The Games Begin

Above photo by Dave McElwaine.

JAM Fund tackled the dust at the first UCI cyclocross race of the season in Rochester, New York this weekend. It was two days of exciting racing starting with a hot and humid triple-degree C1 race on Saturday. JAM/NCC's elite team of Scott Smith, Jack Kisseberth, Natalie Tapias and Rhys May battled the intense competition and conditions for strong showings by both the men and women.

"It was hard," Smith said on Sunday. "Yesterday I hit a limit and was pinned and not going anywhere, like driving around in first gear. Today, I could actually pedal hard."

 Natalie Tapias and Rhy May warm up for the first UCI cross race of the season. It was more than 100 degrees in Rochester when their race started at 2:30 p.m.

Natalie Tapias and Rhy May warm up for the first UCI cross race of the season. It was more than 100 degrees in Rochester when their race started at 2:30 p.m.

May competed in her first-ever UCI cross event.

"I was happy with that as my first go," May said. "I went really hard and I wanted to finish with the lead lap. I was so, so close."

Tapias stayed with the lead lap on Sunday.

"Today, I felt a lot stronger and a lot smarter," Tapias said on Sunday. "Yesterday I had a tough start. I pre-rode the course with Jack and Scott and that really helped my strategy, so it was fun."

Other JAM Fund riders were racing all over the Northeast during the weekend.

 Chris Niesen (right) sprints for 5th place at Silk City Cyclocross on Saturday. Photo courtesy Team Health Warrior.

Chris Niesen (right) sprints for 5th place at Silk City Cyclocross on Saturday. Photo courtesy Team Health Warrior.

JAM/NCC was at the Aetna Silk City Cyclocross in Manchester, Connecticut on Saturday. Devo rider Chris Niesen raced in the pro 1/2/3 field with some good hard efforts, finishing 5th on the day. JAM Fund grant recipients Erik Carlson and Chris Norvold raced the Cat 3/4, with Carlson coming in 6th. Junior riders Mira Fowler and Aiden Mapel, both two-time JAM Fund grand recipients, lined up together at the start in Silk City. Fowler shredded to 10th place in the junior 13-15 combined boys and girls race.

 Mira Fowler ready at the start of the juniors 13-15 race at Silk City on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Fowler.

Mira Fowler ready at the start of the juniors 13-15 race at Silk City on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Fowler.

 Katie Johnson (center) and Anna Savage (right) gunning it from the start at the Quad Cx on Sunday. Photo by Katie Busick.

Katie Johnson (center) and Anna Savage (right) gunning it from the start at the Quad Cx on Sunday. Photo by Katie Busick.

Katie Johnson and Anna Savage represented the JAM/NCC kit at the Quad Cx on the grounds of the Run and Gun Club in Maynard, Massachusetts. And they runned and gunned it! Both women started at the same time in combined fields. Savage won the junior 15-18, beating out the second-placed rider by a minute. Johnson, looking in good form following her return to cross after breaking her femur in April, got 8th in the Cat 4.