J-Pow’s Journal: With the glory comes the pain
Hey guys! It’s been a while. I know. The last month’s been pretty crazy. Lots of road racing, coupled with long hours on the bike, figuring out my racing schedule for the fall, dialing my new Cannondale Super X bikes and all the things that life brings with it and getting in eight at night hasn’t come easy. I’m not complaining though. Everything’s great. But I did title this’ with the glory comes the pain’ for a reason.
It goes back to three weeks ago at the Green Mountain stage race in Vermont — It was my first time ever doing the race. Over the years I had heard amazing things about the race but never was able to make it fit, with Tour of Missouri canceled, It opened the door to partake.
Notable pros, Ted King, my Jelly Belly-Kenda teammate (and Canadian national champion) Will Routley, Will Dugan, Tim Johnson, Jake Keough, David Veilleux, Reed Mumford, Jamey Driscoll, Eric Schidlge and others were also out for 10th annual GMSR.
The race started out with a 15 minute prologue which Teddy easily won and I placed fourth. Stage 2 was won by Reed Mumford from a break of twenty or so. Then on stage three, the race’s queen stage with some big Vermont mountains, dirt roads and nasty head winds came. After a slew of early attacks the lull came and I followed a wheel and poof, we were gone. About eight of us were off the front and I was on my way to what would become my first ever yellow jersey in a road race! David Veilleux won stage 3 and I came in second on the day and I had a nice three-minute lead over Tim Johnson come Sundays criterium in downtown Burlington.
I have to say I haven’t been nervous in a road race/criterium in a long time. I definitely was feeling some jitters from having the yellow jersey on my back. About 10 laps into the 40-lap race I made room for another rider and came out of what we call the “washing machine” (when the peloton is constanly moving forward and riders keep rotating, like a washing machine). Well, I popped out of the washing machine on the right side of the pack. I started to push back up on the right when I noticed a fiberglass cow sculpture hanging his snout into the course. “oh hey bud” WHACK!! I had broken my index finger. The second it happened I knew I had broken it. A couple guys commented on the ‘good save’ for not hitting the deck after smashing into the cow sculpture. I hung onto the bars in pain over the next 30 laps, but there was no way I was going to give up for a broken finger or anything for that matter.
After the race and podium ceremony with my hand looking like a sausage I headed off to the hospital. The X-Ray guy tricked me and told me that despite the swelling, it wasn’t broken, I sighed relief. Ten minutes later the doc came in and said I had snapped that sucker like a twig. Not clean off, but pretty close. Awesome.
A lot of things start racing through my mind. Will I be able to train? Will I be able to race? Is a measly finger going to end my road season and stop my ‘cross season from even starting? Am I gonna have to pull a Kobe Bryant while the cyclocross season kicked off without me?
Stress filled my brain. Reality set in and I figured whatever happened, I’d make the best of it. At first the finger was REAL tender. After a couple days’ rest I rode outside and made it work. It wasn’t pretty: a combination of foam padding, a pair of defeet wool socks and some medical tape made the bars thick and soft enough to dampen the road vibration so I could keep my hand on the bars.
A week like that and then it was off to Greenville, South Carolina, for the road and time trial national champs. The hand held up well; I torched by front brake from over-use on the quick decent off Paris Mountain. My Jelly Belly-Kenda teammates, Bernard van Ulden and Kiel Reijnen, smashed it. Bernie was third in the TT and Kiel was third in the road race!
Truth was, I was still worried about my injured wing. Earlier in the week, I tried to ride my ‘cross bike in a training race back in Massachusetts but I was in pain. I wondered,’ will my finger hold up on a bumpy ‘cross course like Vegas? I didn’t even know.
After Greenville, I darted back to Massachusetts, unpacked from road nationals, repacked for ‘cross, and headed to Vegas. Forty-eight hours later I was on the start line of CrossVegas. The start list dripped with talent, a lot of big-name European cyclocross racers and anyone who is anyone in U.S. cyclocross was there, not to mention all our sponsors.
My finger-worries were quickly tossed out the window after the gun fired and adrenaline took over. The attacks started flying and my Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com teammate Jamey Driscoll darted off the front for a solo lead which he held for the entire race until the last three inches, when he was caught by the French national champion Francis Mourey. It was really close and that only fueled the fire for our next match with Mourey in Madison, Wisconisn, at the USGP. For me, Vegas was a good first race of the season. I was there sprinting for the win with the rest of them, just came up a little short.
The next morning, on few hours of sleep, I was meeting and mingling at Interbike. It was a great show this year, and I was excited to talk to potential sponsors about the J.A.M. Foundation, which is going to have an elite-amateur team in 2011. My friends Alec and Mukunda (the A and the M in J.A.M) who put on the “Grand Fundo” with me last July, pulled together some meetings and Mukunda and I were able to sit down with a lot of awesome people from the cycling world and tell them all about what we’re up too.
Just a few hours later, I was up in the air again, headed to Wisconsin for the first USGP of the season. In the course of 12 hours I traveled from Sin City to the cheese capitol of our country. What a difference a couple hours in a plane can make. Overall, I can say it went great. I won on Saturday, Timmy J won on Sunday, and we’re tied for the USGP overall. This weekend the results stayed the same: I won on Saturday and Tim won Sunday in beautiful Gloucester, Massachusetts. Here’s a quick run-down of what’s to come: This weekend I’ll be in Ohio for three days of racing from October 7th-10th, where I’ll try for the triple triple and just after that will be our trip to Switzerland for the first World Cup of the year, which I’m really excited about!
And if that’s not enough cyclo crossin’ for you, take a look at a web series my friend Sam Smith and I created called: “Behind the Barriers.” The videos are a behind the “barriers” look at everything that goes on with my team Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com this season! Hope you like em’
Talk to you soon, thanks for reading!
Jeremy Powers is a pro road racer with the Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda team. He races cyclocross for the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com team, you can follow more of his adventures at JPows.com or you can follow his every move at twitter.com/jeremypowers