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The Jelly Belly p/b Kenda cycling team traveled to Japan for its final race of the season, the UCI-sanctioned Japan Cup on Oct. 19-20.
The first day, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda riders joined some of the best professionals in Japan for a one-hour criterium. The plan was to sit in the field and watch the race unfold. Banking on a field sprint, the team led out Brad Huff, who raced to a fourth-place finish.
On Day 2, the riders set out for a 150-k road race in the rain. They aimed to put either Luis Lemus or Sean Mazich in the breakaway, while the rest of the squad waited until the final 3-k hill to the finish. Lemus, who did make the break, emerged from the stage with the KOM jersey, and Serghei Tvetcov placed 16th.
With 100,000 Japan fans watching the race, which was broadcast live, the Jelly Belly p/b Kenda team put on a great show. Special thanks go out to Jelly Belly Japan, Cateye and Inno Racks, who came out to the race to support the team.
“This was a great end to a solid season for Jelly Belly p/b Kenda. I’m proud of our riders and sponsors who made the years a success,” said team director Danny Van Haute.
Worlds, that’s what it is all about. It’s the very best from all over the world getting together to do what we love most — ride our bikes.
This year’s race was in the Italian region of Tuscany. This was my first time at the road championships, and I couldn’t think of a better place for the experience. As a city, Florence, is simply gorgeous! And food? Well, for a pizza lover and cappuccino drinker, Italy is just paradise. The ‘tifosis’ — fans in Italian — are so into the sport and also very friendly.
Representing your country is another special feature of the world championships. It’s an honor to stand at the start line knowing that a whole nation is cheering for you, and because of that it’s also a big responsibility.
I flew into Florence 10 days before the race, plenty of time to get used to the time zone, check out the course and get ready for the big day. I needed to do some training before the race, and that meant discovering some amazing places. There was not a single day I didn’t get lost when riding either on country roads or in town, but I like to think of it as a way to get to know a place better. I also came to know the people better, asking for directions so often. Luckily for me, Spanish and Italian are not so different. Italians were always very kind and helpful. They were excited about the race and often asked for my name and even a picture.
As for the race, the moment I crossed the finish line after more than four hours of racing, I had a huge smile on my face. I was exhausted, but I knew I had done my best. It was a great learning experience, and I can’t wait to put that knowledge together and come back next year.
Thank you all,
– Luis Lemus
This was the biggest race I have done. In the weeks leading into the race, all I was thinking about was training and being ready for racing 900km in 6 days. Then they announced that the likes of Cadel Evans, Peter Sagan, Ryder, etc were all going to be there. I started getting pretty nervous but I had done everything that I could do to get ready.
The team arrived the Friday before the start of the race, we were all happy to see each other and catch up. On Sunday we got shown around Edmonton by the local club, stopped for some coffee, and went and rode the prologue course. It was nice to ride with the guys, get the inside scoop on the area and the best coffee shops.
Monday was the busiest day of the trip so far. We rode the prologue course one last time, got in some opening efforts and prepared our bikes. That evening we headed to the Team Presentation where over 300 people were enjoying a nice dinner. When Jelly Belly was announced the cheers were great. Then Brad Huff, part sprinter and part cheer squad, got the crowd ignited when he told them that we all had Jelly Belly Beans to hand out, but only the loudest area of the room was going to get them. When we walked out of the room after handing out the beans, we knew the other teams were jealous of the welcome we’d received.
Tuesday, Sept. 3rd was the start of the Inaugural Tour of Alberta. A screaming fast 7.4km course in downtown Edmonton. The streets were packed with fans, yelling for their favorite riders. Our team had a rider start every 15-20 min. I gave it my all and finished 39th on the day. Brad Huff used his old man expertise to finish 22nd on the stage, only 30 seconds off the winner. We had set the bar for the week to come.
