Belchertown teen is awarded JAM Fund Grant to support his cyclocross racing
Above photo: Jaden Wise lines up at the start of the NEXC Bar Finals in Fitchburg, Mass. on 11/29/15, where he got 3rd in the junior boys 12-14.
Jaden Wise wants to be a pro cyclist. The 12 year old from Belchertown, Massachusetts is certainly on the right path. He started riding bikes four years ago and began racing cyclocross soon afterward.
“I went to the races with my dad and I saw the juniors racing and what fun they were having, and I wanted to do it too,” he said.
Wise races for the Northampton Cycling Club, and last year he competed in 14 cross events. While watching his dad Greg race at Providence, Wise met JAM Fund Coach Alec Donahue.
“Al said I could send a letter and apply for a grant,” Wise said. “He said that once I’m older that might turn into a spot on the team.”
So Wise applied for a grant, and this year he got it. Wise is one of 13 grant recipients to receive the JAM Fund Grant to help support their cyclocross racing.
“I’m going to use it on a new kit and for race fees,” Wise said.
“I’m really excited about the grant and so proud of him,” said his mom Jessica. “So much of cycling is teaching him about life, about how to work harder, be a team player and how to deal with defeat.”
Wise is dedicated to his training. When he gets home from school, he rides his trainer in the basement for an hour and a half or rides with his dad outside.
“We have trails in the backyard and I ride with him there to gain confidence on the barriers,” he said. “In winter, we zip around when he gets home from work.”
Wise also rides with his friend Michael.
“I’ll go over Michael’s house and we’ll do jumps in his backyard,” Wise said. “So I’ll go over after I ride the trainer.”
Wise is in the 8th grade at Jabish Brook Middle School where he plays soccer on Mondays and Thursdays.
“I play midfield offense and defense,” he said. “There’s a lot of running and sometimes after I ride and have a game I’m tired, but I do it to get better at cross.”
Wise says his favorite sport is still cycling. His favorite race is the Grand Prix of Gloucester where he got 7th and 8th place in the junior 9-14.
“The start was hard to get into a good spot for the first turn,” he said. “I started in the second row and I was behind the leader. I followed him and had a good start. Some spots were steep, and you have to make sure you’re in the right gear and take the right line in the ruts or you’d slip and someone would catch up. I had a pretty clean race.”
Wise rides five days a week. This week, he was working on long miles on the trainer.
“I did two endurance rides this week of one to two hours at 18 mph, so that’s 150 watts for me,” he said.
On the weekends, Wise and his dad enjoy riding a two-hour loop through nearby towns.
“Every time we do it, seems we’re getting faster and faster,” he said. “It goes through South Hadley, Granby and Amherst. There’s a decent amount of hills. Best part is where you can go super fast down a hill. We’ll go 35 mph, and my dad will say I’ll meet you at the bottom, and we’ll sprint down and meet up again.”
And once in a while, he rides with his mom too.
“The reason I get on the bike is to maintain a relationship with my son,” Jessica Wise said. “Some of my favorite time with Jaden is when I’m on the bike.”
Jaden Wise hopes to be successful like his favorite three pro riders.
“Jeremy Powers, Stephen Hyde and Scott Smith… those are the guys I look up to,” he said.
Jaden’s mom is smitten.
“Cycling has connected him with a lot of positive peers,” she said. “There is a fire he displays when he is on the bike that he doesn’t display with other things. But he’s humble. He’s not a kid to brag. He didn’t even tell his friend Michael that he won the JAM Grant.”
Wise will formally receive his JAM Fund Grant on July 16 at the non-profit organization’s biggest fundraiser, the Grand Fundo, a scenic bike ride through Western Massachusetts. The public is invited to ride the 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/.
For media inquiries, contact Vicky Sama, JAM Fund Media Coordinator at (707) 362-1420.