Team CF president and founder Dr. James M. Wilson recently had a chance to catch up with recently promoted Team CF elite team member Jesse Kelly…
JW: First of all Jesse, congratulations on your promotion to the Team CF elite team for 2013. I personally enjoyed watching your progress last year with Team CF. You had some solid results finishing third in the 40+ division at the Hilly Billy Roubaix and winning the Masters division at the Stoopid 50 Mountain bike race. What are your goals for 2013? Are you going to do anything different?
JK: Thanks very much Jim, I’m delighted with the promotion. With eight years of racing 2011 brought me some good results while 2012 became a breakout year. There are so many exciting race options for 2013 that I’m not sure where to begin. Marathon races have become my forte, so I’d like to continue racing those events. But the NUE series is calling too, as well as regular XC. I ride better in less technical races with long climbs, so I’d also like to get out to the West Coast to check out their scene. But I’m going to do my best to increase my skills so I can compete in any race that comes my way.
JW: How did you get into cycling?
JK: I had a chopper bike as a kid, and I used to commute in London. In college I picked up a mountain bike, though it was just used for getting around campus and sadly never saw a trail. In the late 90′s I’d often hike in the Wissahikon Park in Philadelphia, and I was intrigued by the mountain bikers. So in 2002 I picked up a bike and was hooked instantly.
JW: The other Masters riders I talk to say that you have “incredible power” and lung capacity. What’s your athletic history that gives you this awesome advantage?
JK: I was a competitive swimmer from age six through college. Back then we’d think nothing of working out 4+ hours a day, and no one ever had as much as water bottle on the side of the pool. Training was as much about pain as it was technique and speed! I also ran XC and Track in high school and briefly in college, and I think the years of sport were a good foundation for the future – not to mention the last 10 years of dragging my large self up and down the hills of the Wissahickon. I must say, they are more fun to ride than walk.
JW: You’re a solid fast elite level rider competing with the best masters racers in the country. Can you give us a flavor for what your training regime is like?
JK: I really just ride. Last year I took that philosophy to a new level and rode virtually everyday. I didn’t have a road bike and only one MTB, so I’d ride it anywhere and everywhere. I ended up riding over 5000 miles, and over 4000 were on the trails. Living close to the park helped. Later in the season we started a grassroots Team CF training ride, and for the first time I started hill repeats and specific drills.
This year, however, I’ll be backing off the miles and looking to improve skills. I’m going put more quality into the training rides, though I’ll continue to ride socially with groups as riding with friends always great. I also swim regularly so cross-training will be large part of the program. I’m very excited to be upgrading to a full suspension S-Works Epic with the aid of our sponsor, Specialized, and I hope to get a road bike as well. Both will help reduce wear and tear on the body.
JW: What’s your favorite race and why?
JK: Often it’s a challenge just to finish a race, so if you can do that in once piece, then every race can be a success. The Transylvania Epic stage race, though, was the most memorable so far. Being a member of the CF Epic Team and racing every day for 7- days was fantastic. I didn’t want it to end, so when Day-8 came I wondered what to do with my life! The 3rd stage stands out especially as I rode well and crossed the line alongside my Epic Team teammate Chip Meek.
JW: As a member of TeamCF, you are a competitive cyclist committed to the development of a cure for CF. How do you contribute toward this goal?
JK: Our young teammate Kaitlyn Rose Edith Broadhurst, who has CF, once said how humbled she was that all of us were riding just to benefit her and others with CF. I responded that it works both ways, that because of her I have a have a powerful reason to ride. It’s hard to believe, but most who suffer from CF would have passed away 10 years before the age that my elite career is beginning. The funds and awareness we raise for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Cycle for Life event help to increase the life expectancy of those suffering CF, and there is a real potential of one day curing the disease altogether. Kaitlyn’s moniker is “Rose for a Reason”, and therefore, this year my motto is “Ride for a Reason”.
JW: Any parting words?
JK: Riding for Team CF has been a honor and this year I’m very proud to be a part of Elite team. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends, fellow riders and teammates for helping to make this possible.
JW: Thank you, Jesse, and best of luck at the races in 2013!
JK: Thank you, Jim.