Stage 1 was a 98 mile jaunt from Strathcona County to Camrose. Our plan was to get a rider in the break, and then set up the stage for Freddie and Brad. The attacks went from mile 0 and didn’t stop until almost an hour into the race when Jeremy Powers got up the road with 3 other riders. Then Cannondale rode the front and kept the gap around 2 minutes for the rest of the day. With about 20 miles to go, Freddie crashed pretty hard on a corner and had to get a new bike. Emerson and I waited in the cars for Freddie and then we paced him back to the group. In the closing circuits, Jeremy and crew had a little under a minute gap and the pace was picking up fast. Jeremy got caught with under 2 miles to go and Sean took a massive pull to get Freddie into position. In the end Freddie got boxed in and finished 20th. However Jeremy took the most aggressive rider jersey on the day!
Stage 2 was the longest stage of the Tour at 109 miles from Devon to Red Deer. The stage started off very fast with many attacks from everyone and all the Jelly Belly Boys. Nothing was sticking and the race covered the first 64 miles in 2 hours. Nearly right at the 2 hour mark, Serghei Tvetcov and a rider from BMC rode away from the field and the gap immediately grew to over 5 minutes. When we hit the finishing circuits, Serghei and his breakaway companion had a 1:20 gap. The pace in the field picked up, but no luck. Serghei took a very close 2nd place and also took home the Most Aggressive Rider jersey for the Bean team second day in a row!
When we woke up for the 105 mile stage 3 from Strathmore to Drumheller, it was raining and windy. Luckily it was a 2 hour drive to the race and by the time we got there the sun was out but the winds were howling. We all knew it was going to be a very decisive day and that positioning was going to be key. Not more than 10 miles into the race, we took a right hand turn and the crosswinds started. The race become shattered into 3 groups of riders, with Brad, and Freddie making the front group. After another 20 or so mile, the groups all started to come back together and a hard attack from some Pro-Tour teams came and started the winning move. With about 60 miles to go, the peloton was back together and the breakaway of 17 riders were gone. The field was content with letting them go and we all rolled in safe and sound. A very different ending to a chaotic start.
Stage 4 was the 105 mile Black Diamond Loop and on paper it was the hardest day of racing with the most climbing of the tour. It was also very chilly and raining, this made for a epic day of racing. The stage started very fast and the breakaway selection was made very soon. Nic Hamiliton ( my roommate for the week) made the break and that was the last we saw of him. He ended the stage finishing 7th place on the day. The rest of the team rolled in with the field after staying as warm and as safe as we could.
The last and final day was the shortest at just 80 miles, but with a very technical finish the Calgary (Fun fact: Nic’s hometown!) we knew it was not going to be an easy day. The breakaway took about an hour to go, but once it went Nic Hamiliton had made the selection. With the break never gaining more than 1:30, we all knew it was going to come to a field sprint. Going into the last 10 miles we made sure the team was together and ready to keep Freddie and Brad safe for the sprint. I got shuffled into the back of the field once things started to get very chaotic, but Brad and Freddie stayed up in the mix. Brad finished 6th on the stage.
With that the week was done. I learned a lot, and we had a very successful tour with one podium finish, three top 10’s and two days in the most aggressive rider jersey.
I find myself filling out forms in regards to taxes, insurance, credit card, or anything medical and know that when I list Professional Cyclist in the box seeking my job title, it elicits a raised eyebrow or two. I’ve been in this game long enough to recognize that being a professional cyclist is a bit of a foreign concept to a significant slice of the population.
Here’s something that we can all understand: riding bikes is good. Now raise that to an even greater power — that is, mix in the very best time of year, add a healthy dose of exquisite food, naturally toss in (more than just) a generous pour of big California wine, and top it off with some awesome people and exemplary terrain — and what you have now is truly great.
Welcome to the Ted King California Weekender.
I’ve had the privilege of riding my bike in some of the world’s most spectacular places. Northern California, though, and especially the corridor from Mill Valley along Highway 1 as you soar over the Pacific, snaking inland on spectacular roads towards Sonoma, then rounding the bend and cruising south into Napa Valley, Holy Moly that is something more than special.
I therefore teamed up with my best friend, mentor, all around incredible guy — oh, and should I mention cycling guide — Joao Correia to bring inGamba Tours into the fray. I’ve been lucky enough to have imbibed on my fair share of fun tagging along on inGamba’s tours throughout Europe and quickly see that these “tours” are more than just you, your buddies, your bike, and a map as unfortunately so many other “tours” are operate. You’re immediately family with Joao. There’s an intimate and immediate relationship bonded that you won’t find anywhere else.
