By Alec Donahue
Published 09/23/2021; Updated 09/25/2021

As many of you know, the JAM Fund is an elite cycling development program that is based in the Pioneer Valley. The Northampton Cycling Club is a significant sponsor of the program. JAM Fund helps young athletes achieve their dreams on and off the bike through coaching, mentoring, and annual grant programs.

You may have seen JAM Fund members assisting at NCC events, including this summer’s Zoom Mass Crit Series, Hydra Cross, and youth programs.

As the 2021 cyclocross season commences, we will be participating in events throughout the East Coast. We are fortunate to have a major event at Look Park, the Northampton International Cyclocross, on November 6th and 7th. JAM Fund puts on this world class event, but needs volunteers to help make the event run smoothly. If you are willing to volunteer, please sign up. Come and show your support for NCC and JAM Fund racers. We will have a tent, so please stop by.

As we begin our formal racing, we are fundraising. If you’re interested in supporting JAM Fund, please donate.

Donate to JAM FUND

If you donate $20 or more, we will send you stylish socks. Please e-mail me after your donation with your address to receive the socks.

After taking last year off from formal racing, I wanted to share what the JAM Fund has been doing to support riders and the community.

In 2020 we shifted from our usual racing and event promotion to putting energy into building a better cycling infrastructure. We built trails, bridges, blazed new beginner-friendly mountain bike loops for the town of Northampton, and began long-term projects like a bike park in the area.

 

 

Throughout the year we had small Covid-safe group sessions where we had fun working on cyclocross skills and enjoyed seeing humans in wide open spaces. Nothing like bringing Covid tests to CX practice.

 

 

We rode and raced on Zwift as a team with our extended NCC family. Weekly rides kept our sanity, and we would often have an audio or video channel open to feel like we were actually visiting people. Ellen Noble, JAM Fund alumna and current professional cyclist, even showed up on one ride to draw caricatures of all of us. It was hard to pedal with all the laughter. Another alum, Ian Gielar, called in from his Navy base to keep up with his old gang. Nothing like going from racing bikes to flying jets for Uncle Sam.

Our annual fundraiser, the JAM Fundo, was put on hold for the last two years for obvious reasons. The necessary planning and impact on the hosting towns and participants was too uncertain for our risk tolerance. The Fundo serves as the major funding source for our program. We hope to come back in 2022 and continue to be part of the gravel boom that we helped gain momentum more than a decade ago. Our hope is to keep it true to our roots and not grow over 400-500 riders to maintain the ride integrity we hold dear.

As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, we have recently started ramping up JAM Fund activities. The team has picked up new riders and will divide our focus between being a fun place to ride and develop, and a solid UCI race calendar. To learn more about our talented team members, please visit the JAM Fund website.

We look forward to this season and will keep making the best out of any situation thrown at us. Thank you to all our supporters, especially the NCC.

Video highlighting the Northampton International Cyclocross event atmosphere: