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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Jelly Belly p/b Kenda put riders in the breakaway each day of the Joe Martin Stage Race, an event that includes one of the hardest criteriums in the U.S.

Ricardo Van der Velde, Christiaan Kriek, Brad Huff, Morgan Schmitt, Luis Lemus, Nic Hamilton and Sean Mazich represented the team in Fayetteville, Ark.

In the 110-mile road race, the break moved early. Lemus joined three other riders and stayed away for 80 miles. Lemus dropped his three partners for the last 15 miles. He put in a terrific effort, getting caught with just 5k to go. Van der Velde placed fifth, and Kriek finished 13th.

The next day, at about mile 20 of the 112-mile road race, Schmitt jumped into an eight-man breakaway. Later on, Hamilton and 13 other riders bridged up to the break, giving Jelly Belly p/b Kenda two riders in the front group. Hamilton went on to finish ninth, and Schmitt 11th.

The 85-minute crit on the final day covered a 1-1/2 mile course with a .4-mile climb on every lap. Huff got into a four-man breakaway that kept the field at bay for an hour. They rode hard and were caught with only 100 meters to the finish.

Hamilton ended up seventh in the GC, and Schmitt was 19th.

“The boys showed a lot of heart in a very hard race. Great riding,” said team director Danny Van Haute.

Next up for Jelly Belly p/b Kenda is the Tour de Gila, May 1-5 in Silver City, N.M.

Photo: Wil Matthews

Alex Hagman took first place in Stage Two.

Alex Hagman took first place in Stage Two.

Jelly Belly p/b Kenda executed a terrific team effort at the Sea Otter Classic last weekend, earning multiple podium spots including first place in Stage 2.

Morgan Schmitt, Ricardo Van der Velde, Christiaan Kriek, Sean Mazich, Alex Hagman and Emerson Oronte rode for Jelly Belly p/b Kenda in the four-day race in Monterey, Calif. When they weren’t racing, the riders held an autograph session at the Northwave booth and made  guest appearances at the Focus, 3T and Kenda booths.

The Focus booth displayed the team bike.

The Focus booth displayed the team bike.

In Stage 1, an hour long circuit race, the riders were surprised by the fast start. But they battled hard, and Van der Velde took third place with Kriek right behind in fourth.

The 70-mile road race on Day Two is when the team really excelled. With a breakaway two minutes ahead and just 20 miles to go, all six Jelly Belly p/b Kenda riders went to the front to try to bring it back. The effort paid off, and Hagman took the victory. Schmitt was fourth.

Van der Velde and Schmitt took fifth and sixth, respectively, in the time trial, and on the final day the squad led out Van der Velde to a second place finish. Mazich was fifth on the stage, and Schmitt finished third overall.

“The guys put together a great team effort. I am proud of their results and how they all worked together,” said team director Danny Van Haute.

Christiaan Kriek won the green points jersey at Redlands.

Christiaan Kriek won the green points jersey at Redlands. Photo by Brian Hodes

Nic Hamilton describes the team’s successes at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

During my time as a cyclist there have been very, very few constants. The Redlands Bicycle Classic is one of just a handful of races that I have been able to measure year to year. It’s one of those events that provokes those “my, how much has happened in a year?’ self-dialogues.

First, our host house puppies had grown into full-fledged dogs. But more importantly, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda had developed into a more experienced machine, ready to show ourselves on the road.

Day Uno: TT at Big Bear

A new Time Trial at Redlands created a lot of intrigue in the peloton. What would be the effect of this new course, held at a pretty decent altitude, just shy of 7000 feet? The newest member of the team, Serghei Tvetcov, wasn’t phased and had a solid rip placing eighth. Times were much tighter than with the previous uphill TT, so the GC battle was very much up for grabs and the Twitterverse was blowing up with projections of a war-like, street fight on Day 2.


One of the many fantastic things about our generous hosts in Redlands is that they have more freshly laid eggs than an entire cycling team can eat. Trust me, we tried. Then it was off to Beaumont. The race was energetic. Christiaan Kriek, the South African import, took the Green Jersey from a breakaway effort and the team really came together to accomplish our objectives, not always done the easy way, but we got ’em done. Brad Huff was sixth on the day thanks to a good dig from Alex Hagman to get him where he needed to be for the bunch kick, just a few seconds behind the leaders.


With a later race time we had a causal morning, but the routine was no different. Cyclists are creatures of habit. We threw a leg over the Focus Cayo EVO bikes in the morning to shake some of the “junk” out of our legs from the previous day’s 200km adventure and set off for some course recon and coffee shop time. Reconnecting with old friends is bound to happen at bike races as many of us only ever see each other at the races. We took the morning to drink coffee and catch up.

The evening event went by without too much drama. We realized we have a bit of work to do collaborating throughout the race to stay organized and on point. We eventually figured it out and Brad did a good sprint to finish second. Chris earned enough points to keep his jersey, and with that we had two boys walking the steps to the podium.

Brad Huff finished second in Stage 3. Photo by Brian Hodes

Brad Huff finished second in Stage 3. Photo by Brian Hodes

Sunset, oh how poetic:

The final day was the sunset loop road race, touted as one of the most challenging courses in the U.S. Like any course, it’s how you race it that makes it challenging or not, but with that said there is no hiding on sunset.  First order of business was locking up the points jersey in the opening criterium laps. Kriek did a great job muscling his way to win both bonus sprints and effectively lock up the jersey.

I have to take a quick few words here to express my thanks to the Redlands community. Turns out we aren’t the only team with hosts going way above and beyond for the teams. I was blown away by the Community as a whole supporting this event. There were people congregated enjoying the sun everywhere on the course. It both elevated and smashed our morale as we struggled up climbs past BBQ cook-outs and ice cold coolers of choice beverages. But in the end it was definitely a net positive on the morale – thanks for the “Jelly Belly” cheers.

From the race perspective we were well-represented and took some chances going on into the breaks and giving ‘er a go on ALL parts of the course. We finished with three guys in the final kick and another trip to the podium where Kriek could rest easy and take that points jersey home with him.

Jelly Belly p/b Kenda riders relax after a well-fought race. Photo by Brian Hodes

Jelly Belly p/b Kenda riders relax after a well-fought race. Photo by Brian Hodes

We are off to Sea Otter, then Joe Martin and Tour of the Gila, which are all new races for this author. Don’t be shy – come say hi!

Thanks for reading,
Nic Hamilton