A former competitive runner, Janel bought her first road bike in 2006. At first, she participated in Team In Training, but soon Janel’s competitive side surfaced, and she turned her ambitions to road racing. She began working with coach Arnie Baker and entered her first race in January of 2007. Janel, Arnie & road racing proved to be the perfect fit.
By the end of her first season on the road, Janel was invited to guest ride at a stage race for the California-based professional team Webcor Builders. An entry-level bike didn’t slow her down too much as she was able to help secure the overall win for her teammate and find her way to the podium in the time trial. Janel signed to race full-time with Webcor and her career as a pro bike racer began.
Over the next two seasons, Janel steadily accumulated results and developed her talents as an all-arounder. In 2008, she began racing in Europe with Webcor, and she has continued to head to Europe each year with the U.S. national team. Janel is at her best when the road turns up, but she is certainly no slouch in the time trials. That combination has made her one of the favorites in difficult U.S. stage races such as the Tour of the Gila and the Cascade Cycling Classic.
Janel rode a break-out season in 2011 racing for Colavita – Forno d’Asolo. She won the Joe Martin Stage Race, her first National Racing Calendar (NRC) stage race victory. Janel also won the overall at the Tour de Toona and Oregon’s challenging Cascade Cycling Classic. Thanks to her consistency, Janel finished the season by winning the NRC individual title.
The following year, Janel’s team merged with Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies. She has continued to race for Optum ever since. She is one of Optum’s team leaders and plays a key role in the team’s decision-making.
Janel’s 2013 season was highlighted by a solo stage win at the Tour of Gila, finishing 2nd the following day in the time trial, and third overall. She was also a key member of the US team that brought home overall victory from the Giro Donne in Italy. For Janel, though, all the podium results were over-shadowed by participating in the Team Time Trial at the World Championships in Florence with her Optum teammates.
Looking ahead, Janel plans to continue racing on multiple continents with an eye toward racing the 2015 world championship road race in Richmond, Virginia. After being named to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Long Team, Janel also has her sights on making the U.S. team for the 2016 Rio games.
In addition to her cycling successes, Janel has a degree in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master’s degree in education from the University of San Diego. Before turning bike racer, she taught high school math and science in San Diego. Janel is married to Chad Holcomb and lives in San Diego, when she isn’t in the back of a team van on the way to a bike race somewhere in the world.