story & photos
by Maren Schober
Jeremy Powers, 24, of Hadley, MA, a professional cyclist since 2004, was selected for the Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team. Since turning professional, he competed in bike races all over the world and represented the US in many cycling events.
It all started right here, in Niantic, paling around with his school buddies after school! “I grew up in Niantic, and during junior and senior high school my friends and I would go mountain biking,” Jeremy explains to me. “I grew to love this sport and now it is my passion.”
Today, June 22, Jeremy is competing in the inaugural Whaling City Cyclone Bicycle Race at Fort Trumbull, New London. This is his first time racing in his home area. Today he departs momentarily from his Pro Team to give back to the community.
“My mom and dad both work in New London,” Jeremy tells me, “and I wanted to do something to benefit my own community. This race is being held to benefit the Heavy Hitters Gym in New London and the Bikes for Kids of Southeastern CT. Both these organizations help underprivileged kids.” Jeremy’s mom and dad are on hand at this race in support of Jeremy. His dad is operating the ice cream truck, and his mom is handing out samples of Jelly Belly beans.
“Try the pomegranate flavor”, she urges me. “It is delicious.” She is right. The Jelly Belly jelly beans can be found in our local convenient stores. Jelly bean fans will want to check them out.
“The Jelly Belly Candy Company in Fairfield, CA is the main sponsor of my cycling team,” Jeremy declares. “Our outfits, shorts and jerseys, are designed by Jelly Belly to really stand out, to be fun and different. The company helps us in many ways, including financially.”
Indeed, Jeremy is a colorful sight as he stands before me in his white long sleeved shirt designed with multicolored jelly beans sprinkled all over it.
The race course is a one kilometer course on Fort Trumbull. The circuit includes six turns per lap, and great views of the New London waterfront and Bank Street as a back drop. The race distance is 50 miles.
Jeremy is racing with 67 other bicycle riders in the Pro 1,2, 3 class race that starts at 3:00 pm. It is a truly awesome sight to see so many bike riders whizzing by at about 32 miles an hour.
We all need to think of alternatives to driving our cars these days, and these men are showing us the way!
Jeremy placed seventh in this race, and we are all proud of him. May he continue to follow his passion with pride and success.