Our first spotlight for the 2016 Season is one we can all take pride in with an up and coming young Iowan talent: Ethan Jedlicka.
It is appropriate to spotlight Ethan not only for his talent on the bike, but also as one of our youth rider initiatives this year for IMBCS. IMBCS is providing free entry to all racers age 18 and under in the 2016 season. It is important for our sport that we all encourage our youth to participate in cycling here in Iowa. Ethan is one of our shining examples of encouragement that IMBCS, IBRA, and USA Cycling are championing. If you have not yet contributed to our IMBCS Youth Entry Fee Help Fund to help finance this season’s youth entry fees, please do so. We have not yet reached our goal, but with everyone’s individual support—no matter how large or small the donation—we hope to hit our target.
Many have seen Ethan out on the trail at our races during the 2014, 2015, and 2016 seasons. He’s fast! At age 15, Ethan took 7th Place two weeks ago on May 22nd at the Sugar Cubed Marathon out of a field of 74.
“How fast is he” when he gets out of Iowa?
Well, for his first ever WORS race (Wisconsin Off Road Series) at the Iola Bump & Jump on May 15th, Ethan bested a field of 176 males to win the Cat 2 Sport race overall with a margin of nearly 3 minutes. Based on those two results already in the early part of the season, it is exciting to see him commit to upgrade. He has the legs, heart, lungs, and bike handling skills already at age 15 to be a serious contender.
Ethan will be going to the USA Cycling Nationals for MTB at Mammoth Mountain in California this summer July 12–17th. This will be a great test of his abilities on a broader stage. I don’t know if he’ll back in time for the first ever Midwest MTB Championships July 22–24th to go up against our 12 state region racers, but I hope so. That would be an excellent event for many IMBCS racers to race over in Wisconsin to test their abilities against racers from Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Michigan, and Ohio. It is great to see that Ethan has the support of his family to allow him to race by bringing him to all of the events.
Last year I was approached by Ethan, and his mother Janice, asking if he could not only race the Cat 3 race, but turn around and also race the Cat 2 race immediately following the completion of the Cat 3. This was not your typical request, but I thought about it and said that he could with the caveat that we would all have to choose which single category we were going to track his points in for the series ending awards. So he spent most of the season double racing here in Iowa where he could under the rules as it was a unique situation (prior to us moving to USAC this year). Suffice it to say, this has all led to Ethan upgrading from Cat 3 to Cat 2 and now his upcoming move to higher levels of competition.
Ethan has continually found himself on podiums.
That’s all exciting to see the progress of a talented young rider from Iowa. Think back to what you were all you doing at age 15?
Let’s meet Ethan…
Name: Ethan Jedlicka
Current Home: Marion, Iowa
Employer: High School Student
Racing Category for 2016: Cat I Open / Junior Elite
Race Bike Brand (s) and type (s): Specialized Rockhopper Comp with RockShox Reba RL Fork and Continental X-King Tires
Bike Team: All Spoked Up
BB: What’s your favorite idea of a great mountain bike ride here in Iowa?
Ethan: A well planned day of riding with a group of riders who are all enjoying the sport. For races, well planned, maintained flowing trails that are challenging, fast, and well marked.
BB: When did you start racing mountain bikes?
Ethan: When I was 14. I had an entry level mountain bike that I ripped on.
BB: What kind of race results and series results for the IMBCS did you have in prior seasons?
Ethan: In Cat 3 last year I won every race except for the first one (got 3rd) and the second one where I broke a chain at the Beverly Fat Tire Frenzy and ended up 14th. I won the series in my age group last year.
BB: What are your goals for this year with regard to your mountain bike racing?
Ethan: Win as many races as I can and have fun.
BB: What has been your favorite race venue to date in the IMBCS?
Ethan: Summerset Shootout!
BB: Ethan, in preparing for the 2016 racing season, how many hours a week did you train?
Ethan: Maximum weeks were 15 hours a week, average weeks were 8 hours, minimum weeks were 0 hours.
BB: Have you ever had something happen during a race that prevented you from finishing?
Ethan: No, but I have had mishaps that set me back.
BB: Do you use a coach?
Ethan: Yes, I very recently started using one.
BB: Do you strength train as part of your training?
Ethan: I strength train with my high school football team.
BB: What do you like about the Iowa cycling community in terms of mountain bike racing?
Ethan: All the people are really nice and outgoing as well as social.
BB: What would you say as words of encouragement to folks out there who are trying to make the decision to race a mountain bike in Iowa or not?
Ethan: Go out and have fun. Get out there and go ride your bike. Train as hard as you can, but be smart about it. Don’t blow yourself up in the first week. Bottom line is to have fun no matter what. If you aren’t having fun – take a day or even a week off, and come back after that to see how it is.
BB: What high school sports do you participate in at your school?
Ethan: Football and wrestling.
BB: What positions do you play?
Ethan: I wrestle at the 152 weight, and in football I play both linebacker and fullback.
BB: Ethan, we have all noticed your excellent genetic talent. What are your wildest imaginations where that talent on the bike could lead you?
Ethan: Go professional and race around the world.
BB: How did it feel to go up to your first WORS race this season (Iola Bump and Jump) and blow away the entire Cat 2 Sport field of 176 males by 3 minutes?
Ethan: It felt really good. I had no idea I was that fast.
BB: Is there anything you would like to see changed or added to IMBCS?
Ethan: GPS chips or trackers to provide more accurate results. Not needed.
The next time you see Ethan at one of our races, introduce yourself and meet this outstanding young man. Or if he passes you in a race, holler out “Nice job, Ethan!” We wish Ethan all the best this season and for his promising future in cycling.
Photographs in this Spotlight were courtesy of Janice Jedlicka and Eric Roccasecca