Becoming Mrs Van Garderen

Jessica plans for success in 2012

A fantastic year in review! I realize that February is already well into 2012, and most people are finished refecting on the past year, but I say "better late than never." 2011 was an exciting, overwhelming, and all-around fantastic year! I have to admit that I welcomed 2012 with a little sadness as I did not want 2011 to end.

I am honored to share some of the highlights with you and tell my story of the best year ever!


Ok, this really begins at the end of June, but let's just file it under July. Tejay (van Garderen) had been selected to race the Tour de France for his HTC-Highroad team, which was an accomplishment in itself. But the most exciting part was that he was arriving to France an engaged man! Yes, just days before Tejay left for the Tour, he proposed, and needless to say I didn't have to think twice before I accepted!

Tejay is an amazing person and I am looking forward to spending my life with him. And a true highlight of the year was Tejay's performance in the Tour de France. Not only did he finish, and manage to stay upright, he wore the polka dot mountain jersey. It may have only been on his back for one day, but people say that he is the first American to wear the jersey (other Americans who had the jersey never actually wore it because they also had another jersey that took precedence).

I do believe that Tejay has what it takes to be a Tour contender and I am so proud of his first attempt.


The Aspen/Snowmass Women's Pro Stage Race was actually happening! The idea for this race was born the previous fall when I read about the men's US Pro Cycling Challenge and quickly realized that there was nothing for professional women. The rest is history and 2011 marked the inaugural women's race. I want to thank everyone who helped make the race happen, including volunteers, sponsors, and the teams and riders who suffered at 8,000 ft. The highlight of the 3-day race for me was the final stage-the downtown crit!

This really was the grand finally to a remarkable event and introduced Aspen to the high-speed and exciting racing of the professional women! One of the key features of the women's crit was that it shared a finish line with the men, who would be ascending and descending Independence Pass while the women sped around downtown. As soon as our race was over, I ran to the jumbo TV to check on Tejay. Although there was a helicopter following their race overhead, the picture didn't come through because of stormy conditions.

So all I could do was wait and hope Tejay came into Aspen in a good position. And boy did he deliver (I did tell him he had to do well in Aspen for me to marry him)! Tejay raced into town finishing 2nd on the stage and moving into the yellow jersey! Standing back in the audience watching Tejay throw his podium flowers to my mom, all I could think was this was one of the top 5 days of my life!


Wedding bells, or more like champagne popping, was the theme to this month. Yes it was a short engagement, but the calendar of a professional cyclist is unique and the fall really is the best time for a party!

And our wedding was one big party, filled with volleyball, fantastic food and wine, singing and dancing!!! Some of you may have seen the YouTube video of the singing, and if you haven't, I suggest you check it out. Taylor Phinney and Tejay got on stage and sang a lovely rendition of Marvin Gay's "Let's Get It On." And if any of you are wondering if Tejay van Garderen can dance...give him enough to drink and a nightclub and you won't believe his moves! But honestly, our wedding exceeded all my expectations and also goes down as one of my top 5 best days ever!


Although technically in the new year, I am going to consider January in my year-in- review. I am currently writing this diary from the plane, on my way to a yoga retreat in Bali!

I know I am spoiled, but the last week has been insane, and I do believe I have earned this trip (my wedding present from Tejay). In the past I’ve days I have packed up our place in California, loaded a U-Haul truck, drove the truck with car in tow to Colorado, unloaded the truck and car into storage, picked out paint and carpet for our new house, and finished 2011 taxes!!!

I have to admit I could have never done it without the help and company of my mom, but together we accomplished a lot. I intend to use Bali as a transition week, where I restore my body and gain energy and insight into the year to come. I am so excited about what lies ahead and I plan on being fully present and committed. First and foremost, I take my role as a wife very seriously. Tejay is riding for BMC and I want to do my part in guaranteeing a successful season.

Secondly, I am thrilled to be working with Exergy TWENTY12 as a rider, mentor, leader and hopefully role model. In addition, along with my partners, I am working hard on the 2012 Aspen/Snowmass Women's Pro Challenge. This year will see an additional stage for women along with an increased prize purse and race coverage. I recently witnessed a friend ask a very wealthy women what she does for work, and her response was "I dabble." I think that is my new job description as I dabble in being a house wife, personal assistant, professional cyclist, team staff, and race promoter!

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