The 2014 JETCycling Team Launch

I don't get out to things like this very often. I figure I am just not big enough to be picked up on the radar of most teams. Fortunately social media these days, has made them easier to find, with a simple click to RSVP. Dana Point is only an hour drive away after all, and besides, I could do worse than spend a couple hours in the fair city on the coast. More than that though, I liked the idea of this particular team launch. The big players in cycling media should be just as interested in covering a launch like this as they are in covering the kickoff of some big-monied pro team. 

JETCycling is a younger, women's racing team composed of Junior and U23 racers, so their formation is not only good for the sport of women's cycling, but good for the sport in general. Exposure and opportunity; these are two of the most important factors fueling growth. Public launches, like this one, provide some exposure while the team and its support network provide the opportunity.

As the evening progressed people wolfed down tacos, slaked their thirst with a beer from a tapped keg, or slowly sipped a hot coffee from the in-house Crank & Grind barista, they roamed the shop (Bike Religion) checking out bikes (duh), clothing, or incidentals. There was mingling and talking, both inside and out on the deck. Various familiar faces came in to show their support - at least two of the Williams brothers, Justin and Cory, Jim Freibert of Recycling Jerseys, reps from Felt and JL Velo - for instance.

With food and drink out of the way, the festivities moved on to the introductions. Team boss, Jet Tanner said a few words about each sponsor, and the team staff, recognizing the roll and contributions of each. A few words were said about the team - "a dream begun four years ago, to help grow the sport of women's cycling, organically, from the ground up", "to created a true women's development team" giving the racers the opportunity and support they require to "become better athletes." 

Of course, the JETCycling athletes were there (all but two, who had other obligations). They included: Sara Youmans, Jesica Bonilla, Ivie Crawford, Kenzie Lemieux, Brenda Villarreal Garza, Andrea Villareal, Karla Lopez, Erika Varela, Milliegoat Tanner, Tori Kanizer, Josy Lessard, Karen Brocket, Danielle Maria Mullis. Sorry, I didn't get all their names. (Please help out with the names I missed). Each young woman from the U23 and Junior development squads were introduced in turn - the lists of accomplishments some of the racers have already earned are quite impressive, and include state and national titles, even Pan-Am medals. 

There was a ton of excitement, and enthusiasm to spare, good vibes were freely flowing. There seemed to be a good sense of team, and a heightened degree of camaraderie was clearly evident. These things will serve the team well as they begin their campaign, racing in all the biggest early-season regional races - Valley of the Sun Stage Race, Tour of Murrieta, San Dimas Stage Race, Redlands Bicycle Classic. If these don't prove challenging enough for the young women, the team has earned an invite to race in the Netherlands in the Spring, before returning for more of the biggest races in the states. 

You can follow the JETCycling Team through their Facebook page. A GoFundMe campaign has been established to help them meet the costs of a full season of racing. My thanks to Bike Religion for hosting the evenings event, and JETCycling for the opportunity to meet the team. Good racing ladies.