These are obviously open and public roads. If you want to go get lost riding NorCal roads, I trust you’ll have a good time. If, however, you want to ride some of the best roads you’ll ever pedal, eat some of the most divine foods you’ll ever encounter, stay in incredible hotels, and be indulge in hospitality like you’ve never soaked in before, …ah, and come ride bikes with me, then join us on the California Weekender. You will be blown away. Want to pick my brain about what life’s like as a professional cyclist? Come on out and ask away — I can answer those questions too.
To inquire email nate@inGamba.pro
November 1-5, 2013
The Jelly Belly cycling team presented by Kenda recently completed the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, coming away with strong results at one of the best races in the world.
In the first four days of the seven-day race, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda had a rider in the breakaway — Ian Burnett, followed by Luis Lemus and then two breaks with Serghei Tvetcov.
Freddie Rodriquez broke the top 11 twice in the race seen by an audience of 1.5 million fans.
“I’m very happy with our results. The riders stood on their heads for the results we had,” said team director Danny Van Haute. “We will come back with a strong team in 2014.”
It’s fitting that I finished today’s queen stage of the Tour of Utah up the fierce Snowbird finishing climb with Ben King. My (not actual) brother from another mother, Ben and I share a last name, are good friends, yet we are entirely unrelated. However, presumably because we are both awesome, the number of times people cheer for me and yet yell, “Go Ben” — or vice versa, motivating Ben onward with shouts of “Crush it Ted!” — is far beyond what we’re ready to count.
So finishing in a petite group of three with Ben, it made it simple for the hoards of fans to just yell Ted and Ben interchangeably and make us both happy.
And with that said, let’s go over some rules for cheering since some of the stuff we hear uttered borders on ridiculous, even though that’s seemingly not the intent. Here are a series of examples we hear along a finishing climb or otherwise tough section of bike racing parcours:
• “You can do it!”
Thank you. We know we can do it. We may look like we’re struggling or are in a world of pain, so even if we’re in the midst of some serious bike humping and/or paperboying, we’re not about to hop off our bikes and walk. Just like Obama says, yes we can… do it. We know that and don’t need this obvious encouragement.
• “Keep going!”
Much like the above, of course we are going to keep going. In all likelihood, even if we’re deep into hating life at that very moment of a climb, chances are that if we keep on going up, then down, then wherever else the race takes us, we will very likely be traveling the shortest distance to the finish. So unless you have a BBQ and exquisite selection of microbrews lining the road with your absurd cheers causing a detour into your front lawn, we will probably keep going.
• “You’re almost there!”
This isn’t so absurd. However we are generally quite aware of where we are in the race and within the climb itself. So please save this cheer for when we are actually almost there. A la, within sight or even spitting distance of the top/finish.
• “5 kilometers to go!” (or “1 kilometer to go!” or “so-and-so distance to go!” et cetera)
Again, similar to the above, this one can be shouted freely and with all the might of your billowing lungs, but for Pete’s sale, ONLY SAY IT WHEN IT’S CORRECT! To “warn” us that there are five kilometers to go when there are really, oh say seven or six or eight is just a real jerk thing to do. So kindly shut your mouth or else be at least mildly accurate.
As fitting alternatives to the above, here are a brief list of appropriate things to verbally spur us on:
• “Your King of the Road Jersey is Amazing!”
You’re absolutely correct, Not-Ted-King! Yes, it is. It looks like this and if you haven’t purchased one yet, then what the crap are you waiting for?!
Yup, that’s a real ax, those are real logs, and I really have not personally chopped them. And profits go to a real charity.
• “Pedal faster!”
We actually hear this one a lot. It’s astute, to the point, and does the job. Because pedaling faster will make us go faster which will make us, err, ride faster. Plus it’s curt and witty and is just annoying enough to make us pedal faster.
• This isn’t actually something to yell, but we encourage you to HAND OUT DOLLAR BILLS!
There’s some dude here in Utah who is in a Sasquatch suit (or maybe it’s a ghillie suit, but it looks hot and miserable in the Utah’ah heat so I doff my hat to you) and he hands out dollars to cross eyed cyclists. You’ll see us pedal just that one iota harder when we see a dollar or twenty on the line.
