RAQ: MEGAN JASTRAB
The youngest rider on Rally UHC is here to learn and to win.
In this series feature we are showcasing rarely asked questions with people in the cycling community. A quick glimpse into the persona’s of the people and their mission to add their own worth to the sport. Each piece will cover and uncover someone about to embark on a new role or in the process of starting over. While the slate is clean and a new vision ahead, rarely asked questions covers the initial impressions cyclists have in the moment on the path that lies ahead.
We first talked to Megan Jastrab as a Junior riding for the local SoCal Swamis team. At the age of 15 she earned a 2nd place in the women’s pro field at the then Carlsbad Grand Prix. It seems as if her trajectory has been nothing short of spectacular since we first spoke with her. Cyclists as juniors often have to navigate so much in so little time. While they are still in school, traveling and relying on the support of family, friends and coaches a lot of pressure is put on them to perform at a young age. While most people think it is the time of new beginnings it can also be a source for quick burnout. While peers are experiencing late nights and school dances, junior cyclists are juggling school work on the road and training schedules.
Megan Jastrab is in her first year as a professional. She is in her current first year contract with Rally cycling and is dominant in most races she enters. As a junior she is still riding on Junior gearing and can win just about any race against the adult professionals. She already has two race wins to add to her resume’ and the season is just getting started. Her first race of the season was Valley of the Sun in Arizona where she won Stage 2 road race in the pro women. She also recently won the tough stage 2 of the Redland Bicycle Classic further solidifying her place in the pro peloton. The recent tragedy the Rally team faced with the news of the death of Kelly Catlin, has no doubt really affected the team. Megan is a bright beacon of hope of possible new beginnings for the squad. While the Rally team has many experienced cyclists, the only Junior on the squad brings much to the table. The 17 year old multi national champion has experience in Europe, on the road and velodrome and just may be the next great World Tour rider. For now she’s taking it all in stride.
We caught up with her at the Rally team launch in Calabasas in January.
SCC: How did the 2018 season go?
MJ: It went pretty well. It started out with a big crash for me. I had a concussion for a little while and then I went to Europe for a month and a half which was an amazing experience. It was my first time racing internationally and it went really well over there. I won several races and gained some valuable experience. I came back to the United States and raced a few more stage races and had a few standout performances. I then went to nationals and won a “few” national titles and set two national records. It ended at the Colorado Classic guest riding for Rally Cycling and now I’m on Rally UHC cycling.
SCC: Was riding with Rally for one race enough for you to get their attention?
MJ: Yeah it was nice. They asked me to come to team camp last year and then they asked me to come to guest ride for one of the races.
SCC: You’ve been at team camp for a while. What is the experience like?
MJ: It’s more of a media camp. We are adjusting the bikes, dialing everything in and meeting everyone.
SCC: What is the team atmosphere like compared to other team experiences?
MJ: I have only been on junior teams so just having all of the equipment here, the mechanics and the staff and everyone just making it a full team. I’ve only been on a five person team so we never had a full camp so it’s really nice here.
SCC: Are you the only one on junior gears?
MJ: Yes. Hahaha. Under 18 year old junior gears. Every race I need to do the junior rollout.
SCC: What’s your goal for 2019?
MJ: I don’t know if there is a certain race that I am targeting this year but I know as a junior I would like to make it to Junior Worlds which is later in the year. But racing with the team I would love to learn how to race for the team, be a good teammate and sacrifice myself for the team results and just grow as a rider since I have a few more years until I’m eligible to race all of the races.
SCC: What inspires you or challenges you to do great things either on or off the bike? What is the motor besides the legs?
MJ: It’s just trying to be the best person that I can be. It’s really nice to be around this team because it’s Rally UHC Cycling and it’s a health company. They want you to be healthy on and off the bike. Also just being around my teammates they are all so super motivated so it really helps.
Brian Co is the founder of SoCal Cyclist and runs the SoCal Cyclist Podcast. He is a professional life plate spinner and tries to help the cycling community one cyclist at a time.