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!

Grand Fundo Lives up to its Name

The Grand Fundo one-day bike ride through Western Massachusetts raised money to support young cyclists

Photo by Meg McMahon

About four hundred cyclists participated in the Grand Fundo on Saturday, pedaling elbow to elbow with U.S. National Cyclocross Champion Jeremy Powers. The large pack of riders-- some who came as far away as California-- rolled out of the Black Birch Vineyard in Southampton down Glendale Road and around the scenic Pioneer Valley. After pedaling their first 21-miles up and over challenging hills, riders reached the first rest stop in Chesterfield stocked with plenty of fruit and treats including peanut butter, blueberry, Fluffernutter and bacon sandwiches as well as refreshing drinks and iced towels for relief from the sunny day. From there, riders had the option of heading in one of three different distances of 38, 65 or 85 miles. Some chose to take the shorter route because of the heat, but everyone stayed well hydrated with the free Nuun Hydration drinks provided at all of the rest stops.

"I had a ball," said rider Art Goedeke of Albany, New York. "The support was awesome and road marking was perfect. Those frozen washcloths may have saved my life. I had a great time today."

Fundo rider cools down at the last rest stop located at Williamsburg Market Photo by Meg McMahon.

Fundo rider cools down at the last rest stop located at Williamsburg Market Photo by Meg McMahon.

Cyclists ride the Fundo's gravel roads with U.S. National Criterium Champion Brad Huff. Photo by Meg McMahon.

Cyclists ride the Fundo's gravel roads with U.S. National Criterium Champion Brad Huff. Photo by Meg McMahon.

Among the 376 cyclists were current and former cycling pros including U23 National Cyclocross Champion Ellen Noble, Stephen Hyde (Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld.com), U.S. National Criterium Champion Brad Huff (Rally), Anthony Clark (Squid) and former Olympian Lyne Bessette.

The ride went smoothly with the help of the Sram support vehicles that stopped to fix a few flat tires. The Grand Fundo included some gravel roads, which have become quite popular among cyclists these days.

Enjoying the post-ride feast in the shade of the Fundo's big tent. Photo by Meg McMahon.

Enjoying the post-ride feast in the shade of the Fundo's big tent. Photo by Meg McMahon.

After the ride, everyone was treated to a delicious meal with barbecued pork and tofu, herbed chicken, coleslaw, corn on the cob, corn cakes, watermelon, beer, and ice cream from the famous ice cream truck, which also was at one of the rest stops during the ride.

"I loved every second and will be back for sure," said rider Justin Costa of Providence, Rhode Island. "Thank you a million times over!"

JAM Fund co-founders Alec Donahue (far left) and Jeremy Powers (top row right), pose with the grant recipients at the awards ceremony following the Grand Fundo ride. Grant recipients (from left to right): Ben Jankowski, Patrick Collins, Kale Wenczel, Daniel Vaughn, Mira Fowler, Katherine Johnson, Beau Guenther, Anna Savage, Jonathan Hills, Erik Carlson, Aiden Mapel and Jaden Wise. Chris Novold not pictured. Photo by Meg McMahon.

JAM Fund co-founders Alec Donahue (far left) and Jeremy Powers (top row right), pose with the grant recipients at the awards ceremony following the Grand Fundo ride. Grant recipients (from left to right): Ben Jankowski, Patrick Collins, Kale Wenczel, Daniel Vaughn, Mira Fowler, Katherine Johnson, Beau Guenther, Anna Savage, Jonathan Hills, Erik Carlson, Aiden Mapel and Jaden Wise. Chris Novold not pictured. Photo by Meg McMahon.

The JAM Fund celebrated the day by awarding grants to thirteen young cyclists who applied in spring. JAM Fund co-founders Powers and Alec Donahue presented each grant recipient with a certificate and check for the purpose of helping offset competition costs.

"This is so helpful to me and all the others," said grant recipient Aiden Mapel. "I'm looking forward to this cross season, and thanks to all who make it happen."

"I had so much fun at the Fundo," said grant recipient Anna Savage. "Thanks JAM Fund Cycling for such a cool event."

