helped me learn to race more independently and get even more involved. The JAM Fund really made my cyclocross seasons great."

Aiden Mapel

"The JAM Fund Grant means an awesome team that will support you through the whole season! The grant helped me get equipment to make my racing possible. The team will help you with tips at races and if you have a last minute bike problem, they will help you fix it so you can still race."

Anna Savage

"After I got the grant, I met more JAM riders and they were so supportive. The whole team is like one big family, and when I received the grant they made me feel like a part of the family. I will definitely apply for another JAM Fund Grant because last cross season was one of the best I ever had."

Kale Wenczel

"The grant gave me support in getting to where I want to be in cycling. It means another year of being pushed to be better by everyone on JAM. I'm not sure how I would have made it through the season without my grant last year. I used it to pay for races and my expensive UCI license."

Jaden Wise

"I felt rewarded that all my hard work payed off by getting the JAM Fund Grant, which changed my cyclocross season in many ways. It made me train a lot harder in the offseason. I felt very happy and proud that I got the grant."

 

[All photos by Vicky Sama]

 

Get Ready for the Grand Fundo on July 22

Mark your calendar! Our eighth annual JAM Fund Grand Fundo is Saturday, July 22! Our one-day bike ride through the scenic Pioneer Valley is a fundraiser for our cycling development program. Saturday's ride starts and finishes at the Black Birch Vineyards in Southampton, Massachusetts. Five hundred cyclists are expected to participate. There are three ride distances of 39, 65 or 85 miles, so riders have the option of a route that fits their ability. Four-time National Cyclocross Champion Jeremy Powers, who lives in Southampton, will once again lead the ride and pedal alongside cyclists of all different levels. Powers is the co-founder of JAM Fund along with his two close friends Alec Donahue and Mukunda Feldman.

The rides are fully supported with rest stops loaded with food, hydration drinks, aid stations, our famous ice cream truck, and SRAM professional support vehicles. The route has spectacular views and the long loop should take advanced riders about four hours. Immediately after the Fundo, riders are treated to a barbecue, pig roast and raffle where participants can win incredible prizes. All registered riders will also get swag to remember the special day, and most importantly, your participation helps support JAM Fund.

Everything you need to know about the FUNDO can be found here: http://www.jamcycling.org/jam-grand-fundo/

MEDIA CONTACT: Vicky Sama, jamcycling@gmail.com

Above photo by Meg McMahon.

Kisseberth's Best Finish Yet

Jack Kisseberth had the race of a lifetime at Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut. During the start of the elite men's race on Sunday, Kisseberth was in an ideal top-ten position with the big names in cyclocross, all struggling to cross the slippery Break Bonker Hill. While eventual race winner, JAM Alum Stephen Hyde (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld) got a gap with a fast run up, Kisseberth pursued with a ferocious chase and was riding in second position behind Hyde by the end of the the third lap.

"I was going 150%," Kisseberth said. "The next lap I dropped to 90%. It was hard."

Kisseberth kept an amazingly fast pace and finished just off the podium in fourth place. He crossed the line 56 seconds behind Hyde. 

With six laps to go, Jack Kisseberth was on the wheel of last year's U23 national champion Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz Racing). Kisseberth passed Ortenblad and held him off to finish eight seconds ahead in fourth place. Photo by Vicky Sama.

With six laps to go, Jack Kisseberth was on the wheel of last year's U23 national champion Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz Racing). Kisseberth passed Ortenblad and held him off to finish eight seconds ahead in fourth place. Photo by Vicky Sama.

Scott Smith had a rough start, but his strong technical skills helped him glide over the frozen ruts and fly down the icy descents. Smith passed more than half the field and finished in 13th place.

"It was hard to pass on the course with all the ruts and bumps," Smith said. "I felt good." 

"Scott, Jack and Hyde practice riding really technical stuff a lot," said Coach Alec Donahue. "That's why a course like this didn't faze them."

