Kona Super Jake

Kerry Werner Keeps Momentum Rolling with Two Podium Finishes at Rochchester

The Rochester race weekend has been the traditional season opener for many years past. This year a few racers, Becca and Kerry included, decided to start with Roanoke last weekend (last weeks blog link) but that doesn’t change the nerves as this was the first C1. Thus, Rochesert was about gritting their teeth against some stiffer competition before heading into the world cups. 

Becca and Kerry drove to Rochester the Monday after Roanoke. They spent the week at a host house in Victor, who Kerry has developed a strong relationship with over the past three years racing at Rochester. Finally getting the race rigs together, check out Kerry’s bike check video.

Wednesday the gang got out to the local  YMCA camp to get some mid-week efforts in as well as scope out some different stations for Thursday nights CX clinic.

The YMCA camp hosts a weekly cyclocross clinic in the late summer/early fall thanks to some GVCC (Genesee Valley Cycling Club) enthusiasts. Becca and Kerry both participated as coaches alongside Tobin Ortenblad and Emily Shields. It’s all about giving back especially to the young guns. It is also inspiring as Kerry notes the CX community is strong in the Rochester area, “There are a ton of 10-16-year-olds in the Rochester area that are just so damn good! These kids can hop barriers, understand how to get on and off the bike, and are always looking for a challenge when on two wheels. It left us coaches wondering how good we would be if we had been exposed to the sport when we were that young.” 

There were more than just juniors at the clinic as well, once 120 people decided to show up. Becca describes it like this, “Imagine a sea of 100 cats in a laser light show and you had to keep track of 15 specific ones. Seriously, though excited, they were focused, attentive, and really seemed to want to learn and progress.”

Becca then ran a Friday clinic at the Rochester Cyclocross venue, walking people through the different obstacles on the course and giving them tips of the trade. Covering race day prep, confidence boosting, and a few deadlifts picking up fallen participants. Sometimes you gotta risk it for the biscuit. 

Saturday is race day and Becca kicked it off first for the Kona Maxxis Shimano CX Team. She didn’t have the most ideal start and after finding herself back in the high teens she remembered she had to pedal… harder. After regaining focus she clawed her way back into 4th but burned a few matches doing so and thus started to make some small mistakes that were, in turn, big mistakes at the end of the race, slipping in dusty corners, catching fences, bending rear hangers. 

Though disappointed by having a mechanical play a roll two weekends in a row Becca realizes, “I can take some time to remind myself that these mistakes are user-error and fixable, I’m still not set up with my season’s gear, I’m still working out my own rhythms, and that it is better that these things happen now rather than later.”

Kerry went next and had his head set on the whole shot. There was a super tight off camber section less than 1min from the start and being at the front could mean saving a match to maintain the gaps. 

He got the coveted whole shot, which set him up to stay in the front group of 4. They dangled off the front until about halfway through the race when they became solidly out ahead. Then the real games began. 

Kerry describes the race like this, “Lance Haidet was yo-yoing at this point and Gage was riding well but struggling a little in the tech bits. I knew Stephen was the guy to watch yet I managed to put myself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Stephen put pressure on in the woods and Gage was gaped a bit. He was riding well though, and I figured we could bring Stephen back but after pulling through I looked back and saw Gage gapped. I couldn’t get to Stephen alone so it was three laps solo. I had just enough in the tank to hold off a rallying Tobin Ortenblad and Jack Kisseberth to hold on to 2nd.” 

Though it wasn’t a win it was definitely a good result for the first C1 of the season where UCI points are higher and so is the cash payout. 

On to Sunday, which was one classification lower. A C1 gives out UCI points 15 deep and has about 3X the payout of a C2. C2’s only give out UCI points to the top ten and because there are more of these throughout the season only a riders 8 best C2’s count towards UCI ranking. 

Becca was fired up for Sunday and it showed as she got off the line well and didn’t settle on the first lap. She rode the majority of the race in 4th and did a lot of work chasing the podium. She was more consistent throughout the race by running some sections that were touch and go in Saturday’s race. No mechanicals but sticking her nose in the wind for a good portion of the race meant a lack of fuel left in the tank towards the end of the race and she lost two spots falling back to 6.

Recollecting, Becca says, “It’s kind of funny how a bad start and a great start can lead me to the same place. You would think if I could start so far back and chase to 6th that I could start in 6th and chase to the win. But anyone who races bikes knows that is never the case. Maybe chasing so hard on Saturday burned me out for Sunday and is why I lost those 2 spots. Maybe that mental edge of wanting revenge allowed me to start well on Sunday. I am sure the two results are tied together. Clearly, I am riding at a level that is very consistent and repeatable for me, and despite what happens I am remembering skills and strengths to fight through.” 