The day ended with a raffle, where ticket holders had the chance to win Powers' Focus Mares cross bike. Curtiss Dosier from Irvine, California was the lucky bike winner. Several other people won prizes from Rapha, Kask, Crank Bros., Thule, WD-40 Bike, Clif Bar, Nuun Hydration, IceDot C-Bear and products from other JAM Fund partners.

The annual bike ride supports the JAM Fund non-profit organization in its mission to develop the next generation of cyclocross pros.

Patrick Collins Wins a JAM Grant

Shrewsbury cyclist rides to the top for a JAM Grant

Photo above by Katie Busick

Patrick Collins of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts jumped into cyclocross two years ago following a year of racing on the road. He was a natural at cross and immediately landed on the podium in 2014, winning the Riverfront Cross of Hartford, his third cross race ever.

Collins, 21, started riding a bicycle when he was a junior in high school.

“I was overweight and I wanted to get in shape,” he said. “I took my dad’s road bike out one day and reached speeds that were exhilarating. I got serious about it, bought my own bike and did group rides that were really hard for me. I got dropped at first but got stronger and knew I wanted to take it to the next level and start racing.”

Collins is the winner of the JAM Fund Grant. He is one of thirteen cyclists who will receive financial or equipment assistance from the JAM Fund to support racing cyclocross and help offset the cost of the sport.

“If it’s money, I’m going to use it on the expensive UCI race fees,” he said.  “If it’s equipment, I’m looking to get another bike so that I can have one in the pit. Last year I didn’t have a pit bike and that proved to be tough in a couple of races where I had a mechanical. I’m hoping this year to have a pit bike.”

Last fall, Collins upgraded to Cat 1, raced 23 cross events, scored ten podium finishes, and earned the title of Best All-Around Rider at the New England Cyclocross Series.

Patrick Collins won the Ken Harrold Memorial Road Race on June 4 in Harvard. Photo courtesy Angelica Dixon.

Patrick Collins won the Ken Harrold Memorial Road Race on June 4 in Harvard. Photo courtesy Angelica Dixon.

Collins is proving he is certainly a rider to watch after winning the pro 1/2 Ken Harrod Memorial Road Race in June and Plainville Spring Crit in April.

“My results have been good,” he said. “I’m really passionate about the sport and dedicated to my training. I’m consistent and race from March on the road until December in cross.”

Collins is senior at Clark University in Worcester. He is studying geography and economics and hopes to continue onto grad school.

“I applied to Clark’s fifth-year master’s program in environmental science so I can do something about climate change,” he said. “That’s what I’m really interested in.”

There is no cycling team at Clark, so Collins is mostly on his own; however, he receives support from his team Minuteman Road Club.

“My club is very supportive of me and helps me out with race reimbursements,” he said. “One of the members gave me his cross bike back in 2014, when I was looking for a bike but couldn’t afford a new one, and that’s the only bike I’ve ever raced on. I still have that bike now. Another member gave me tubular wheel sets to use that I gave back at the end of the season.”

Collins is working 40 hours a week during summer to save money for the upcoming race season.

“I have a full-time job this summer at Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations,” he said. “I work as an intern in the town’s electric department with engineers doing GPS of all the electrical infrastructure and GIS data entry.”

Once school resumes in the fall, Collins will focus strictly on his homework and cyclocross.

“I like that cyclocross is mainly up to the individual to do well,” he said. “You need good technical skills and good power. There’s no hiding in cross and it rewards the complete cyclist. I also like the community of cyclocross. It’s a great group of people that you can see every weekend.”

Collins discovered JAM Fund three years ago while watching Bay State Cyclocross in Sterling.

“I hadn’t seen cross racing until then,” he said. “I watched the elite races and saw the JAM racers place in top ten and do really well. Last year, I applied online. I was looking to get on the team, but the grant is great.”

