Kerry Werner

Video: Life as a Pro Cycling Mechanic

Kona Pro Cyclocross racer Kerry Werner is a force to be reckoned with, but his accomplishments between the tape don’t come without support. Enter Doug Sumi, Kerry’s mechanic on the road. And, at many of the US ProCX stops, Ricoh Riott. Ricoh and Doug teamed up to create this video from a veteran mechanic’s perspective on wrenching on the road.

Keep up with Ricoh Riott Photography on his website, and on Facebook and Instagram.

Throw Back to Tokyo with Kerry Werner

Words and photos by Kerry Werner.

It all started when I decided it wasn’t a good idea to do the China CX races at the beginning of the season. I started thinking, “What else can I do?” and then it hit me… I remembered Timmy J., Jeremy, and Zac McDonald all had done the CX Tokyo!

I had recently, even before thinking about CX Tokyo, grown a keen interest in Japanese culture, food, and the city lights. It blows my mind how their traditional views within society can keep 40 million people in line. You would think that crime would run rampant in the streets, it would be dirty and littered, and people would be jerks. Everything was quite the opposite.

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People were nice, even though I was a little shocked to learn that many people spoke little English. I guess I am too use to the melting pot of Europe where everyone speaks 3-6 languages. Apparently, the Japanese study English in school but then never have an opportunity to use it so they lose it (if you don’t use it you lose it).

The city was eye popping and with so many tall buildings! The only way to build as a contractor is up. The streets were clean and respect for the space of others was apparent everywhere I went.

I was most excited about the food scene. I had been watching “Mind of a Chef” on Netflix and David Cheng was really getting me excited for some ramen. I had tried to make it myself and I thought it was ok, however, my ignorance was immediately realized upon digging into my first bowl of tsukemen.

So after the post World Championship races Doug and I flew through Istanbul and then into Narita, 30miles west of Tokyo. The next morning we met up with Ryoji Aybeki, the CX Tokyo promoter. He was privy to my quest for the best bowl of ramen consequently we stopped for lunch on the way into Tokyo. In hindsight this was a blessing because when you walk into a ramen shop there is a vending machine type thing that you pick your ramen on, you pay, it prints your ticket, you hand it to the waiter and then wait for a steamy bowl of love.

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The problem was that all the text on the machine was in Japanese and completely indecipherable to Doug or I. We tried to shoot from the hip later in the trip and it wasn’t a complete failure, we still got great ramen, but Doug ordered the biggest bowl on the menu by accident and didn’t eat until the next day at dinner.

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Doug and I spent the first two days in the Tiato-Ku district, NW of Downtown, in Hotel Kurame. We walked everywhere, which may not have been great for the race but I have no regrets! We checked out historic Asakusa and the Skytree.

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And from 350 meters up…

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We had ramen all over and great coffee at “Bridge” recommended by my good friend Hans. We loitered in shop windows, picked up authentic handmade Japanese knives, bought souvenir chopsticks, frequented multi level malls, ate mochi on the road, and tried to blend in. We should have bought some medical masks to do this, maybe next time.

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We wandered through temple grounds…

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And were inspired by the intricate bike parking garages.

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Pre-ride was Saturday. The course was all sand, which didn’t make me particularly excited. There was no need to do openers, simply riding the course was hard enough.

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Doug and I spent all nights riding the train to somewhere new and checking out new districts. The night before the race was no different. We headed to Shibuya to check out the hustle and bustle. If I sat in the hotel room with my feet up, while in Tokyo, I would be looking back on the trip with regret.

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We raced Sunday afternoon, which was nothing special for me. I felt as though I had the fitness just not the finesse. The sand was raping me. Aerobically, I wanted and felt as though I could pedal harder but, technically, my constantly shifting body weight was hindering any power output. I finished 6… I wanted that podium, but instead I pulled out my notepad (literally I pulled up the “Notes” app on my phone and wrote“sand practice”) next year will be better. Notice I had to cut the sleeves off my long sleeve jersey. Sun’s out guns out in February.

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Big thanks to the Shimano boys for letting us take up room in their tent and all their help.

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Doug and I headed back to the hotel, packed bikes, and hit the town. We were going to check out the Imperial Gardens, but were stopped by a guard. I think they close at dark. We had some Gyoza, dumplings, and sake. Then to soak up the nights festivities we had Yakatori in the bowels of the subway station and it was marvelous.

