What an awesome first training camp I had with the J.A.M. Fund / NCC (Northampton Cycling Club) team this weekend in Easthampton, MA.
You guys are probably wondering, what the heck is Powers doing? What is this team thing he’s doing, does he own this team? Is he riding for this new team? What is J.A.M. / NCC?
Well, let me explain, hopefully quickly and effectively. Back in 2003, I raced for the Northampton Cycling Club. I was a cat 4 on the road. Racing with the “NCC elite road team,” I managed to work my way through my category upgrades. At that same time, I got together with my new teammates Alec and Mukunda and eventually, they became my best friends. I was going to college in Westfield, Mass., which is 20 minutes from Northampton center. I was working with Adam Myerson, who was my coach at the time, and riding with John Verheul, who was my coach a couple years ago, and Kevin Monohan, who you would all remember as back-to-back criterium national champion.
I looked up to those guys and the riding community that was based in what we call “NoHo” (Northampton). That summer, I moved in with Al and Mukunda into an apartment in NoHo. All of those people showed and taught me how to race my bike and win. Thanks to them, I was a category two on the road pretty quickly.
Later that season, I managed to join two of my NCC Elite Team teammates at the U23 World Championships. Alec had been the manager of the NCC Elite Team and got Matt White, Mike Cody and me all spots on the worlds team. I also got my first pro contract with Jelly Belly that same year! I was 20 years old.
So, thanks to Alec and Mukunda, I learned how to not get shot out the back of category 1, 2 races while we ripped around the north east. They also showed me essential life skills that I hadn’t picked up in the college life I had come to know pretty well.
Fast forward 8 years. Mukunda took over what was the old Louis Garneau team “Wheelhouse Sports” team. Alec and Mukunda re-connected with the Northampton Cycling Club, and for the next two seasons, the Wheelhouse Sports/NCC was the place to be. Finally, Al, Mukunda and I created J.A.M. Fund / Foundation last year.
To help raise money for J.A.M. (Jeremy, Alec and Mukunda) we put together the Grand FUNdo, which is on July 30th this year. Then we sat down, decided to rebrand Wheelhouse Sports for the 2011 racing season as “J.A.M. Fund / NCC.” We also persuaded my sponsor – FOCUS bikes – to deck the team out with the new Ilzalco framesets and we have some awesome partners and friends who have helped really make this thing become a reality.
So, this weekend we had a blast and got together for our first J.A.M. team training camp and it was awesome. Today we did a five hour, 100-mile ride up to Brattleboro, Vermont and finished up with a big dinner and beers over at Mukunda’s place. Look out for the riders to be spreading the word about J.A.M. and putting their stamp on a lot of events all over North America this year.
Thanks for reading and if you’d like to learn more about Wheelhouse Sports, the team, it’s riders, the grand fundo, etc. Check out their website at www.wheelhouseracing.com or on twitter: @wheelhouseracin