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A Moment with Jeremy Powers
First off I want to say Welcome to the Rapha-FOCUS team JPows. I am just going to jump right in with a few questions for you. You really are, at least in the world of US Cyclocross someone that needs little to no introduction. But, for those of you out there who are wondering, take a look at this piece that ran on Velonews this morning.
I'm curious a little bit about your past, most specifically at what moment did you decide "well, this is it, I'm going to be a (drumroll) Professional Cyclist?
I always wanted to be a pro cyclist starting when I really young. When I was 14 that was my goal. We had a HUGE crew of people riding bikes in the town I grew up in. Tom Danielson was one of the guys in town that I was friends with, and he was on this junior mountain bike team – Team DEVO – which was the premiere junior team in its heyday. So my goal was always to get on that program and take it to as far a level as I could. I didn’t have a lot of choices because I had such bad ADD when I was a kid, that playing in the chess club just wasn’t an option so when the opportunity came for my mom to start taking me to mountain bike races, we just started to jet set and drive everywhere to races and I do mean everywhere. That’s how I kept my energy at bay and I’m doing the same thing 14 years later.
Getting back to becoming a pro…When I was 14 I think I got 30th at Mount Snow NORBA national race and I got on Team DEVO. I’d say that was the point where I knew being a pro was attainable. It was such a good team to be a part of, they gave the kids so much stuff. That’s sort of where my passion for the J.A.M Fund comes from – seeing that when I was younger and trying to replicate it. It put a smile on my face and kept me motivated.
Assuming that moment shaped everything going forward give me a few favorite moments from this crazy trip of Pro Cycling you have been on…
My dad and I got stuck in an elevator in San Francisco when Cyclocross nationals were at the Presidio in 1999. We had to break out of the elevator. It was stuck on the 52nd floor. When we tried to break out it dropped like half a floor and I just started crying. I have had a fear of elevators pretty much ever since. Everyone that really knows me knows that when we get in elevators and they start actin’ up, I get real tense.
I also got lost in Cuba on that same trip when I went down there with Mike Frasee. That was in 2000. I got lost in a communist country where I didn’t speak any Spanish. The only thing I knew was we were staying at the “Pan Americanaaaaah…..Hoeetel?” It took me a very long time to get home. Those are probably two of my better stories from before I was a pro, but they’re good ones!
You have been with the Cyclocross World crew for a while now, what was the reaction when you were telling people that you decided to make the move?
Well first, I haven’t shared just victories with Stu and the Cyclocrossworld family. It's some of the best memories of my life and so anytime you move on from something that has so much significance in your life, you naturally have a little separation anxiety. Thankfully, though, a lot of people were happy. Tim was very outgoing and happy for me. Stu was a little upset to lose me, I think, but also understanding of my situation and how going forward there are things I want to build and what I want to do. Some things I wanted he could offer but some things didn’t work out. Most importantly, we have a great relationship still. Stu was like my second dad on the road. He was always that guy for me when I was on the road and I have a lot of respect for him and always will appreciate everything he’s done for me and continues to do.
But, so far people have said a lot of good things about the change. A lot of people are excited about the change. I feel like I heard from just about everyone today.
For the past few years you have been racing with former National Champion Tim Johnson and another heavy hitter on the 'Cross scene Jamey Driscoll. What is the season going to look like facing them as "adversaries" instead of mates?
At the end of the day those guys are still my friends. James is up and coming and he’s going to be the guy I’m going to be racing with more. Tim’s been talking about retiring, so that means that when I’m 30, James is going to become my “archnemesis”. We’ll just have to see what happens, those guys being my friends and with the past that we’ve had, there’s no hard feelings. We won’t be on the same team so we won’t be on the phone constantly coordinating logistics and we won’t be traveling together to races, but from the friendship standpoint they’re still going to be good friends of mine regardless of what jersey we’re all wearing.
From the racing standpoint, those two are strong, but there’s a lot of talented riders and guys I’m going to have to look at besides TJ and Jamey. I don’t see it changing a whole lot from where it’s been in the past. The style is going to be very similar. The strongest guy will win.
I just spent some time with Tim on his Ride on Washington and he said that he was going to be "gunning for you" in a friendly rivalry sort of way. What do you say to that?
That would make sense. haha. I think that one of the things that is great about Tim and I is that we’re very alike in many ways and in other ways we’re very different. It’s going to be fun to be part of and people are going to love that friendly rivalry. It already existed anyway, We’re still going to hug each other after we beat the crap out of each other just like we did in Portland at the USGP final last year. It’s the same. Tim wants to win, I want to win, we’re friends, but even when we were on the same team, it didn’t mean he was ever going to let me win. I think this coming season is going to be a lot of the same between he and I. One of the ways we’re really similar is that we both like to win bike races and we both know what our strengths are.
On the other hand Chris Jones and Zach McDonald are two of the rising stars of the sport. What are your hopes for growing the team with these two?