Scott Smith rides the extreme descent leading into the finish line, making it look easy. Photo by Vicky Sama.

Scott Smith rides the extreme descent leading into the finish line, making it look easy. Photo by Vicky Sama.

JAM alums Jeremy Durrin finished eleventh and Anthony Clark got 25th.

The cycling press and race announcers said Kisseberth was the story of the day.

Watch the replay of the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships.

 

 

JAM/NCC Juniors First Time at Nationals

Four JAM/NCC junior riders made their debut in Cyclocross National Championships this weekend at Riverside Park in Hartford, Connecticut.

Jaden Wise, 14, lined up at 9 o'clock in the morning with 62 riders in the junior 13-14 category while temperatures dropped below freezing. He had a strong start, moving up quickly through the pack from his third-row call up position. Things were looking pretty good until he hit traffic at the base of Break Bonker Hill, which was covered in frozen-solid, cement-hard ruts.

"I got caught behind a group of riders that had a hard time running the off camber," he said. "I got passed by a lot of people."

Wise won ten races this cyclocross season but says National Championships were a new challenge. He finished on the lead lap in 25th place.

"It was fun, hard and very different than the other races that I have done," he said. "It was nationals, and there were kids from all over the country."

Mira Fowler rides the loops closest to the river during the Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut. Photo by Vicky Sama.

Mira Fowler rides the loops closest to the river during the Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut. Photo by Vicky Sama.

Mira Fowler, 14, was also making her debut at nationals and raced in the junior girls 13-14 event.

"I really liked the course," she said. "It was my first nationals and I can't wait for more to come."

Aiden Mapel "suitcases" his bike over the barriers just as the snow starts to fall. Photo by Vicky Sama.

Aiden Mapel "suitcases" his bike over the barriers just as the snow starts to fall. Photo by Vicky Sama.

By noon on Saturday, it was dumping snow as Aiden Mapel, 15, lined up to start racing with the junior men 15-16. He was bundled up just enough to keep warm to finish in 58th in a large juniors field.

Katie Johnson finished 13th in the junior 15-16 on Saturday.

Katie Johnson finished 13th in the junior 15-16 on Saturday.

Katie Johnson, 16, raced in white-out conditions in the junior women's 16-17, where she finished 13th. 

"My favorite part was the ruts," she said. "It really, really pushed me physically and it all came down to the mental game of how hard and clean to ride."

Johnson says the most difficult part of the race was the Bonk Breaker Hill, where junior riders traversed the base of the hill rather than climb it as other categories did in previous days.

"It was hard to run along the top without slipping and hard to see what was ahead," Johnson said. "Overall, the experience was amazing. This is going to be a race I will talk about for ages."

Course conditions were a bit muddier on Friday when Coach Alec Donahue raced with the Master's 40-44. The frozen ruts made the Break Bonker Hill mostly unrideable and that meant a lot of running. Donahue had a decent race finishing in the top ten.

Jack Kisseberth rode the course on Saturday evening in advance of Sunday's championship race. Weather conditions were harsh. The snow was blowing sideways making visibility difficult. The snow is expected to stop before his elite race. Photo by Vicky Sama

Jack Kisseberth rode the course on Saturday evening in advance of Sunday's championship race. Weather conditions were harsh. The snow was blowing sideways making visibility difficult. The snow is expected to stop before his elite race. Photo by Vicky Sama

On Sunday, JAM/NCC riders will be racing in several events. Jack Kisseberth and Scott Smith will represent the team in the elite men's race at 3:00 p.m. Natalie Tapias will race the women's elite at 1:15 p.m.. Trent Blackburn and Case Butler will be in the U23 race at 11:30 a.m.. Anna Savage will race in the junior 17-18 that goes off at the same time as the women's U23 but will be scored separately. Her race is at 10:00 a.m.. All of Sunday's races will be live-streamed starting at 9:00 a.m. on USA Cycling Youtube or at Cyclocross Magazine.

