Jeremy Powers - otherwise known as "J-Pow!" - is better known for his exploits on the 'cross racing circuit (not to mention his popular Behind the Barriers video series) but he also cuts his teeth during the road season racing for the Jelly Belly p/b Kenda team.
Despite racing for two entirely different teams, Powers will get to enjoy a bit more stability this season as he'll now at least be on the same make of bicycle through the 2011-2012 season. A switch from the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com powerhouse to the Rapha-Focus team will put him on a Focus Mares this autumn and Jelly Belly is again on the German company's carbon machines this season, upgrading from the Cayo model to the more advanced Izalco Pro.
Technically speaking, the Izalco Pro is Focus's second-tier road racer but in essence, it's simply last year's flagship bumped down a notch and renamed to make room for the recently updated Izalco Team. In fact, the overall shape is very similar, including the very broad and slightly squared-off down tube, tapered front end, enormous BB30-compatible bottom bracket area, slim twin seat stays, carbon fiber dropouts, and asymmetrical seat tube.
The enormous BB30-compatible bottom bracket shell dwarfs the SRAM Force BB30 crankarms. Photo: James Huang
In fact, aside from a more advanced fiber lay-up, about the only visual cue is the slightly altered internal derailleur cable routing. While the Izalco Pro's rear derailleur housing pops out at the bottom bracket and then runs atop the chain stay, the Team's housing only reemerges just ahead of the dropout for a cleaner look.
SRAM provides the team with most of the major hardware though aside from the rear derailleur, it's worth noting that Jelly Belly makes do with Force components instead of the top-end Red. In reality, however, it's not much of a disadvantage at all since the two packages are virtually identical in terms of functionality and feel and also very close in weight.
There are no punches pulled for the wheels, though, as DT Swiss fits the team with its top-end carbon fiber aero tubular wheels for racing and alloy clinchers for training. Naturally, team co-title sponsor Kenda supplies tires throughout.
DT Swiss provides the Jelly Belly p/b Kenda team with carbon fiber tubular wheels for racing. Photo: James Huang
Like many pros, Powers' 3T cockpit components are all aluminum, including the ARX Pro stem, Rotundo Pro classic-bend bar, and Dorico Pro setback seatpost. Remaining bits include an FSA headset, Speedplay Zero Titanium pedals, a fi'zi:k Arione CX saddle, and a Cateye Strada Wireless computer with custom Jelly Belly team graphics.
Unfortunately, Powers and company weren't able to make much of an impact with their Izalco Pros at the Amgen Tour of California, netting just one top-ten stage finish and a 50th-place finish on GC - Powers was 92nd.
But that all being said, sponsoring a team isn't necessarily about winning but rather exposure. And while you never saw any of the Jelly Belly crew up on the podium, the unmistakably colorful Jelly Belly bus and its amiable roster of riders were always ready to engage with ever-present groups of eager fans (who undoubtedly wanted some free jelly beans).
By that measure, it looks like Jelly Belly is doing just fine.
This article originally appeared on BikeRadar.