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Jelly Belly p/b Kenda competed in the Tucson Bicycle Classic last weekend, earning podium spots in two stages and finishing the race with four riders in the top 10.
First-year rider Ian Burnett took second in the Stage 1 time trial, missing first place by just four seconds.
Christiaan Kriek was third in the final stage, a 50-mile rolling road race that ended with a field sprint. And in the final GC, Morgan Schmitt placed fourth, Kriek was fifth, Luis Lemus was sixth and Sean Mazich finished seventh.
“I’m very happy with the results from this weekend,” said team manager Danny Van Haute. “The team is riding very strong.”
Next up is the San Dimas Stage Race, March 22-24, followed by the first NRC race of the season — the Redlands Bicycle Classic, April 4-7.
Rider Emerson Oronte gives the rundown on the Tour de Murrieta.
Jelly Belly presented by Kenda turned its attention last weekend to a few domestic races as a means of getting some racing in the legs before the first NRC event on the calendar—the Redlands Bicycle Classic. In southern California, a six-man squad contested the Tour de Murrieta while Brad Huff and Luis Lemus raced circles around downtown Tucson, Ariz., in the Old Pueblo Grand Prix. In the end, Brad finished ninth in Tuscon, while Christiaan Kriek and Sean Mazich went 1-2 overall in California.
Racing kicked off Friday in Murrieta with a 4.1 mile-time trial that finished on a 1-mile dirt climb. Despite everything said about “sunny” southern California, we were pretty bummed to wake up and see wet pavement and rain clouds on the horizon. By the time we got on the course, the skies had opened up and we all were sufficiently soaked. Regardless of the elements though, the team went out and put on a good performance—placing three riders in the top five and six in the top 12. Being a points race, this put us in great position heading into the next day’s criterium.
With Saturday’s criterium, our goal was pretty simple (at least on paper):
stack the breakaway and win—thereby securing as many points for as many riders as possible. Once racing started, it took only a hair over 10 minutes for this tactic to come to fruition withme, Christiaan, and Sean getting away with three other riders.
Our gap never reached much more than 25 seconds, so we had to work pretty consistently to stay away. With five laps to go, tactics came into play and guys started attacking to try and get away. With one to go, I put in a bit of a dig to make the other three guys work while Sean and Chris sat on. Despite being caught with around half a lap to go, Christiaan and Sean were still able to seal the deal by finishing first and second on the stage — making Christiaan the overall leader as well.
Sunday’s final stage consisted of 16 laps of a rolling 3.5-mile loop. Even with the leader’s jersey, we still planned to race with the intention of putting as many guys into a winning move as possible. However, with the success of the previous day’s break, I think a lot of the other riders had the same plan in mind as racing was aggressive pretty consistently throughout the day. In the end, only in the last five miles a move containing Sean and one other rider broke clear and stayed away. When all was said and done, Sean took second on the day while back in the pack Christiaan and Ricardo Van der Velde finished in fifth and sixth respectively. With their results, Chris and Sean triumphed as first and second overall in the race. And with four riders in the top 10 overall, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda took home the team prize.
All-in-all, I would say it was a successful weekend for the bean team—good racing, good results and a few good laughs. We plan to keep the ball rolling at the upcoming Tucson Bicycle Classic, so be sure to check back for updates on how it’s going. For more immediate information about what we’re up to, you can check out our Twitter (@JellyBellyTeam) and Facebook pages.
As a final note, see the links below for more photos, videos and even a race report by Christiaan Kriek on this weekend’s racing from our friends at Cycling Illustrated and SoCalCycling.com.
First-year rider Ben Wolfe gives a moment-by-moment look back at the Valley of the Sun stage race, the team’s first of the year.
The 2013 race season is officially under way for the Jelly Belly p/b Kenda Cycling Team. After wrapping up a great two-week training camp in sunny San Marcos, Calif., where I met my new team, took tons of photos, got amazing swag, and had some great team bonding experiences, we all got down to the business of racing at the Valley of the Sun Stage Race in scenic Phoenix. We were motivated to start the season strong and deliver some great results.
After a six-hour van ride across the desert to Arizona, we arrived at host housing and were greeted by our most inviting host, Bill. After a quick bite and some coffee, we kitted up and headed out for a short ride on our hot new Focus Cayo Evo race bikes! Christiaan was first to put his bike to a real speed test when he raced the neighborhood kids around the block … It was close in the end and we had to go to the camera for the photo finish. Those kids show promise!