Time for Cyclocross National Championships!

JAM/NCC is revved up to race at the Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut this week. Leading the charge for the elite men will be Jack Kisseberth and Scott Smith, who will race on Sunday, January 8. Kisseberth is coming off a strong season, winning the first day at Supercross Cup in November and landing on the podium both days of the NBX Gran Prix of Cross. Kisseberth will be looking to best his impressive performance at last year's Cyclocross Nationals in Asheville, North Carolina where he finished in eleventh place.

Jack Kisseberth on his last lap behind JAM Fund alum Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes) at the 2016 Cyclocross National Championships in Asheville, North Carolina. Kisseberth finished just outside of the top ten. Photo by Vicky Sama.

Jack Kisseberth on his last lap behind JAM Fund alum Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes) at the 2016 Cyclocross National Championships in Asheville, North Carolina. Kisseberth finished just outside of the top ten. Photo by Vicky Sama.

Smith has been training this winter in the snow and has the technical skills needed for the Hartford course, which has several steep off-camber sections that could be an even bigger challenge depending on weather conditions. Smith got fourth at last year's Cyclocross Nationals in the U23. This time, he'll be racing in the elite field.

Natalie Tapias will represent JAM/NCC in the elite women's race on Sunday. Tapias joined JAM Fund in 2016 and competed in 22 races, on the start line nearly every weekend during the cross season. She left her corporate job last summer to dedicate her time to racing cross with JAM Fund and shows consistent strength and improvement that will surely pay off this week.

Rhys May focuses on the course ahead at the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross on Dec. 3.

Rhys May focuses on the course ahead at the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross on Dec. 3.

Rhys May is a crusher with one gear and will be racing single speed nationals on Saturday. She won the single speed race at the Ice Weasels Cometh last month. If that's any indicator, we could see May on the podium again this week.

JAM/NCC will have a solid presence in Sunday's U23 race with development team riders Trent Blackburn and Case Butler. Blackburn has been on the podium a handful of times this season in the local races and finished in the top-fifteen in the bigger pro events including 14th at the Northampton International. He is a strong technical rider who jumps most obstacles and was the bunny hop champion at Cyclocross of White Park. He won the Cat 2/3 at KMC Cross Festival, was 5th in the U23 at the Gran Prix of Gloucester and in his last race of 2016, he finished third among the U23 at NBX Gran Prix of Cross.

We can expect Butler to be in close range of Blackburn on Sunday. The two have raced consistently all season, nearly neck-and-neck in their race finishes. Butler has several top-twenty pro race finishes in his resume and has been close to the podium in the U23 field. Like Blackburn, Butler is focused and determined, which could result in a great finish at nationals.

Junior riders Anna Savage, Katie Johnson and Jaden Wise will be racing in the JAM/NCC kit this week as well. All three have had an excellent cross season. Wise, who is 14, is practically unbeatable with ten victories, winning nearly every junior race he's entered this season. He scored back-to-back wins on both days of the KMC Cross Festival, Gran Prix of Gloucester, Northampton International and NBX Gran Prix of Cross.

Savage, 17, is a dedicated cross racer. She finished 26 races in the 2016 season and more than 130 cross races over the past six years. Most impressively, she has only DNF'd once in all those years. Savage won a handful of local races last year and finished second in the Verge New England Cyclocross Series.

Katie Johnson races to third place at the Ice Weasels Cometh on Dec. 10. Photo by Katie Busick.

Katie Johnson races to third place at the Ice Weasels Cometh on Dec. 10. Photo by Katie Busick.

Katie Johnson, 16, is in her first full cyclocross race season and already graced the podium several times. She finished first and second in the junior women 15-16 at the KMC Cross Festival in October. She also races in Cat 4. We expect to see some strong results from all our juniors.