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Monday we embarked on a sobering Journey to find “The Great Buddha”. This entailed a short 5k trail from Kita-Kamakura station to Hase Station. We saw Mount Fuji on the way, which was epic.

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We found it!

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We even checked out the beach then trained it back to the hotel.

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Tuesday we woke early to walk 3 miles to the Tsujiki fish market.

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We were greeted with fishermen who looked annoyed to see tourists wandering around their domain but who cares.

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We plopped down for sushi in the markets next to the auction area and enjoyed. The raw fish had a texture I had never experienced before. It melted in my mouth and the flavor was enhanced that much more as I was watching the Sushi master hand craft my sashimi no more than 3 feet away.

A ball of mochi for the walk back and that was all she wrote. Doug and I grabbed our bags and trained it to the airport.

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I can’t thank Ryoji and CX Tokyo enough for the experience. I don’t think I have a regret or a bad thought about my experience in the city, interacting with the people, or the culture. Though, the jet lag was brutal!

Follow Kerry on his blog and on Instagram.

CX Worlds are Finished But Kerry Werner is Not!

Wednesday we drove as a team from Sittard, NL to Bieles Luxembourg, 2.5 hours through the snow covered Ardennes. It was pretty and rad, pretty rad.

Thursday was course preview day. And it was epic. Lots of snow and ice on course, very much so like Hartford was for US Nationals. It made for a very tense pre ride and the idea, at least for me, was to just get a feel for the layout. By the time Sunday came around for my race the course was going to be drastically different.

Pre-race interview with Cyclocross Magazine:

Kermy Shields flew in on Tuesday from NC and got an Airbnb just 15min bus ride from the course. To escape the “hotel life” and hang out with Kerm I hopped on a bus with him after pre ride and hung out with him in Alzette, Lux. I made some curry, which is the first time I had cooked in way too long, had a beer, and was able to lounge about in a house not a hotel room, avoiding my hotel room claustrophobia and constricting nature of things, like Tobin farting and Stephen stealing my bed to come watch TV or youtube videos.

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Friday morning Kerm and I checked out the Square, had a cappuccino, then headed to the course so I could get on the rollers for a spin. Spacing things out throughout the day is crucial when spending an extended amount of time in a hotel. Therefore, morning lounging usually takes up 3hrs minimum and riding later in the day helps stave off afternoon boredom. This allocates time spent Netflix browsing and reading to just before bed instead of all afternoon and all evening.

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Saturday was race day for Juniors, u23 women, and elite women. We watched all the action from our rooms before heading to the course for a final pre ride and openers. At this point snow was melting but there was still ice and hard frozen ground on the majority of the course. This led to an incredible women’s finish, the most exciting of the weekend by far!

The day came and I was really excited to get after it. I felt terrible for Curtis White. He was feeling a flu at the beginning of the week and opt’ed to not start on Sunday. I would have done the same. To go out on the world stage not feeling 100% would have been a big shock and a huge kick in the nuts to anyone’s mental game. There is no need to end a great season on an extremely low note.

Saturday and Sunday produced some rain, which had the course super muddy. Mostly soupy mud but some sections were thickening up. I goofed and left my music at the hotel so I had to warm up on the trainer to Doug’s jams, which was hard AF 90’s hip hop. I am not sure if you are familiar with “Killer Mike” but I now am.

Called up 26, and I was ready for the light to turn green. I had a good start, coming through the line in the mid 20’s. The first lap was good but then guys started coming by me and I could do nothing about it. Those damn Euros start so hard and never slow down. I wasn’t feeling super snappy, which was unfortunate because there was no hiding out there, especially when the leaders were turning faster and faster laps. Not sure if I could have taken my KTM around the course as fast as they were pedaling it.

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Powers came by me with 3 to go and I jumped on his wheel. He carried us out of the group I was with and we ended up getting pulled 2 laps down… This was a big disappointment. Getting pulled is never a good feeling especially at a race like worlds but, like I said before, Van der Poel and Wout were just going nuts! Only 29 people finished on the lead lap.

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Looking back on the race I had a few small victories. One being the fact that I only flatted once and it was a slow leak so I was able to lose little to no time, two being I never crashed and felt good on the technical sections, three being I learned a ton! These last couple weekends have been eye opening. They have really showed me some things I need to work on for next year, and I am excited about it.