After the neighborhood crit race and the spin were over, our awesome host Bill had a tasty pasta, chicken and salad dinner waiting for us to dig into. Stomachs full, legs ready, we all eased into relaxation mode, watched some television and eventually called it a night.
Friday’s time trial was the first official day of racing for the 2013 season and my first race as a pro! We were all excited to test our legs and check out how the winter homework went. We pinned the numbers onto our new Pactimo skin suits, ate breakfast and were out the door! We arrived nice and early to the start so that we could relax (notice the trend) and get a solid warm-up in before the start.
All aboard the Focus TT machines with new 3T disc wheels we were ready to smash it! We all went out and gave it what we had and finished with five riders in the top-20. Ian finished ninth, Nic was 10th, Luis was 12th, Brad was 13th and Sean was 14th. That out of the way, we were ready to throw down at the Stage 2 Road Race.
Our plan for the stage was essentially to team time trial into the crosswind section and cause a field split. We had a solid plan, now we just needed the wind to be in our favor. We arrived at the race course and immediately got excited: WIND! Knowing that this meant we were going to ride hard in the crosswind section, I got kitted up, threw on the 60mm 3T dish wheels (which handled like a charm) and set out to warm up, which not many guys do for a 160k road race.
Once the race started, the team got together (as best we could) before the turn to the crosswind section and put the hammer down. After a few rotations through, we saw that it wasn’t doing the damage to the field that we had intended, the wind was more of a headwind than a cross wind. We persisted and Nic and Morgan did manage to get up the road with a few other guys. Nic grabbed all the KOM points available and won the KOM jersey for the race!
It all came back together in the last 25k and we knew that from that point on, we were going for the stage win. This is where my description of how the race went gets a little fuzzy (I was on auto-pilot to just do what I was told). We worked very well together in the crosswind section, keeping the team together and making sure Sean, Luis and Christiaan were ready for the finale. With about 6-7k to go, Brad took a flyer to put the pressure on the Jamis-HB team to chase. They felt the pressure and Brad got caught with 3k to go, right at the base of the finishing hill.
From this point on, my work was done and I dropped off the back but the team didn’t drop off: First Ian launched a move, then Luis, then Luis again, putting more pressure on the Jamis team and setting up Christiaan for the sprint. With 200m to go, Christiaan opened up the sprint. Ben Jacques-Maynes inched past him in the final few meters to take the win. We finished second, sixth and seventh on the stage. The first proper race on the Focus Cayo Evo showed it is a true racing bike and to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ridden a stiffer bike in my life. All in all a great day at the office for the team.
The third and final day of the race was the criterium in downtown Phoenix, an absolutely beautiful city. The course was an eight-corner, pancake flat course. We were “keen to win the stage” as Christiaan put it. We took a lap and the back half of the race course felt more like a sector of cobblestones in the Paris-Roubaix than a U.S. criterium. I was worried about flatting or even breaking a wheel on any of the potholes, crevices or reflectors on the course.
The race started fast and never slowed down, with attack after attack. After several failed attempts at breakaways, one dangerous move got up the road, all the major teams were represented — except for us! Of course that meant we’d have to get on the front and chase, team time trial style. After 5-6 laps of us chasing, the gap came down from 30 seconds to nil and the racing started again with attacks from everybody, including the Jelly Belly boys.
Our plan was to go for the stage win by setting up our own Brad Huff, one of the best sprinters in the business. We wanted to take over the front with a few laps to go and lead Brad out into the last corner for the win. We fought our way up to the front and it turned into a drag race between the two strongest teams in the field. Going into the last corner, Brad opened up the sprint! He came up behind JJ and then hesitated for a moment before he jumped again. In the end he lost momentum; it was a very close race with Brad finishing a close second to JJ Haido.
We were happy with our results, two second place finishes, the KOM jersey, and the Best U-23 rider, Luis. We are motivated and confident that we are headed for a strong season. We look forward to some great racing and some great results for all of our sponsors who make this possible for us!
Rider Emerson Oronte wrote this recap of the Jelly Belly p/b Kenda training camp:
The 2013 season marks the 14th for Team Jelly Belly presented by Kenda—a feat which makes Jelly Belly the longest running title sponsor in all of U.S. cycling. As has been the tradition over that time, the guys met up for our first team camp in sunny San Marcos, Calif., for a few weeks of sponsor presentations, media training, photo shoots and training. Below is a collection of photos compiled by the guys over the course of our first week and a half of camp.