We'll also be watching Kale Wenczel (Joe's Garage) and Aiden Mapel (JAM/NCC) who received JAM Fund grants last summer and have been racing and training closely with the JAM Fund crew. Wenczel, 19, won Cat 3 races early in the 2016 cross season, including big victories at KMC Cross Festival and Gran Prix of Gloucester. He moved up to the pro fields mid-season and we can expect to see him race his heart out in the U23 on Sunday.

And talking about heart, we are excited to support Aiden Mapel, 15, who will race in his first National Championships, taking to the start line with the junior men 15-18.  

Coach Al Donahue rode the Hartford course over the weekend with several of the JAM Fund crew and says it requires total focus. He finished 6th at last year's Cyclocross Nationals and will be racing again this year in the Master's 40-44.

We'll also be cheering on JAM Fund Co-founder Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) and JAM Fund alums Ellen Noble (Aspire Racing), Stephen Hyde (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld), Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes) and Jeremy Durrin (NeonVelo). 

Sunday's elite races will be streamed live at USACycling.org and we'll bring you results and stories of our JAM Fund crew throughout the week. See you in Hartford!

 

NBX Gran Prix

Jack Kisseberth (JAM/NCC) graced the podium for yet another weekend in elite cyclocross. He finished second place on day two of the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross in Warwick, Rhode Island. Kisseberth led an aggressive race with series leader Curtis White (Cannondale/Cyclocross World) on his wheel for much of the race.

"I felt like I rode better but Curtis was just a little stronger," Kisseberth said. "He opened a small gap on the sand with about two laps to go. I was able to keep it around 10 seconds, but could not close it. "

White said it took a full lap to get away from Kisseberth.

"It was a long, concerted effort," White said. "There were a few spots I felt he was slipping a little bit but a lot of places he was strong. He was really there the whole time."

The previous day, Kisseberth finished third in a tight sprint with former JAM Fund brethren Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo). Kisseberth suffered a flat, pitted and caught back up to Durrin but didn't have the gas for the last kick.

"I'm fairly happy with the races," Kisseberth said. "I got beat by Durrin in a sprint for second on Saturday, and losing a sprint is always frustrating."

Jack Kisseberth talks to Dirtwire TV about his close finish with Jeremy Durrin at the Dec. 3 Gran Prix of Cyclocross.

Kisseberth is in good form. He's been on the podium in six UCI races over the past month including second and third places at NBX this weekend. In addition, he finished second at HPCX and second at Northampton International. He out-sprinted White two weeks ago to win the Supercross Cup-- his first UCI victory-- and the next day he finished third. 

"I'm happy that I am consistently getting on the podium and that I can see how I am getting closer to someone like Curtis," Kisseberth said.

The NBX Gran Prix was the grand finale in the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series (NECXS). Kisseberth ended up second place in the series behind White.

Jack Kisseberth led the men's elite field for several laps during the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross on Dec. 4, eventually getting second place. Watch Sunday's race highlights above.

Trent Blackburn (right) was the third U23 finisher at the Dec. 3 Gran Prix of Cyclocross. He finished 13th among all riders in the elite category.

Trent Blackburn (right) was the third U23 finisher at the Dec. 3 Gran Prix of Cyclocross. He finished 13th among all riders in the elite category.

Kisseberth wasn't the only JAM/NCC rider on the podium at NBXGP. Trent Blackburn was the third-place finisher among the U23 on Saturday and Jaden Wise won the junior men 9-14 both days, giving him the overall series championship among the youngest of guns. It was the 14-year-old's tenth victory of the season.

Jaden Wise (JAM/NCC) got the lead at the start of the junior 9-14 race and held it to the finish line, winning the race both days at NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross and the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross series. Photo by Aliicia Crowell Furrer.

Jaden Wise (JAM/NCC) got the lead at the start of the junior 9-14 race and held it to the finish line, winning the race both days at NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross and the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross series. Photo by Aliicia Crowell Furrer.

