|‘It finally felt right’|
A frank conversation with his body led Jeremy Powers to put his mind straight.The 35-year-old American cycling legend and Fuji-sponsored rider spent the winter pondering retirement while at the same pondering one more season in a cyclocross career that included more than 90 pro wins and four national championships in five years, from 2012 to 2016.Age, though, catches up. Broken ribs, a severe throat infection, recurring back pain and other ailments over the last two years limited him to just one UCI victory since September 2016. He placed fifth on his Fuji Altamira CX in at the U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in December, his last race, and on Tuesday he announced his decision to step away – effective in June after several gravel events aboard his Fuji Jari.“My sigh of relief is from my body,” Powers said last week from the road, on the way to a gravel event. “It’s been talking to me. I had been preparing for [retirement] mentally; I just hadn’t gotten to that point yet. Truthfully, it’s a decision that doesn’t come overnight but when I made the decision to stop it finally felt right in my mind.”
|“The past year partnering with Jeremy has been inspirational – working with a professional of his level, who is so fully dedicated to cycling and the next generation in the sport,”” said Milay Galvez, Fuji’s sponsorship manager. “His feedback on many levels has been pivotal to our work and the development of the future Fuji models.”Powers will move behind the microphone in his next role, beginning in June as a presenter for the Global Cycling Network, with whom he made this cyclocross video in February. (He presents his custom Altamira CX at the 12:05 mark.) He’s not been a stranger to video, having done his own vlog, “Behind the Barriers,” since 2010.He also will continue to promote gravel riding, competitive and recreational cycling’s next frontier. This year will mark the 10th for his annual off-road ride in Massachusetts, the Gran Fundo, which benefits his nonprofit JAM Fund to develop younger cyclists. “When we started, we were running 25c tires – the biggest you could get,” he said. “Now I look in the back of my van and I see the Jari, which has 40c tires, like what I used to ride on mountain bikes.”For gravel, he says, the Jari is the perfect companion.“I’m on the Jari Carbon now, and the ability to take bigger tires” – up to 650b x 2.2” – “just blows my mind,” he said. “It’s a bike you can ride longer distances with and it won’t be irritating to any part of your body, and it’s a bike you can do anything with. You can ride with packs, panniers, fenders … you could have Christmas light decorations on it and you still wouldn’t feel like you didn’t have room to put MORE stuff.“It’s the best bike that you can possibly get your hands on right now.”|
He’ll miss pinning on a number and cranking up his Altamira CX, which he rode exclusively in his final cyclocross season.”It’s been a fantastic race machine, literally zero problems, a fantastic bike to ride,” he said. “People will probably think I’m just saying it, but I truly enjoyed the one I have had. We rode it to podiums, we trained our faces off on it, and really enjoyed being able to ride a bike that was designed and ready to go, that just needed a pilot.”And not just any pilot.