Upon arriving at camp, riders are assigned a time slot in which headshots are taken. In addition to smiling for the camera though, riders are also given free reign to pick and choose from a LARGE collection of Jelly Belly merchandise which Stephanie Scott, Jelly Belly’s Event Marketing Manager, brings for us each year. Fortunately, I was given an early time slot and, as a result, was able to snap a photo of everything before it was hoarded away. Each year, I tend to find one or two new items that I just can’t seem to stop snacking on. This year, I would have to say it was the Jelly Belly Sours. Out of fear of embarrassing myself, I will refrain from saying specifically how many of those things I ate. Needless to say though, it was a lot.
Following a day of outdoor photos (by Brian Hodes of Velo Images), the team assembled on day three for sponsor presentations and media training. In celebration of Jelly Belly’s 14th year as a sponsor, our team director, Danny Van Haute, decided to pull out some of the more prestigious jerseys won by Team Jelly Belly riders over the years. As the longest-running title sponsor in the United States, it goes without saying that there is a great deal of history behind this team and these jerseys are proof of that.
As luck would have it, despite being sunny and warm the previous three days, when the time came for us to finally get on our bikes and ride, rain decided to tag along with us. Regardless of the weather though, we managed to pull off a good ride—after all, misery loves company and who better to share it with than teammates.
Battling the elements would be something of a theme this week as, in addition to rain, we also endured a fair bit of snow at the top of Palomar Mountain a few days later while previewing this year’s Amgen Tour of California route. Based on the photos below, it’s clear some of us thoroughly enjoyed the climb while others…not so much.
As if riding for 4-6 hours wasn’t tiring enough, we then had to participate in our annual “team bonding event.” Over the last few years, Danny has thought of some pretty bizarre activities to bring us together as a team–a few years back, we participated in a three hour Navy SEALs boot camp, last season it was Go Karts and paintballing; and this year it was three separate, one-hour kickboxing classes spread out over three days.
Below, you can see our instructor—Marshall Hamil—teaching Alex Hagman the technique of defending against jabs to the upper body. Following the three days of training, we then got in the ring and applied what we had learned in various sparring matches against our teammates. When all was said and done, I had the distinct honor of being kicked in the neck by Brad Huff and punched in the face by Alex Hagman. At the same time, I’m pretty sure the punching bag that I used for practice inflicted more damage on me than I did on it. Hooray for team bonding!
With that, team camp has drawn to a close and the race season is upon us. Personally, I expect big things from the guys this season and I know we all share this sentiment. One of the goals of the team this year is to keep our fans and sponsors updated with stories from racing and being on the road. We hope you’ll check back to the team website frequently to see what we’ve been up to. At the same time, if you have any questions you would like to ask the team, feel free to post it in a comment below or shoot it to either our Twitter (@JellyBellyTeam) or Facebook accounts.
Until next time,
As a loyal Jelly Belly p/b Kenda team fan you may notice this report is written with a bit of a different tone. That is because we are starting a new initiative; I guess you could call it a new years resolution. The riders have all agreed to supply loads of content in an aim to give an inside view of the happenings of the team. We hope you enjoy this and look forward to crossing paths down the road.
BOOM! 2013 is upon us. Please, allow us to re-introduce ourselves. Jelly Belly presented by Kenda is pumped to get after this new season with a very strong return of cast and crew that has been bolstered by three new riders. Firstly, we have to point out that this will be our 14th season under the Jelly Belly banner. That in itself is massive and lands us in the top five of longest running teams in the world.
Things are much the same with us on the backend of the team with Danny, Ver Beast, at the helm and the Ralfster as our main man with wrench. This dynamic duo, joined periodically by other familiar faces that lend an oily hand or two, could write the book on international travel. Between the two of them they have more frequent flier miles than Santa Claus.
Returning riders are Brad Huff, Jeremy Power, Ricardo van der Velde, Emerson Oronte, Sean Mazich, Nic Hamilton, Luis Lemus, Christiaan Kriek, and Alex Hagman. This crew encompasses a variety of strengths and styles of racing in combination with cohesion unlike any other in the peloton. Not only that, but easily one of the most entertaining and fun bunch within the bunch, but don’t take our word for it, follow these guys on Twitter and see for yourself. In fact, Luis Lemus, the NATIONAL CHAMPION OF MEXICO is a twitter officianado and could easily write a book on social media.
It won’t take long for the new guys to mesh with the returning core…I imagine just one Navy SEAL session, round of paintball, or whatever the management has in store for us at team camp (scheduled for early February) should do the trick. Lets meet the new faces.