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A gigantic thanks to USA Cycling for the support. The mechanics did a great job among the chaos of dealing with 2 bikes for 31 riders, handling all the flats, and ever changing weather conditions. The hotel was great and logistics were never a concern.

Playlist of post-race interviews:

Now that worlds is done there is a little weight taken off my shoulders, weight that I have been putting on myself. I wanted to have a great worlds and I may not have done that but I am satisfied and content. This is probably the first time I am nearing the end of the season and I am not looking forward to taking a break.

Stephen, Kaitie A., and I have stayed in Sittard while the rest of the crew went home. Joe Devra and Doug are here and we are heading to Maldegem tomorrow, Lille on Saturday, and Hoogstraten on Sunday. Then Doug and I fly to Tokyo on Monday to race on Sunday. There are still 4 races left in my season and I can’t wait to race them.

Keep up with Kerry’s remaining time in Europe and his trip to Japan on Instagram.

World Cup Racing from the Mechanic’s Perspective – Kerry Werner

Kona Endurance Team rider Kerry Werner’s been in Europe for the past couple of weeks preparing for this weekend’s CX World Championships in Luxembourg. His last update before the big race includes an interview with his mechanic, Doug Sumi.

Instead of boring you with a race report I’m writing to show you how a World Cup CX looks from a mechanic’s perspective. However, because I am too egotistical not to touch upon my race, I got 32nd. Plus, I want to share some sick pics Meg snapped.

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My ribs were not – and are still not – 100% from crashing in Italy. Therefore, I was going into this race timid. Not timid to the point where I wouldn’t go hard but rather unsure how it would go. Training this past week was helping my skepticism to hang around. Wrenching hard on the bars when givin’er up hill or off the start line was causing me to wince. I was sure that the adrenaline would numb the pain but, I am sure, the two ibuprofen and the Redbull I shot gunned before the race helped too.

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This proved to be true for the first 3/4 of the race, however, the last 3 laps started to hurt and after crossing the finish line I couldn’t stand up straight.

But who cares! The work was done and I was pumped to put in a good result.

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More pressing matters: I sat down with Doug Sumi, my main man, to ask him how a World Cup weekend goes before, during, and after. Doug starting on the road with the Jamis road team, has since moved to the Hincapie Citadel road team, and started wrench CX two years ago for Raleigh-Clement. He came to Europe last year as Caroline Manni’s mechanic for World Cups and her World Champ silver, so he knows the ropes in the Euro pits.

I asked him a whole bunch of questions to better help you all understand a bit more about working as a mechanic on the circuit. Listen to our conversation in the youtube video/slideshow below.

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I didn’t know how to embed an audio file so I had to make a picture slide show over the audio. Sorry in advance for the background noise… I am a hack and Doug was getting ready to head over to the service course while I was recording.

It’s off to Luxembourg on Wednesday! World Champs this weekend. Woot Woot!

Follow Kerry’s World Champs weekend on Instagram and look out for the update on his blog.

Kerry Werner on Eating Pizza, Dirt, and More Pizza at His First Euro CX Race

Kerry Werner’s first Euro CX race didn’t quite go according to plan. The conditions in Fiuggi, Italy were crazy slick and took out a lot of people! Expect a regular update from Kerry here on the Cog as he heads to CX Worlds and beyond.

The travel was smooth. CLT-IAD. IAD-Munich (a couple of Lunestas later). Munich-Rome! We met Rebecca and we were off to the mountains of Fiuggi.

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***Want hair like this? Tips soon to come. Just waiting for McTubbin so you can get all the knowledge and look lit like me!****

We spent the first night walking from one closed ristorante (pizzeria) to another. Finally we found a lit neon sign in a back alley, which proved fruitful, or rather pizzaful. Then Gelato… Because when in Rome, right?!

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Our Airbnb was great! Spacious, warm, no carpet, and plenty of room for lots of luggage.

We got to get out on course in Fiuggi Saturday, which was interesting. The course was set in a park at the base of a small hill, which cast a shadow over the entire course. The recent cold temps had the ground frozen as well as the many transitions from grass or gravel to pavement/sidewalk. It was sketchy. The woods sections were equally as sketchy as the grippy loose dirt on top was getting pushed off and all that was left was frozen, slick AF, ground that toe spikes were having trouble to puncture. Like peanut butter on glass!