Also in the men's elite race with Kisseberth and Blackburn were Coach Alec Donahue who finished 9th on Saturday and 11th on Sunday and Case Butler who finished inside the top 20 on Sunday, getting in 18th place after a 25th place finish on Saturday. 

Natalie Tapias and Rhys May raced in the women's elite events both days. Anna Savage raced in the Cat 3, completing her 24th race of the season, and having finished every one.

Aiden Mapel raced in the Cat 4/5 with more than 120 riders at the start line.

Above: JAM/NCC racers shoulder their bikes on the long sandy beach run at Goddard Memorial Park in Warwick, Rhode Island. Three photos by Katie Busick Photography.


Talented cycling photographer Meg McMahon captured the finishing sprint between Jack Kisseberth and Jeremy Durrin on day one of the Gran Prix of Cyclocross.

Talented cycling photographer Meg McMahon captured the finishing sprint between Jack Kisseberth and Jeremy Durrin on day one of the Gran Prix of Cyclocross.

 

 

Noho International

Above photo by Katie Busick.

Above, Natalie Tapias applies the course tape; Jack Kisseberth grills sausages at the food tent; Rhys May sells the food and drinks; and Chris Niesen bakes the giant chocolate chip cookies for the race winners.


JAM/NCC riders were on both sides of the tape at the Northampton International Cyclocross Races on November 12 and 13. Racers pounded their pedals in their respective categories after long hours helping set up the course, tending to the food tent and a day of making cookies. Winning is a special treat at the oldest UCI race in the United States. Those who race to victory are awarded a giant chocolate chip cookie, and this year Rhys May and Chris Niesen used the kitchen at Tart Baking Company in downtown Northampton to craft the special culinary trophies. (BTW: We highly recommend "donut Wednesdays" at Tart!)

The men's elite podium on Saturday with Jack Kisseberth (JAM/NCC) in second place, Curtis White (Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld) in first and Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo) in third. Photo courtesy Northampton Cyclocross International.

The men's elite podium on Saturday with Jack Kisseberth (JAM/NCC) in second place, Curtis White (Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld) in first and Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo) in third. Photo courtesy Northampton Cyclocross International.

One of the highlights of the weekend for JAM/NCC came on day one. Jack Kisseberth chased the cookie and got really close. After spending a few hours helping out at the food tent, he finished second in the elite men's race behind Curtis White (Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld) in a big field of 81 riders. He nipped out JAM Alum Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo) by three seconds after spending most of the race in the front chase group with Durrin and Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing).

"Powers did some driving of the pace early, but Curtis attacked with a few laps to go and got a gap," said Kisseberth who finished 13 seconds behind White.

Jack Kisseberth talks to Dirtwire TV about his second place finish on day one at the Northampton International Cyclocross.

Kisseberth has been having some great race finishes lately. He also finished second in the elite men's race two weeks ago at HPCX.

Trent Blackburn had a strong weekend of racing with the elite men, finishing in 14th place on Sunday and in the top 20 on Saturday. Perhaps his improved finish was due to the sausages he ate for breakfast. Or maybe it was following Coach Al Donahue's advice.

"I started way harder than I have in a while, per Al's recommendation," Blackburn said. "Once the race settled in, I moved up to the group that was 14 to 20 and led them almost the entire race. I hopped the barriers every lap at full speed. On the last lap, I gutted myself attacking every corner and was still able to out-sprint the few riders left on my wheel. "

Trent Blackburn cleanly hopped all the barriers at the Northampton International Cyclocross Race on Saturday. Photo by Uri Halevi.

Trent Blackburn cleanly hopped all the barriers at the Northampton International Cyclocross Race on Saturday. Photo by Uri Halevi.