Kerry didn’t have such good luck on the start. He pulled out of his right pedal off the line and slotted in around 10th. A few changes to the course lead to an even punchier race, which quickly dissolved into small groups. The front group was 4 again, Jeremy Power, Hyde, Hecht, and Werner. The lower category C2 meant there wasn’t as much on the line and it showed. There was no reservation in the front group as blow after blow was thrown. 

Kerry was gassed but settled into the back of the group, not where you want to be at the end of the race. Hecht clipped a pedal on the off camber with 2 to go and caused a separation that Kerry could not bring back as Powers and Hyde traded turns at the front. 

Reflecting, Kerry realizes his mistake. “Luckily, I was able to keep Gage on the back burner after his mistake. I knew I shouldn’t have been on the back but Gage was riding strong and I didn’t see him making a mistake. I was definitely feeling fatigued from Saturday’s effort but really wanted two podiums on the weekend. So it was head down and a focus on smooth rather than fast in the woods.”

The next 2 weeks will involve Kerry building up Becca’s new Kona Super Jakes with the sweet Shimano Dura Ace group sets – with those sweet Ultegra RX Di2 clutch rear derailleurs. Becca will be pushing the limits of her endurance and skills and then hitting the recovery hard leading into the world cups. 

She says, “Remember, the Trek UCI World Cup pays women equally, and that is just huge. So for this Kona woman, it would mean so much to be on top form and performing my best in order to respect everything about the cycling community and their support of me and everyone else out there chasing dreams, working hard, and pushing limits.”

Check out Kerry’s vlog for some great in race footage (Thank you Cory Kuhns!) and some behind the scenes hoverboarding, pancake making, and donut eating!

 

 

Peloton Reviews the Major Jake “The bike’s ’cross DNA comes though loud and clear”

“The new Super Jake is about ‘cross first, with a little side of gravel for versatility.” 

Peloton has posted up their glowing review of our latest Super Jake on their website. They’re taken with its handling and fit. “It has a tight and responsive feel that many longer and taller gravel bikes lack with their endurance-inspired fit. The tight front end and taller bottom bracket make the bike ideal for quick changes of direction and tight switchbacks.” They praised its low BB drop as well. “The 67.5mm BB drop of the Major Jake makes mounting and dismounting less of a high-wire act.”

Click here or on the image below to check out the full review online.

 

 

Helen Wyman Wins in Koppenburg

Helen Wyman racked up her fourth win of the CX season on board the redesigned Kona Super Jake this past weekend in Koppenburg, beating out some solid international competition. Her latest CX Diaries video recaps the race and is embedded below, as well a few more photos from the race!

“Winning Koppenberg was a huge thrill. I was over the moon, and loved the battle with Katie Compton, one of the great ever female cross riders. For many years it was my home race, and a part of my heart will always feel that way. Four cobbles is something that will always make me smile, and it sets a target for the young riders to try to catch me. The European Champs were an impressive event, but for me it just kept drying up every hour making a top result out of reach. 8th was the best I could salvage, but 4 wins this season gives me a lot of confidence I’m doing the right things. Next up is a trip to Spain for a C1 race, which amazingly will be the first time I’ve ever raced in Spain. I can’t wait.” Helen Wyman

Loo-vull Sluggin: Kerry Werner’s weekend of two halves

After a week of Airbnb’ing in Louisville (pronounced like you have a mouth full of jelly beans, hence my title), I was eager to get after racing. We stayed about two miles from the course and a lot of my rides went by the venue so I was checking out the stakes and walking through the park all week.

This race had been happening for a number of years closer to downtown and right off of the river at Eva Badman Park. However, with Louisville hosting CX Nationals next year, USAC didn’t want to chance a potential repeat of the flood in 2013 that effected the World Championships.

Friday the tape got put up and we went over to set up the tents and ride the course. The top section of the course, around the start finish area, was flat as a pancake and didn’t have much in the way of technical or defining sections. The bottom half was all set on a gradually sloping field. The course designers utilized a steeper section of the field, in front of a historic house on property, to add in the technical bits, which played the biggest role in the races. There was a tricky, when wet, off camber and ride out, followed by a set of stairs, and ending with a steep downhill with a tight 90º degree corner at the bottom. Rain on Friday night left these sections slick and challenging. Needless to say, the race was going to be a fun one. You know that when you are having a blast in pre-ride, trying to dial in sections.