I dropped tire pressure significantly over the preview laps and landed on 18psi front and 20psi rear, which is the lowest I have gone all year. The course was also slow because any speed meant braking and braking meant slipping. Finesse ruled fitness on this course, though having both was key!

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Sunday’s temps creeped into the upper 30s, Fahrenheit, and the women kicked it off first at 1:30pm. I caught the beginning of their race live in our house and quickly noted, “When in doubt, run it out”.

The course was only getting slicker as the women’s race went on and this trend continued throughout our race.

I had a 4th or 5th row call up and when the light turned green I found myself sitting in 21st on the first lap. I may have bitten off a bit more than I could chew and faded a bit but I was holding strong in the 30s toward the middle of the race.

I had a bad crash about 4-5 laps in. My front wheel washed out, my shifter grabbed a stake, and I was airborne. I got up with some scrapes on my knee, but more damaging, and a huge blow to my psyche. I tried to tell myself that everyone was crashing and I could recover from this by staying smooth but my body wouldn’t believe my head and I couldn’t get back into it.

Determined to finish I trudged on, gradually fading through the pack. With 2 laps to go I hit the deck hard again, or rather a tree then the deck. The same tree Toon Aerts hit with his shoulder, which looked like it exploded! I got my bell rung and the wind knocked out of me hard enough that I sat off the course with some spectators and a medic until I caught my breath, realized nothing was broken, and felt as though I could limp on.

A video posted by Kerry Werner (@kerryw24) on

The two minutes or so I sat off course was enough for Wout to catch up to me by the end of the lap and I was pulled, which I was grateful for. I got pulled right behind my fellow American Kevin Bradford-Peris, however, the medic must have radioed in my number as injured, and consequently, I was marked as a DNF in the results.

This race in my opinion was harder mentally than physically. Sure the course was slippery and treacherous at times but everyone was falling, except maybe Wout van Aert – but no one races him. The key was to not get bogged down mentally by minor slip ups and dabs. Over the race the course was getting more slippery and lines were constantly changing. Leaning your bike in corners was a no-no!

The mental part is where I struggled. I am in a good spot right now fitness wise but the hard crash in the middle of the race threw me off balance and I couldn’t regain composure after that. I lost my will to fight for every wheel and at the World Cup level that is detrimental to maintaining position, again, unless you are Wout… Apparently, he can have all the mishaps and still come from 20 back to win World Cups.

Once I realized I was not broken, the reality that my first Euro CX race will forever be marked as a DNF was a difficult pill to swallow. I drowned my sorrows in pizza and filled in the crevasses with gelato.

Struggling to pack my bags last night gave me a lot of time to think about how bad I want it at Hoogerheide this weekend. With every wince I concluded that I have three more Euro CX race weekends then Japan and I am determined to have a result I can be happy with. Plus, I didn’t end up like Toon. #silverlining

We spent Monday at the beach! Well… the ocean. And we didn’t stay long. It was 35ºF with big wind gusts… Climbing up in a small dock lighthouse tower yielded a good view over Fiumicino and a great place to watch planes touch down.

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Thanks to all those who caught the live stream. It means a lot to have support back home. Motivation to keep pushing! I’ll be aiming for more camera time next weekend so keep your eyes peeled for the orange and black!

Follow Kerry on Instagram and on his blog, and stay tuned to the Kona Instagram for updates as our riders head for the CX World Champs in Luxembourg.

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Kona’s Kerry Werner to Represent Team USA at Cyclocross World Championships

It’s quite the honor to be chosen to represent one’s country at the World Championships of your respected discipline, and we’re happy to report that Kona Endurance Team rider Kerry Werner is headed to Luxembourg to represent Team USA. It’s nice to see Kerry’s consistent performance over the 2016-17 cyclocross season, including back to back UCI C2 wins, numerous C1 podiums, and a podium at USAC Nats paying off.

See the full list of riders headed to Luxembourg to represent Team USA at CX Hairs.

Believe the Hype: USA Cyclocross Nationals – Kerry Werner

At first glance I was not looking forward to arriving for Nationals on Tuesday only to wait around in Hartford to race on Sunday at 3pm. However, Emily Shields made it worth my while.