Collins will receive his JAM Fund Grant at the July 16 Grand Fundo, a one-day ride through scenic Western Massachusetts. The event is the non-profit organization’s biggest fundraiser and includes a post-ride barbecue and raffle for some really nice prizes, including a bicycle owned by four-time U.S. National Cyclocross Champion Jeremy Powers. All the proceeds benefit the JAM Fund and go directly to supporting the riders. The public is invited to register for the Grand Fundo, get raffle tickets or just attend the barbecue and awards ceremony by going online to bikereg.com.

 

 

Kale Wenczel Wins a JAM Grant

Amherst Teen's Homework Leads to Grant

Imagine competing in cyclocross races every weekend during the season. That’s what 18-year-old Kale Wenczel did last year. The Leverett, Massachusetts rider competed in more than 16 cross races, missing only one race weekend. That’s pretty dedicated for a guy who started racing cross two years ago.

“I got on my game and registered in time for Gloucester, Providence and all the big races,” he said. “I made sure I got there and did my best.”

Wenczel successfully completed every cross race he started in 2015 and finished in the top twenty at the KMC Cyclocross Festival in Providence.

“I started at the back of Cat 3 and moved up by the end of the season to call ups for Cat 3, which was pretty cool,” he said. “In Providence, I got in the money, which was so awesome.”

Wenczel is one of thirteen cyclists selected for a JAM Fund Grant—financial and equipment assistance provided to promising cyclists to help offset the cost of cyclocross racing.

“I’m really psyched to have a grant,” he said. “I applied for it last fall, and I think it helped that I have been riding with the whole JAM group in the past couple months.”

Wenczel often saw the JAM Fund Team at races; He met JAM’s Co-Founder Jeremy Powers by doing a high school homework assignment.

“I was taking an Anthropology class and had to write an ethnography about some culture I observed,” Wenczel said. “It was a big project, and I decided to do it on cyclocross because I already knew the subject, so I thought it would be easy. My teacher wanted to see that we got interviews, so I emailed Jeremy and didn’t expect a response, but I had to show my teacher that I at least tried. But then he responded, and I was taken back by that. We ended up meeting. It was too late for the paper but we went for a bike ride and I stayed in touch. Eventually we went for another ride in late February with the whole group, and I’ve been going with them a bunch of weekends ever since.”

Wenczel graduated from Amherst Regional High School last month and will be starting classes at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in September.

“I’m going to be a mechanical engineer,” he said. “My end goal is to hopefully work at Sram some day. That would be ideal. I picture myself designing derailleurs.”

Wenczel got a later-than-usual start to cycling training after playing Ultimate Frisbee this spring.

My team was undefeated this year, and we were invited to world’s tryouts with the top 100 people in the country,” he said. “We won the Paideia Cup in Georgia, the high school invitational, where they invite the eight best teams in the country. Our team solidly won that, so we can say we are the best in the country.”

Kale Wenczel (far left) and his team, the Amherst Regional High School Hurricanes, won the Paideia Cup Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Atlanta, Georgia on April 17. Photo by Christina Schmidt. 

Kale Wenczel (far left) and his team, the Amherst Regional High School Hurricanes, won the Paideia Cup Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Atlanta, Georgia on April 17. Photo by Christina Schmidt. 

Wenczel says Frisbee helps his cycling fitness.

“Ultimate is such a physical sport, it conditions your whole body to take pain,” he said. “If nothing else, it gives me a lot of mental strength, which is essential in any sport, and my running and general conditioning is pretty solid as a result. I’d say it’s definitely helpful.”

For now, Wenczel has packed away his discs.

“I just entered retirement last week, but I’m not going to give it up for good,” he said. “I pick up a disc every now and then, but I’m going to focus on biking, my first and only true love.”

Wenczel has been racing the past two years for Joe’s Garage, but someday hopes to make the switch to JAM Fund.

“I am a strong person who has a lot of potential because until this summer, I never trained a day in my life,” he said. “As far as I’ve gotten is just me going out on rides with nothing particular to them and learning from just doing it. I have a ton of potential in terms of technique, training and becoming more specialized. Going out and riding with Al, Jeremy and everybody else and have them see what I can do, is hugely instrumental. I have the drive to make something happen here, that’s the reason I got a grant.”

His short-term desire is to move up the ranks.