Morgan Schmidt: Pacific North West fellah Morgan has been in the game a while, not saying he’s old though. He brings some good experience and some strength in the hills and as a GC rider. A rather quiet demeanor lends me an inclination to nick-name him the silent killer. We will keep yah posted on the developments there.
Ian Burnett: We are happy to have another Coloradan come on board for 2013, such a happy folk they are. A quick shout out to this all around rider as he is recently engaged- Big ups amigo! Ian has a big engine – a throttle just waiting to be gripp’d and ripp’d…a horse chomping at the bit, a lion ready to burst from a cage…you get the gist, this guy will lay the hurt.
Ben Wolfe: A young gun entering the domestic pro scene for his first year. Facebook tells me he is from Connecticut and there a ton of photos with him winning races so I am keen to meet this guy. We already bonded over a tweet exchange about Sriracha hot sauce…so, so far he’s notched a few tallies in the ‘good/great’ column.
We are psyched to have Rock Tape come on board to help hold us together when the going gets tough. Most of the guys sought out Rock Tape independently last year, so it just makes sense to partner up for an injury free season. Also, 3T components have stepped up to provide us with the Mercurio carbon dangs (read: wheels) to go along with our cockpit and seat posts. I scoped these wheels out at Interbike and they are the real deal, stealthy and light. Cat Eye cycling computers is launching a new model called the Stealth, which is GPS and Power enabled; we will now have every bit of technology at our fingertips. Inno Advanced Car Racks will outfit the team convoy with the best racks around. Ask our mechanic, he is extremely comfortable using these racks knowing the bikes will never fall. Another important consideration for him is that the bikes engage and disengage quickly enabling a super fast bike swap should there be any mishaps on the road. North Wave shoes will keep us styling on the steps with special podium shoes.
Please have a look at our partners section on the website because without all the fantastic support we would just be a bunch of skinny dudes trying to go fast…we would be, well runners I guess…whoa, that would be way too hard…so a MASSIVE thanks to all our sponsors so that we don’t have to run anywhere and no one has to witness that, ever.
Look for more reports soon, including an in depth look at what happens behind the scenes at the Jelly Belly team camp! Thanks for reading,
Jelly Belly p/b Kenda travels to Japan this week for the final two races of the 2012 season.
“The boys have had a tremendous year, and we’re all looking to finish on a high note,” said team director Danny Van Haute.
Riders Luis Lemus, Brad Huff, Nic Hamilton, Ricardo Van der Velde and Alex Hagman will represent Jelly Belly p/b Kenda, first in the Japan Cup criterium on Oct. 20, followed by the road race Oct. 21.
“In last year’s crit, we placed two riders in the top 10. This year, we can win it,” Van Haute said.
Jelly Belly p/b Kenda brings no less than the U.S.’s top-ranked crit rider in Huff, who has posted wins this season in the Nature Valley Grand Prix, Dana Point Grand Prix and the Gateway Cup, and came in second in the criterium national championships.
“With this long season coming to a close in beautiful Japan, I couldn’t be happier to test my legs one last time. I hope to again be gunning for the win in the criterium,” Huff said.
Van Haute said that in last year’s road race, the uphill finish proved daunting. But now the riders know what they’re facing.
“The boys know the course and are ready to finish in the top three. That’s the goal,” Van Haute said.
Hamilton said the road course is one of the hardest circuits he has ever raced, but he’s confident in his teammates.
“We have a roster tailor-made for it, so we will be shooting for a top step,” he said. “The hospitality in Japan is unparalleled anywhere in the world so it is the perfect way to wrap up the year….fireworks in Japan!”
Jelly Belly p/b Kenda posted strong results at the Japan Cup to cap off the 2012 cycling season.
Brad Huff placed sixth in the Japan Cup criterium, and Luis Lemus took the best young rider jersey in the road race.
The pace was intense both days, team director Danny Van Haute said. In the criteruim, staged in front of 100,000 people in downtown Utsuomiya, Japan, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda had a rider in every breakaway. Lemus, Nic Hamilton and Alex Hagman put Huff in a good position for the final sprint, and he dug deep for a sixth-place finish.
The road race covered 150 kilometers on a 15-km loop, with two climbs every lap. The riders again hung with the race’s furious pace, with Lemus, Hamilton and Hagman all finishing in the top 30.
“I’m proud of everybody’s effort,” Van Haute. “This was a great showing for Jelly Belly p/b Kenda in Japan.”