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The whole reason I came early was to cheer on my one and only for the Collegiate Club race and I am glad I did. She dominated! Off the line she had good positioning but didn’t choose the best line up the “Wall” and therefore found herself just outside of top 5 on the first lap. She was not deterred though. She kept her head up and slowly showed the ladies how to ride in the mud (keep in mind it was in the mid forties on Wednesday, the kind of weather mud can exist in).

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By the end of the race she had tacked more than a one minute lead. I was so happy with the way she rode and thus I got even more excited for my upcoming race.

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We were posted up in an Airbnb about 4 miles from the course just outside of d-town Hartford. I was able to avoid the venue for the most part and checked out West Hartford, which had some decent road riding. I got out for a good but cold day on Thursday for some openers to stretch my legs before Sunday’s fun.

After being at the venue on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I vowed not to set foot in Riverside Park on Friday. To achieve this Emily, Doug, and I hit J Rene’s Coffee Roasters and I had my first siphon pot brew. It was delectable.

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Saturday I headed to the venue to see what the course might actually look like for my race on Sunday. It snowed significantly over night and the course was covered in a 1-2 inch thick blanket of pillowy white dust (until the bike-cyclers started going around and making it brown).

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The snow made for a sand-esk type of ride where you were sliding through all the corners and lines where constantly changing, even while you were riding through them.

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Starting Tuesday and throughout the week the course was changing everyday due to weather and dropping temps. This made for a lot of speculation and hype about what to expect on race day, another reason to avoid the venue until I absolutely had to go. I was trying to stay calm and not let things get into my head too much. I wanted this weekend to be just like any other weekend of racing for me. I knew that if I could avoid getting amped up about it and toe the start line with a focus and determination that was uninfluenced by excessive nerves and self induced pressure I could have a good race.

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Plus, the course was pushing riders to stay loose and go with the flow. There was no sense in getting tense and stressing out. I needed to harness some Jamaican vibes, mon.

Sunday came and I was amped. I kicked off the morning with the typical pre-race cake, followed by a drive over to the course for some inspection.

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The course was more or less the same as Saturday but temps were dropping through the day making the ruts more icy and the margin for error much smaller.

The front row start helped and I quickly found myself glued to Stephen’s wheel up the wall. Out of my peripheral I saw Yannick blaze the bottom line and then run up the further part of the hill putting time on us “conventional line” users and teaching us a lesson for lap two.

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After watching Stephen and some others go down on the first two laps I knew this race was up for grabs. I found myself towards the front and feeling good on the second half of the course, which housed the more technical and turny sections.

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Then Stephen started to come around and unleash the beast. He gapped me and I was riding second for a while until Papa Driscoll came by me. I knew I had my work cut out for me if Jamey was towards the front at the end of the race…

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He managed to gap me, mostly likely because he was running those new Clement BOS tires, and I found myself fighting off chasers the last two laps. Jamey was always with in 15 seconds so I new a slip up could put me in contention for 2nd or even 1st. The name of the game for me the last two laps was riding smooth and I managed to pull it off.

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Photo: Meg McMahon

I was so pumped to roll across the line and let my shoulders relax. The line I was riding was between cautious and pinning it to the point where I thought I was going down a couple times. Though it all worked out and culminated in my first Elite Nationals podium!

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Photo: Meg McMahon

I can’t thank the support crew enough. The Shields family as always has my back and I was ecstatic to have my parents there to witness the race, even if it did stress them out a bit. Doug was more than exceptional this weekend. I can’t wait to head overseas with my main man for another 5 weekends of CX racing. The adventures are only beginning.

Off to Fiuggi, Italy on Thursday for the World Cup on Sunday. Doug and I will be teaming up with Becca Fahringer for a dream team assault on the city that is about 1.5 hours east of Rome. The goals are to smash the race, eats lots of pizza, drink more espresso, and possibly some vino.

Keep up with Kerry’s world travels on Instagram and through the Kona Bikes Instagram and Facebook pages.

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Kona Riders on the Podium at Both USA and UK 2017 Cyclocross National Championships

Kona riders on both sides of the Atlantic had successful racing weekends aboard their Jake CX bikes at their respective 2017 Cyclocross National Championship races. On the European side we saw Amira Mellor of team NEXT Wyman racing in the British Cycling U23 Women’s race, while Kona Endurance team rider Kerry Werner lined up with the Elite Men for the final race of the USA Cycling calendar.