“My big goal for this year is to move from Cat 3 to Cat 2,” he said. “That will be huge, if I can achieve it. Also, nationals is very doable in the U23.”

The JAM Grant that Wenczel received is made largely possible by the fundraising at the JAM Fund’s Grand Fundo, a one-day bike ride through Western Massachusetts. Wenczel will formally receive his grant at the Grand Fundo on July 16.

“I’ll probably use the grant for entry fees,” he said. “I guess I would replace broken things, because I break a derailleur every season.”

 

 

 

Beau Guenther Wins a JAM Grant

Vermont Teen Inspired by Tour is Awarded JAM Fund Grant

Beau Guenther started riding a bike when he was six years old while growing up in Putney, Vermont.

“I got obsessed with it after I watched the Tour de France with my friend Darius Parker,” Guenther said. “From then on I looked for a small road bike that I could race and ride.”

Now 12, Guenther is certain about his future.

“I want to be a professional cyclocross racer,” he said. “I want to 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.”

Beau Guenther sports his Tour de France team kit that he got as a birthday present in June.

Beau Guenther sports his Tour de France team kit that he got as a birthday present in June.

Guenther started racing when he was eight. His first cross race was local event by the West Hill Bike Shop.

“It was quite awesome, one of the funnest races I’ve ever done,” he said. “I got the Vermont State Championship and that was my first medal. There were 20 people in my race. It’s pretty fun. You go through a bunch of cornfields and gnarly run ups and crazy barriers and obstacles.”

His other favorite races are the Northampton Cycle-Smart International and Providence KMC. This fall, he plans to do those again and more.

“I want to do some night races like the Night Weasels and Fitchburg.”

Guenther is in the 7th grade at Putney Central School. He’s learning science and studying genetics about the characteristics and traits of ancestors. After class, he often rides bikes with his friends Darius Parker and Liza Bell.

“I ride a few times a week with my core group of riding friends Darious, Liza and a couple other kids,” he said. “We do a 20-mile ride every Wednesday with this guy who leads it.”

Guenther races for the West Hill Thunderbolts, a team made up of young kids like himself.

“Our team helped put on a mountain bike race last summer called the Cider House Classic, which goes around the Putney High School campus,” he said. “I helped make the course.”

In addition to being a little ripper on the bike, Guenther is serious about cross-country skiing.

“This winter, I raced 4 and 5k classic and skate all over the place in the White Mountains,” he said. “I’m pretty hard core into it. Sometimes when the snow gets hard and icy, I go out in the field and ride around on it on my mountain bike.”

Guenther also likes to play around on the skateboard and ride BMX.  He played trombone when he was in 4th grade.

“I played it for two years and kinda stopped,” he said. “It’s a little heavy.”

But of all his hobbies, he says cross is the best.

“Cyclocross is my favorite because it’s a mix of mountain biking and road and you’re riding on dirt and roots and harder obstacles and stuff,” he said.

Guenther’s dad rides cross too and supports his son’s passion.

“It’s great and I think he has realistic view of it,” Pete Guenther said. “It keeps him on a bike and off the couch and keeps him fast. If he becomes a pro cyclocross racer, that would be great. I’ll go cheer for him and even be his team mechanic.”

Beau is excited for the fall cross season to start.

“I’m just going to do as many races as I can and place well so I’m more noticed,” he said. “Also the JAM Fund will be good thing for that.”

Beau Guenther catching air while playing around on his cross bike in France. Photo by Greg Guenther.

Beau Guenther catching air while playing around on his cross bike in France. Photo by Greg Guenther.

The grant that Beau Guenther received is largely funded by the JAM Fund's biggest fundraiser, the Grand Fundo, a one-day scenic ride through Western Massachusetts. This year's ride is on July 16, where grant recipients will receive their award. The public is invited to the ride the Grand Fundo and attend the post-ride barbecue and awards ceremony. Registration is at bikereg.com.