The previous day, the elite men's race was a bit chaotic at the start, and Blackburn was caught behind a pile-up at the very first turn. Despite that, Blackburn rode consistently with each lap at about eight minutes, to finish in 20th place. Teammate Case Butler was close in 22nd. With that, Blackburn and Butler finished 4th and 5th respectively among the U23. Also in the elite race was JAM/NCC's Chris Niesen, who was the 80th rider called to the start line. He made up for it with his eighth and final lap as his fastest and finishing on the lead lap. Not bad for standing many hours baking cookies and setting up the course.

Natalie Tapias runs smoothly up the steep climb during the women's elite race on Sunday. Photo by Spoken Shutter Photography.

Natalie Tapias runs smoothly up the steep climb during the women's elite race on Sunday. Photo by Spoken Shutter Photography.

Like Niesen, Natalie Tapias' engine revved up during the race with each lap getting faster and faster. Her fifth and final lap was 42 seconds faster than her first. She finished 20th on Saturday and 23rd on Sunday in a healthy field of elite women. Rhys May also raced on Saturday after a long day baking, but sat out Sunday in order to graciously volunteer at the sausage tent.

"I felt like this bowl of chocolate chip dough when I rode my bike today," she said after Saturday's race. "But it was worth it."

Rhys May in the kitchen at Tart Baking Co., mixes the cookie dough for the giant chocolate chip cookies awarded to race winners. 

Rhys May in the kitchen at Tart Baking Co., mixes the cookie dough for the giant chocolate chip cookies awarded to race winners. 

JAM Fund Coach Al Donahue led the charge of the 35+ race on day one. He rallied to fourth place on Saturday, and on Sunday he finished sixth. Photo by Northampton Cyclocross International.

JAM Fund Coach Al Donahue led the charge of the 35+ race on day one. He rallied to fourth place on Saturday, and on Sunday he finished sixth. Photo by Northampton Cyclocross International.

Anna Savage competed in the combined field of more than 50 riders in the women's Cat 3, 45+ and juniors. She finished third among the junior women 15-18 on Saturday. Sunday didn't go as well, but she still finished fourth.

"I had a good start but sadly crashed with two laps to go," she said.

Savage has participated actively in races this season, with no DNF's, and she has been improving week after week.

Anna Savage (right), got 3rd among Cat 3 junior women 15-18 on Saturday.

Anna Savage (right), got 3rd among Cat 3 junior women 15-18 on Saturday.

Katie Johnson (right) finished third in the Cat 4 junior women's 15-18 on Sunday.

Katie Johnson (right) finished third in the Cat 4 junior women's 15-18 on Sunday.

Jaden Wise won the junior boys 9-14 race both days.

Jaden Wise won the junior boys 9-14 race both days.

Jaden Wise came back to the start line after a few well-deserved weeks of rest and crushed the junior boys 9-14 year-olds on both Saturday and Sunday. He won Saturday's two-lap race of 48 riders and was the only one who finished in under 20 minutes. On Sunday, he repeated his victory, beating 40 other riders.

Mira Fowler had a good weekend, finishing fourth both days in the junior girls 9-14. Photo by Jeff Fowler.

Mira Fowler had a good weekend, finishing fourth both days in the junior girls 9-14. Photo by Jeff Fowler.

Watch video highlights from Saturday's elite men's and women's races at the 26th Annual Verge Northampton International Cyclocross Race in Northampton, Massachusetts. Videoes produced by Dirtwire TV.

 

 

 

Scott Smith Races Vegas World Cup

The world's best lined up at the CrossVegas World Cup on Wednesday night-- 58 men from more than a dozen countries, including 17 Belgians and 16 Americans. Among them was Cyclocross World Champion Wout van Aert and JAM Fund's Scott Smith. 

The race at the Desert Breeze Sports Complex was a bumpy 2.8k course that sucked the life out of every rider.

"The grass was very thick," Smith said. "It zapped my legs. I couldn't coast at all. There is almost no recovery."

Fifty-eight riders sprint at the blistering start of the men's race at Cross Vegas World Cup on Wednesday night. Look closely over the shoulder of the world champion in white and you'll see Scott Smith in his white Kask helmet. 