Amira Mellor 2nd in UK U23 Women’s Cyclocross National Championship

Beginning with Sunday’s races in Bradford, England, Amira Mellor clinched a solid second place in the U23 Women’s category. Following up on her first UCI win the weekend previous, Amira is riding strong in the final weeks of her season, and battled to regain position after getting caught behind traffic in the first lap. With a silver medal on home soil, Amira now looks forward to one final UCI round before the World Championships in two weeks’ time.

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Kerry Werner 3rd in USAC Elite Men’s Cyclocross National Championships

Lining up on the front row with the Elite Men in Hartford, Connecticut, Kerry Werner stormed into 2nd place off the start and held on to that position for the majority of the hour-long race. Conditions in Hartford were legendary, with snow covering much of the course and temperatures well below freezing. Kerry kept it upright for a 3rd place finish, enjoying that giant bottle of champagne with Stephen Hyde and Jamey Driscoll.

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Keep up with Amira Mellor, team NEXT Wyman, and Kerry Werner as they head into the 2017 Cyclocross World Championships in Bieles, Luxembourg on the weekend of January 28-29.

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Kerry Werner Maintains 3rd Overall in the USA Cycling Pro CX Standings Heading Into Nationals

Currently in 3rd overall in the USA Cycling Pro CX standings, and 43rd overall in the UCI world ranking, Kerry Werner‘s first cyclocross race season with the Kona Endurance Team has been a great ride. Kerry’s looking forward to this weekend’s USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships before heading to Europe for a couple more UCI C1 races prior to the World Championships in Luxembourg at the end of the month, finishing off the season with a trip to Tokyo. This update from Kerry looks back at some some recent highlights…

I’ll keep this short and filled with lots of photos because there is way too much that has happened since my last post. In terms of racing it was Hendersonville (NCGP).

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Followed by a local NCCX race in Statesville (which was wicked muddy and therefore wicked fun).

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Other than that I have been hitting the books hard and doing my homework. The prep I have undergone over the last couple weeks is going to have to carry me through the end of the season, which is about to hit hard.

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I was chatting with Doug and we talked about how we hit racing hard AF in September, it felt like we didn’t do anything over the last two months, and now we are about to go pedal to the metal for the next 6 weekends.

It hasn’t been all work and no play.

A video posted by Kerry Werner (@kerryw24) on

Christmas was great and I had a great time!

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Starting with Nationals next Sunday followed by the Italy, Fuiggi World Cup, Hoogerhiede World Cup, World Champs, two C1 races in Belgium, and ending the season with CX Tokyo in Japan. Unlike other years I am coming into the end of the season with a renewed level of energy and excitement. Not only will this be my first CX experience in Europe but I have a lot of momentum, with which, to build off of.

This year with Kona has been my best thus far. I am certain there is no way I could have achieved the things I did this year without their support and I can’t wait to finish out the season and move into the next.

I set a handful of goals at the beginning of this season and I have accomplished them all so far but one… I got third in the ProCX series, I am ranked 43rd in the world (inside the top 50 was my goal), and I am going to the world championships in Luxembourg at the end of January! The as-yet-unreached goal was to get on the podium at CX – only time will tell but I am feeling good about my fitness and eager as a beaver to race!

So, cheers to an incredible year, and another cheers to finishing the season off strong! Thanks for everyone that has been following along. I hope I can keep the excitement alive over the next two months. But first, let’s send it into the new year!

Follow Kerry’s adventures on Instagram.

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CX Magazine on Tandem Bike Touring and USA Cyclocross Nationals with Kerry Werner

Kona Endurance Team rider Kerry Werner is gearing up for this weekend’s USA Cyclocross National Championships. Having had success at nationals in the past with three collegiate national titles to his name, Kerry has a unique viewpoint on the US Pro CX scene.

Cyclocross Magazine has just published a great interview with Kerry on a whole range of topics that only a professional racer could delve into in such detail. From gear to race season strategy to team talk, there’s lots to dig into in this one.

CXM: Are you officially a dedicated ’cross racer? Or do you still consider yourself a mountain biker as well?

KW: No. I do love mountain biking, and that’s where my… In terms of riding, that’s where I can associate with the most, just like my attitude towards cycling. I am more associated with mountain biking, and maybe that’s only because ’cross hasn’t really gotten the stigma yet. Like there’s roadies, and there’s mountain bikers, but nobody is ever like, “Oh, dude, you’re a ’cross racer.” You know what I mean?