A list of current and past JAM Fund grant winners is at http://www.jamcycling.org/grant-recipients/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erik Carlson Wins a JAM Grant

Rhode Island Teen is Selected for JAM Fund Grant Award

Above photo by Alice Johannen

Erik Carlson dreams of becoming a rocket scientist. This summer, the 17 year old from Greenwich, Rhode Island started basic training at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs where he will study aerospace engineering. As part of his acceptance into the Academy, Carlson is required to play a sport. But when he first applied, he wasn’t sure if the Academy would accept cyclocross.

“The Academy weighs your application on whether you played a sport in high school like football,” Carlson said. “It was in the middle of cross season, and I told them I really want to race cross. I want to make something more of bike riding. It is the best sport ever, and if it was going to jeopardize my entrance into the Academy, I said, heck with it.”

Fortunately, the Academy agreed to accept cyclocross as a sport. JAM Fund is pleased to help support Carlson’s passion by awarding him a JAM Fund Grant. He is one of 13 grant recipients to receive the award of financial or equipment assistance.

“This spring I applied to JAM Fund, and I got the grant, which is amazing,” he said.

Carlson started riding bicycles when he was 3 years old.

“Cycling was a family activity where we’d go out every weekend and ride around the pond by Big River Management Area,” he said. “I started riding every day three or four years ago.”

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.

Erik Carlson played goalie for his high school hockey team, but gave it up for cycling.

Erik Carlson played goalie for his high school hockey team, but gave it up for cycling.

Carlson competed in his first cyclocross race in winter 2014, as he was finishing his junior year in high school. But he didn’t have a cross bike.

“I went to my first race at the Battle of Burlingame and I was riding a 26” hardtail that I bought on Craigslist," he said. "And that was my do-everything bike."

And so, he rode the mountain bike at his first-ever cross race, the NBX of Cross.

“I hadn’t heard of cross before and didn’t know anyone, so I was getting into it blindly," he said. "I saw Matt, the owner of NBX, and he said I could race this on a mountain bike. I decided I was going to try it, and I loved it. It was the last race of the year, so I didn’t do any other cross races that season.”

Carlson raced in the men’s Category 4/5.

“It was a massive field with 100-some riders,” he said. “I was in the back of the pack, and it was my first time ever experiencing cross. I didn’t finish poorly, I got like 80th. It wasn’t anything to write home about, none of my results are, but I wanted to see what this sport was. When I do poorly at a race, it makes me more motivated, and I want to strive to be so much better at it.”

Last year, Carlson was at the NBX race again, and this time he noticed JAM Fund.

“I remember seeing the truck. It was my first time there,” he said. “And then I remember learning about Ellen Noble and realizing she rode for JAM Fund. And it clicked- oh wow, cyclocross in New England is huge.”

Carlson raced a lot last season and had hoped to go to Cyclocross National Championships in Asheville, North Carolina, but it was the same week as his midterm exams. So he watched the races on his laptop.

“I watched nationals while I was doing my AP Chemistry homework,” he said. “I watched a race and then went back to homework and then watched more of the race and back and forth it took me five hours to do my homework that night.”

Carlson took Advanced Placement Chemistry, Physics and Calculus at East Greenwich High School, where he graduated last month. He played football and hockey but gave up both of those sports for his real love, cycling.

Carlson is not only a rider but a cycling advocate. He helped start the New England High School Cycling Association at his school.

“I was the only student in my school who enjoyed mountain biking, and I wanted to see more juniors in mountain biking and cross,” he said. “My biology teacher Christopher Wren was a mountain biker who got me into mountain biking, and he and I held assemblies and showed kids in the high school what mountain biking is. We got about 20 kids in our school to sign up for the league. And sometimes I had to talk to their parents and tell them it’s not as dangerous as you think. My biggest contribution was that I was able to get kids out on bikes who would not normally give it a try.”

The grant that Carlson received is largely funded by supporters and the JAM Fund’s biggest fundraiser, the Grand Fundo, which is a one-day scenic ride in Western Massachusetts. This year’s ride is on July 16, where grant recipients will find out details of their award. The public is invited to join the Grand Fundo and attend the post-ride barbecue and awards ceremony. Registration is at bikereg.com

A full list of current and past JAM Fund grant winners is at http://www.jamcycling.org/grant-recipients/.