I think Chris came up a level on his racing this year. He got on quite a few podiums, and I wouldn’t say that was a surprise, but it was great to see. It was good to see him on the podium in Portland and on the podium in Vegas. He came on really strong and I’m excited to work together with him and hopefully get some good results. I think he’s going to have a big impact at the front just like he did this year.
With Zach it’s all about nurturing and not doing too much and helping him along. If we get him on a couple podiums this year in the elite race I think that’d be a great goal for him this coming season. Continuing the progression over the next two years is something I’m really looking forward to. I hope that we can all help each other be our best out there.
You have been riding on FOCUS Bikes for a while now as part of the Jelly Belly road team. What model do you ride on the road? And what do you look forward to with their cross bike?
I know that they make beautiful road bikes. For Jelly Belly I ride an Izalco with SRAM Red. For the cyclocross bike, geometry wise, I think it will fit me a little bit better. It has a lower front end which is something I’ve been wanting for a couple of years now. They just look awesome with the Rapha colors and technology wise, FOCUS has a lot of engineers behind there products. I’m looking forward to racing on them and showing them off at the races so people can really see the product and hopefully own one too.
Speaking of JB, what is your favorite Jelly Belly flavor?
My favorite flavor is margarita. Why? Uhhhhh…
One could say that we here in the Rapha North American office have a bit of a sweet tooth. Are there any plans to do a JPows/JBelly Collabo bean anytime soon? What would that flavor be?
I can’t leak any details about the flavors, because that’s a little bit of a secret for the moment, but I can say that there have been a couple phone calls about said Jelly Belly/Rapha colored jellybeans…
Now that we have covered two of your current sponsors by way of Jelly Belly and FOCUS, what Rapha product(s) are you most excited to try out?
I’m excited to wear, rock it, use it, tear legs off with all of the Rapha clothing! I can’t wait to get into the Rapha clothes.
Try not to tear the legs off them. That would negate some of their function. Especially with the winter tights. Let us switch gears for a minute and talk about the road season. What big races are you planning on doing this year? Anything international so that our viewers abroad get a chance to see you in action?
I am not planning on going abroad on the road this year, since I’ve got so many North American events planned. I’ll be doing the Tour of California and the Quizno’s Pro Challenge in Colorado. I’ll be doing road nationals in May and I’m headed to Nature Valley also. I’m doing all of the big U.S. criteriums and I’ll be doing my Grand FUNdo charity ride again on July 30th. www.GrandFundo.com
I’m going to take July pretty easy and then get into cyclocross with some camps in August. I’ll also be headed to criterium nationals and I’ll be doing a couple other road races before getting ready for the cyclocross season.
You do a fair bit of writing for some of the larger cycling publications, where is the best spot to follow along with all of your travels and adventures?
Right now, the best place is on my website Jpows.com This month I have a guest blog on Bicycling.com and I will continue to have my JPows journal on VeloNews this fall and sporadically this summer. Periodically I do some stuff for ROAD Magazine too, but definitely the best place is my website. That’s where I’m putting most of my energy in terms of blogging and funny stuff.
Someone recently mentioned to me that you started your own road racing team. What is this? Does this have anything to do with the "Anthony" character that you mention quite often?
A lot of people know about Anthony Clark because of the article I put on VeloNews last year. His story is pretty amazing. He’s 23 years old and he lives in the area where I live. I met him when I was doing a pretty hard training ride when I came across this kid wearing cutoff jeans and a tank top and riding an 80’s Motobecane and wearing a pair of Vans sneakers. I was going very hard up this climb and I just said hello and kept it movin. The climb was 13 or 14 minutes long and when I got to the top, he was still there. I was jaw dropped. I averaged almost 400 watts… I grabbed his number and he ended up being a very talented athlete. He’s won quite a few local races and anyone who’s met him knows he’s a pretty special kid.
About wheelhouse sports, I don’t actually own a team, but with Al and Mukunda, the A and the M in J.A.M., we have created a team that partnered with the program that they already had, called wheelhouse sports. Those two merged to become the Northampton Cycling Club/J.A.M. Foundation. We basically have a team that helps to promote the Grand Fundo and the J.A.M. Foundation. I’m more involved with it now than I ever was in the past when I was more of just a friend of Al and Mukunda’s. With the creation of the Grand Fundo, we were really able to turn it into something special.
One of the cool things we were able to do this year was bring a couple of the J.A.M. riders to the Jelly Belly training camp where they could hang out with the pro riders for the week and do a bunch of training with us. They were able to experience first hand what being a pro cyclist is all about and see what this whole pro cycling thing is all about and actually know what they were shootin’ for!
Thanks to Jeremy for taking the time out to answer a few questions. For more information see:
- @CanyonUK Everyone loves a hug, thanks.
- @CanyonUK Do we win a prize?
- @c4shr Hello Kash, we're very sorry about that. We'll be in touch shortly to sort things out.
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- @JeanzTweet You’re welcome Jens.
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