Yeuup, the dollar you see atop this post is the actual dollar bill from today’s race. Thanks Ghillie Man!
• “There’s a burrito at the finish line for you!”
Just like the above, this will have a lot more meaning if a) there is a burrito at the finish line for us or b) there is a burrito cart at the finish line, so while the burrito is not yet built, the potential is there so in due time there will be a burrito. This, however, is rare — in fact, I’ve never seen such a thing. The European alternative to a burrito is a kebabs; meat and veg and a little splash of authentic sauce all wrapped up in a warm and comfy flour tortilla-like thing: YEAH delicious food!
Oye, massage time. G’night.
Ben Wolfe sent this report after the Tour of Elk Grove:
Stage 1: Stage One of the Tour of Elk Grove was a 7.2k prologue in the shape of a T. It had three U-turns on the course which meant that if you didn’t corner properly you could lose some very valuable time. Being a prologue on such a short course, riders were sent off in 1:30 gaps, so the Bean Team’s early riders went off at 6 p.m. and the last riders didn’t go off until nearly 7:30 p.m. We all put in good times landing four out of six riders in the top-30 and the Canadian speedster Nic Hamilton finished 5th and B-Rad Huff used his track pursuit expertise to finish 10th. Sean Mazich was aiming for a great time until a spectator walked onto the course right in front of him as he was barreling down at 30+ mph. Luckily Sean played football in his youth…(We’ll leave it at that).
Stage 2: Stage Two felt as crazy as it looked on paper. The 25 turns per lap, 10 laps and almost 100 miles meant positioning and corning were going to be key. Our team plan was to cover moves and then get Brad and Nic to the last kilometer and then let them “grip it and rip it,” as Nic would say. The race was pretty consistently “on” and attacks were going fast. However, there were several teams riding for a sprint finish so every move would eventually be brought back. In the last 8km, Sean and I rolled with a group of about 10 riders that had a 15-second gap. A few guys were really driving it to try to make it to the finish while the rest were sitting on hoping to get caught. With about 6k to go, Nic followed a few riders across the gap to make the group 15 riders strong. With three out of six Bean Team riders in the move if it were to stick we had the numbers to finish it off, and if it got caught we were ready to line it up for Brad. At 4k to go the move got caught and it started to get crazy. Everybody was trying to get to the front, every team was battling. I got pushed out and never saw the front again while Brad, Jeremy, Sean, Christiaan and Nic were holding their own. Going into the last kilometer Brad was in the mix and finished 9th on the day! A great effort from the team, but we knew we had to work on some things for the final stage.
Stage3: Stage Three was shorter and had a few less turns in it. We had refined our plan from the previous day and knew exactly what we had to do to get Brad to the line. After a few early moves, Jeremy rolled with a group of about 10 riders that the rest of the field was happy with and the gap quickly grew to 2+ minutes. With about 60km to go, the heavy-hitting teams started chasing to bring it back for a sprint finish. We happily sat there and saved as much energy for the final lap to get Brad into position to do what he does best. With two laps to go the bulk of the break was back in the field with two riders still 30 seconds up the road. We got together and started talking about how we were going to execute our plan based on how everybody was feeling. We knew we had to be the second team going into 5km to go. My job was to do the first big pull to bring the team, and then Jeremy would take over. I fought hard and with 4k to go the team was together and we were moving up. This being my first big-league race, I was nervous and did not like how dicey it gets with all the mayhem of teams trying to be up at the front. Luckily, I had Jeremy behind me telling me exactly what to do and reminding me to take deep breaths (Thanks again, Jeremy!). I brought the team through the first of the final three turns level with the UHC team at the front and then I was cooked. I pulled off and Jeremy took over, then Nic, Sean, Chris and Brad. I could see the last kilometer from where I was riding and Brad was in awesome position, the team had really worked together and done our job. Brad finished it off, taking third place in a very close sprint!
I couldn’t be happier with the way we all came together as a team on the last day to pull off the result. Good luck to all the Bean Team riders shredding their way through Utah this week!
Until next time,
Jelly Belly p/b Kenda riders handed out water bottles and other goodies during the kids’ event at the 2013 Tour of Elk Grove.