Head over to CX Magazine to read the full interview.

Kerry Werner (Kona) is on pace for his best-ever cyclocross season of his young professional career. photo: Jingle Cross Day 3, Werner's top 10 finish. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine
Kerry Werner (Kona) is on pace for his best-ever cyclocross season of his young professional career. Photo: Jingle Cross Day 3, Werner’s top 10 finish. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Time Flies When You’re Racing Cross: Kerry Werner on the Podium Again

Words by Kerry Werner. Photos by Meg McMahon.

Holy cow! It’s already November!

The last two weekends were great. In my opinion the only thing that would have made them better is a little bit of rain. It has just been too dry lately. CX is mud, ruts, and bike changes! Not dust, roots, rocks, and teeth covered in a thin film of sludge from filtering out the dust-nado that ensues from 60+ racers running sub 8 min lap times. However, I can’t complain. I had solid finishes for both weekends, solidifying my 2nd place in the ProCX overall and pushing me further up into the World UCI ranking. And besides, the warm, dry weather certainly makes for some easy prep and clean up, which is nice.

The Ohio Valley puts on the Cincy Cyclocross weekend, comprised of Pan American Championships on Saturday and a C1 race on Sunday. Those are two YOUGE! opportunities to obtain UCI points. The Cincy weekend is followed by the iconic Derby City Cup race weekend at a venue where 2013 worlds were held. These two races are a big deal in the overall scheme of CX racing in America and have historically been big races for spectator turnout.

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Photo courtesy Dave McElwaine.

The Pan Ams course is always one of my favorites. It plays to the hand of a MTB riders skills as it contains lots of technical corners and even a large rooty shoot dubbed the “Pan Am Plunge”. Coming of the double win at DCCX I was feeling confident and ready to rally and that certainly shined through as I found myself in the top 5 early and stayed there.

I am not a huge fan of group racing. Coming from an MTB racing background the only tactics I am used to are “go hard then go harder”. The Pan Am course provides plenty of elevation change and therefore groups tend to be small and break up quickly. Halfway through the race there were 4 riders, including myself at the front battling for the podium.

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While I say that, the race still came down to a sprint between Danny Summerhill and I for the final podium spot, which he nabbed from me. I hung my head in disappointment at missing out on the podium but internally I was reveling in the fact that last year in this same race with the same competition I ended up 10th, nowhere near the podium.

Sunday turned out to be interesting. The course was very flat, lots of corners, and super dry/grassy. Everyone lined up with file treads because of the aforementioned conditions, though rain was in the forecast. In fact, on the line with less than 3min to go we felt rain drops. Tobin Ortinblad swapped to an intermediate tire immediately and I followed suit. We were the only ones to do this and received some heckles from fellow racers but it proved wise. 2 laps in the rain came down for real and everyone hit the pit. We, however, just kept on rallying.

Again, the race came down to a sprint for 2-4 and I ended up not playing my cards right. We all came into the final corner together but there was no room to sprint around anyone and I brought up the tail end for 4th. Again, I was disappointed but still happy because I got 10th last year on the same course with the same competition. This year I was on the front taking pulls and mixing it up for the top spots. This has been huge for my confidence this year and I have a lot of people to thank but my coach Jim Lehman at CTS is certainly high on the list.

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After a solid weekend and a boost in UCI points Doug and I drove 1.5 hrs southwest to Louisville to hang out for the week before the Derby City Cup. During this time I found Louisville to be a pretty cool city with lots of activities to do in order to skirt the constant tug of boredom. For instance, distillery tours, restaurant discovery, coffee shop frequenting, movies, and cool bike path cruising.

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The race weekend came faster than expected and I was amped up for Saturday’s C1. I was hungry for the podium after, narrowly, missing out twice in Cincy.

The Louisville course is pretty flat, though surprisingly technical. There is a large sand pit that we were routed through three times, lots of loose corners and two off the bike stair runs, unless you are Cody Kaiser (#codyrodeit).

A video posted by konabikes (@konabikes) on

The start is a flat as pancake road section then a drop into a flat as pancake grass section before the first important corner. I managed to set myself up welll for this and found myself in the front group when the separations started to occur. Once Stephen Hyde distanced himself from the front group the battle for the podium was on between four of us. Curtis flatted, which meant one down, two to go. I was looking towards the end of the last lap and positioning before the last corner as there was no hope of sprinting around anyone coming into the finish.