5:30pm Saturday was go time. Therefore, there was a lot of time to kill all day. Luckily, Emily and Kermy Shields came to the race and brought the RV so venue time wasn’t too much of a drag.

Off the line I found myself to have a good start, slotted in to the top three. After the first lap, the gaps were formed and our group of five at the front had a gap. There were never and huge attacks but small gaps would open on the technical sections and eventually the group was whittled down. Stephen and Gage got away from Tobin and I three laps in when I missed a pedal after putting an outrigger out through a tight turn. The gap never got out of hand, Gage and Stephen were having their battle while Tobin and I lingered just 10-15 seconds back. Eventually, Stephen got away from Gage while Tobin and I ended up taking it to the line.

No one was riding the little off camber before the finish, the whole race and I knew that if Tobin came into me ahead of it riding I was going to immediately commit to running and try to pinch him out before the pavement. This exact thing happened as Tobin came into it with me on his wheel. I jumped off while he got hung up and then I managed to get around him and completely gut myself to hold on to third.

My cheeky little move…

What a day! Rounded out the podium with this cheeky little move but Tobin made me hurt so bad to keep it (@horsteng…). Also, locked down 2nd in the #uscupcx overall. Can’t thank my @konabikes squad enough. 🙌🏾 @shoaircg for funding and putting @rtrebon in charge of running the series. It turned out to be a just what we needed. – – – @rideshimano @clifbar @julbousa @jakroousa @donnelly_cycling @girocycling @wildernesstrailbikes @crankbrothers @lizardskinscycling @cts_trainright @tenspeedhero #konabikes #superjake #rideshimano #duraace #di2 #feedyouradventure #ridedonnelly #jakrooapparel #girosynth #wtb #crankbrothers #weridecb #dspbartape #lizardskinscycling #touchitfeelitloveit #ctsathlete #horstspikes #horstengineering #cxismydisco #fieldwrench

A post shared by Kerry Werner (@kerryw24) on

This was the first time I felt the need to completely lay out on the ground after a bike race. I had, on many occasions, leaned over my bike using it as a support but this time not even that would suffice.

Stephen won, while Gage was 10-15 seconds down, while Tobin and I were another 10-15 seconds. Some real dicey racing and I was happy to end up 3rd.

That meant I held on to 2nd in the US Cup Overall! And I got to take home my first “big” check, which I still can’t get anyone to cash.

Sunday was more or less the same schedule except there was way less time to ride the course because of all the different Pan Am Champ categories.

Upon first inspection, I was really pumped to be out on file treads, Donnelly LAS. The course had tacked up so much that the ground was a soft and intensely grippy power suck in spots. Though this was not everyone’s impression. Most were on intermediate tires.

 

I had another good start and slotted into the front of the race, which quickly became another group of 5-6. Micheal van den Ham, Canadian National Champ, was riding really aggressively early on and even got a small gap with Tobin, but it came back.

Half way through the race Stephen had gotten away and the small gaps in the group were starting to take their toll on me. Tobin and MvD gapped me a little off on a slog of a climb and I couldn’t bring it back. This was when the pin was pulled and the grenade went off. Fernando came by me like I was standing still.

I managed to do some dirt sampling whilst trusting a soft “rut berm” with three to go but I held it together and shook it off in a second.

Luckily, we had a big gap before this happened so I took a lap to get my wits about me and then attempted to rally. Jamey Driscoll was behind me and I had just enough in the tank to hold him off for fifth.

One more lap and I may have pulled the plug on the whole thing. This was not uncommon for the day as many found themselves at their limit for too long, without realizing it. Yesterday’s race effort and the culmination of the physically demanding course were no doubt the cause of my detonation.

While I wasn’t happy with fifth in the Pan Am Champs race I was happy with the weekend as a whole. I managed to hold down 2nd place in the US Cup CX overall as well as come out with one podium.

Now it’s time for a weekend off. Kerm is having his race as a part of the NCCX in Salisbury, NC, which is always a fun course. Plus, this year, he is going to let me give my two cents in the layout. Watch out NCCX’ers, you’re in for a treat this year.

Then its up to NY for the Supercross Cup and another weekend off before the final C1 of the season in Tulsa, Ok. My last chance for a C1 win this season, unless I magically rise to Van Der Poel and Wout’s level by the time Worlds come around.