Fifty-eight riders sprint at the blistering start of the men's race at Cross Vegas World Cup on Wednesday night. Look closely over the shoulder of the world champion in white and you'll see Scott Smith in his white Kask helmet. 

As the announcers placed their bets for the odds-on favorites, the start lights turned green. Then, mayhem and riders bumping into each other and swerving to get around. Smith started in the back row and got through.

"I barely squeaked by," he said. "One Belgian on the ground kicked my down tube. I was that close."

Thousands of fans lined the course to watch the big show under the lights.

"I love the energy and all the people around," Smith said. "It's super cool racing the best in the world."

Smith, #42, hops the barriers on the first lap as the field starts to spread out behind.

Smith, #42, hops the barriers on the first lap as the field starts to spread out behind.

Smith was selected for the Vegas World Cup team this summer. 

"In mid-August I got an email from Marc Gullickson who coordinators all the off-road world cup riders for USAC asking me if I wanted to go," Smith said. "I was next in line because someone turned down their Vegas spot. I was pretty psyched to get that email."

This is Smith's second season in a World Cup race. He competed at the World Cup in Hoogerheide and World Championships in Zolder last winter.

Smith is resting this weekend. His next race is KMC Cross Fest on October 1.

 

Past Year Highlights

Highlights from the past year at JAM Fund

The past year was a good one for the JAM Fund. It was full of strong performances and victories at home and amazing experiences abroad. Ellen Noble moved up to the pro ranks with Aspire Racing after an incredible cyclocross season with JAM/NCC/Vittoria, winning her second consecutive U23 Cyclocross National Championship and finishing 6th at the U23 World Championships in Heudsen-Zolder, Belgium, the best-placed finish of all Americans. That pushed her up into the UCI’s top 20 world ranking in January. Earlier in the season, she won the U23 Pan Am Championship and was crowned the U23 Champion of the Verge New England Cyclocross Series. One of her most stunning performances was last September at the Grand Prix of Gloucester where she finished a very close second to Caroline Mani and ahead of U.S. National Cyclocross Champion Katie Compton. We now know that was indicator of things to come, and Noble delivered.

Scott Smith represented the U.S. at the World Championships in Heudsen-Zolder, Belgium in January. Photo by Vic Geerlings.

Scott Smith represented the U.S. at the World Championships in Heudsen-Zolder, Belgium in January. Photo by Vic Geerlings.

On the elite men’s side, Scott Smith had impressive results, finishing third at the UCI Supercross Cup in Stony Point, New York, and top ten at Cycle-Smart International, making him the U23 Verge New England Cyclocross Series champion. Smith was selected to race for Team USA at the World Championships in Belgium after finishing 4th in the U23 Cyclocross National Championships in Asheville, North Carolina. Among the 29 Americans chosen for the U.S. team were six current or former JAM Fund riders. In addition to Smith and Noble, there was U.S. National Cyclocross Champion Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing), Stephen Hyde (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com), Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes) and Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo).

“Now my dreams are coming true, and I’m going across the pond to do what I love and race cross against the best in the world,” Smith said.

Jack Kisseberth crosses the line in 11th place at Cyclocross National Championships in Asheville, North Carolina on Jan. 10. Photo by Vicky Sama.

Jack Kisseberth crosses the line in 11th place at Cyclocross National Championships in Asheville, North Carolina on Jan. 10. Photo by Vicky Sama.

Jack Kisseberth represented JAM/NCC/Vittoria in the elite men’s fields last year and landed his first UCI podium, getting 3rd at the NBX Grand Prix. The most notable performance of Kisseberth’s season was at Cyclocross National Championships where he finished just outside the top ten. Following a strong cross season, both Kisseberth and Smith traveled to Europe for a month of spring training to prepare for this year.

In other highlights…

Of course, there were many more great things that happened in the JAM Fund this past year, but there are too many to count. Here’s to another great year!