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I found myself second wheel into that corner and brought it home for 3rd. Podium acquired!

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That was the goal for the weekend and with that accomplished the motivation for Sunday waned somewhat. Mentally I just wanted to get it over with so I could take a little break and ramp it back up for the end of the season. This showed by lack of aggressive positioning off the start and I found myself back in 20th or so.

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From there I fought my way up to the front group but by that time I burnt quite a few matches and didn’t have the gusto to be in the right place when the separations started to happen. Three riders went of the front so our chase group of five was fighting for 4th-8th and I got 6th. I was disappointed because I made a mental mistake, though I focused on the silver lining, which was now I could take a break and reset so that doesn’t happen again. Plus, 6th isn’t terrible…

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All in all the last two weeks were awesome. Good quality, high level racing, with good spectator turn out, and lots of good vibes moving forward. Dave Toll asked me if I had gotten on the podium yet this year in a C1 and explained that I had at the KMC Cross Fest back at the end of September, which now feels like last season. Hence, the title of my post.

The anticipation for cross season in July and August make it seem like the racing will never start. However, when it does get going it feels like time travel. With such a heavy loaded front end I have a hard time distinguishing which race was when, they all seem to blur together. Hopefully, over the rest of the season, as the schedule settles down I’ll be able to slow down with it and enjoy the rest of the racing like a slowly simmering crock pot building of flavor overtime. Where the beginning of the season was more like a searing, quick and painless, but now that it’s past I wish it was still happening…

Kerry Werner Doubles Up on Pro CX Wins at DCCX

After having a good weekend in Charm City two weekends ago I went into a weekend off with high spirits and an excitement to reset mentally. All the while I was keeping tabs on my team mates, Helen Wyman and Amira, who were racing up in Gloucester, MA. Helen ended the weekend with a 2nd and 1st place so going into DCCX I was looking forward to keep the Major Jake on the top step.

I was certainly excited to race but also excited to try out my RV. I had never taken it to a UCI race before so my mechanic, Doug Sumi, and I were the guinea pigs, testing out the efficiency and worthwhile-ness of the RV at the venue.

With 4:15 pm race times I had loads of time to kill both days before the race. I spent my morning checking out Rock Creek Park on morning spins and lounging in the RV watching racers from the comfort of my mobile couch!

Sunday, I partnered up with Ricoh Riott who is a talented photographer in the Baltimore, DC area. We went over to Rock Creek Park and sessioned a sweet stair set on a gravel walking path. Ricoh artistically pulled some shots and put it together for this cool, short video.

A video posted by konabikes (@konabikes) on

The course was really flat but had some punchy rises and lots of cornering. Saturday brought heavy winds and the race reflected that be being a group race from lap one. I was on top of it from the gun and managed to holeshot. From there a front group of five established and that was the race. Dan Timmerman, Anthony Clark, Cole Oberman, Adam Craig, and myself took turns throwing metaphoric punches at each other with strategically timed attacks but nothing was working. It came down to the last lap and a spring between Dan and I, which I was able to pull off!

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The course on Sunday was exactly the same but not nearly as windy and the race played out completely different, for the most part. A second corner crash caused a big separation early in the race, which left Dan and I off the front with the same three from Saturday chasing. They brought the gap down to within spitting distance with two laps to go. I got a little nervous and jumped. This ultimately strung it out and made the race a two person battle between Dan and I again.

I came into the finish straight with Dan on my wheel and was ready for him to come around me because of the dig I put in on the previous lap. However, I was still hungry for the win and managed to summon my inner Peter Sagan to hold Dan off and take the Sunday crown. This finish was much closer than Saturday, with only half a wheel determining the top two steps.

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Needless to say I was floored.

I couldn’t be happier with the way the weekend turned out. I got to put two W’s on the resume, keeping the Major Jake on the top step for two ProCX race weekends in a row, and getting the wins doubled as a great birthday present for my dad who was part of my weekend fan club (along with my mom).

Now it’s off to Cincinatti for Pacific American Championships followed by Louisville and the Derby City Cup.

Follow along with Kerry on Instagram as he continues to smash it on his Major Jake!