Super Jake

US Cyclocross Nationals is This Weekend!

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

It all comes down to this. After a long season of slogging through mud, snow, over obstacles, and navigating sand pits, Cyclocross Nationals will be held this weekend in Reno, Nevada. Kona’s Kerry Werner has had a strong season and is looking to punctuate his success with a victory by taking the coveted top step of the podium aboard his Super Jake.

The course isn’t terribly technical, according to Werner. “So far I have only seen pics/ video of the “off camber”, which seems to be the only glorified feature on Course. No rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week so the rain Reno got on Tuesday will likely have zero impact on Sunday’s race.”

His training and preparation seem to have served him well, though. “I am feeling good, though, there is always an element of uncertainty when you haven’t raced a UCI race in over 4 weeks,” he said. “I have spent the time since Hendersonville NCGP putting in a lot of solid training. I am confident in my fitness going into the weekend. It’s just a matter of managing stresses, wondering if my engine is revved up and ready for the intensity of a really hard race. You can never be sure of how altitude will affect you. Reno is at 4500 feet and the science claims the real detrimental effects take place at 5000+.”

Until race day, he’s going to be resting up, inspecting the course, and doing the mental preparation needed to go into Sunday’s race in the best possible state. “My plan is to play it cool all week. I’ll check out the Course tomorrow and Saturday and get a feel for things and try not to think too much about the race,” he said. “Stagnation is not good for me. Boredom puts my body in a lackadaisical state but obviously, I don’t want to be busy doing things and end up on my feet too much before Sunday. The name of the game from now until I wake up Sunday morning is to have fun and be cool like a cucumber.”

And his goal? “WIN!” he responded.

From all of us at Kona, Kerry, we wish you strong legs, smart racing, and are pulling for you!

Smile Because It Happened – Helen Wyman Moves On

After nine memorable seasons representing Kona Bicycles at the highest level of the cyclocross discipline, Helen Wyman, World Cup star, multi-time European Champion and British Champion, is moving on to a different program beginning in January 2018. The Dr. Seussian phrase, “don’t be sad that it’s over; be happy that it happened” comes to mind, as Helen moves on while still performing and leading the sport at the height of her career. As of this article, she is ranked 9th in the world. And though Helen’s exit makes room for Kona’s commitment to developing future stars, her successful tenure here will leave a hole worth paying homage to – perhaps a hole the likes of which may not be filled again by a Kona racer.

Helen en route to a bronze medal finish at the 2014 World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands (PC: T. Van Bracht)

Within the last two decades, Kona’s women’s elite cyclocross program, with multiple World Cup podiums and wins, has been its most successful international race program. Dating back to American Anne Knapp in the early 2000s, building with Canadian Wendy Simms in the mid-2000s, Kona’s international cyclocross success was cemented by Helen and her dominant performances from 2009 to present day. We’ll boast for her here: 67 UCI Pro wins in the last 12 years, 9 British National Championships, 3 European Championships, and a bronze medal from the World Championships! But that’s not all.

A cobble to be proud of – holding the coveted trophy of Koppenberg Cross, which Helen first won in 2010.

Helen departs Kona with more than race results. In addition to committing her young adult life to the athletic craft of cyclocross, Helen has leveraged her success to directly influence the future of the sport at a global level. Since 2013 she has served on the UCI Cyclocross Commission where she has been a prodigious voice for equality in sport, including equal pay for women. Helen’s work has led to the development of a U23 women’s category for the World Championships, increases in prize money for women, and has significantly increased the overall World Cup ranking prize purse for both women and men.

Battling reigning World Champion Sanne Cant this November at the Zeven World Cup, where Helen took second place (PC: TFOTO.BE).

“My goals were to equalize the prize money for elite men and women, develop a U23 women’s category and filter through all those rules to make essential changes for the good of the sport. I also wanted to ensure that all professional ‘cross racers have clear, set pathways to ensure they can carry out their sport at the World Cup level,” said Helen in an interview with Cyclocross Magazine.

Helen taking an early-season win at EKZ Cross this October, opening up a streak of top-performances which position her well for a strong showing at the upcoming World Championships in Valkenburg, Netherlands in February. (PC: EKZ Cross Tour)

Whether it is persisting through the haze of federation policies or the mire of bike racing in winter, Helen is known for her tireless style. The more gnarly the conditions, the more she thrives. Her strengths are in the mud, technical terrain, and the cold. “If I had it my way, ‘cross would start in October and finish in March,” she wrote in her column for Cyclocross Magazine. This is saying something for someone who spends most of the race season in the sunless swards of Belgium. “The queen of mud”, as she has been called, has piloted four iterations of the Major Jake to international fame, from her first win at the prestigious Koppenberg Cross in 2010 (she claimed her fourth win there in 2017), to a bronze medal at the frozen Hoogerheide World Championships in 2014, and many other wins and podium finishes in between.

Be it a wall of stairs, pits of mud, frozen ruts, uphill battles – Helen has taken them on in stride – swiftly, and with a smile. (PC: Bart Raemaekers)

Thus, far short of the novel that might begin to do justice to her time at Kona, we wish the best to Helen and her future pursuits in the sport. We hope she stays true to her word that she will “continue racing until her legs scream no more,” and that she makes others’ legs scream at the front of the World Cup field. We will be there along with her other fans cheering her on and finding inspiration in her successes in sport and beyond.

Helen, we thank you for your commitment to Kona and your world class representation of the sport for the past decade, and wish you the best.

Wyman 3rd in Belgium

Kona cyclocross ringer Helen Wyman finished on the podium at the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee Scheldecross in Antwerp, Belgium. After a grueling race on a track riddled with challenging obstacles, Wyman was able to hold off those charing from the behind to take home third place behind Sanne Cant and Katie Compton. Congrats, Helen, on another strong result.

Velonews has the full recap here.

Weekly Wyman Update: What Goes Up Must Come Down

Kona cyclocross racer Helen Wyman had a challenging weekend in Belgium as she crashed in both her events after strong starts. Winter was in full effect making the technical conditions even more challenging. But, as Wyman knows, it’s all a part of the bigger game.

Video recap from Essen:

 

“It was back to the usual routine of Belgian racing with back to back events over the weekend.  It wasn’t my best weekend, but there were good signs.   After a very heavy training block in Spain I wasn’t expecting to feel too good but actually started both events well.  Frustratingly I managed to crash while in 2nd place in both events and put myself out of contention.  The World Cup series starts again this coming weekend and then we hit the busy Christmas period of racing.”

 

Video recap from Overijse:

Wyman Wins in Spain!

Going to Spain for some training is a pretty standard event for me, something I’ve been doing for many years.  This season, though, I managed to squeeze a race into the training camp and help put some speed into my legs.  I’m glad to say it went well, with win number 6 now in the books.  Overall it was a good block of training and I’m now back in Belgium and ready for the busy block of races that faces me for December. These races outside of Belgium have become a vital part of this season, with my focus on gaining a higher UCI rank, following last season’s injury.  I’ve moved up to 10th in the world rankings now, which gives me hope of a front row start the World Championships in January.” – Helen Wyman

Tulsa Tango

After eating way too much turkey and having way too much fun with friends over Thanksgiving it was time to get back between the tape for the last C1 weekend of the North American CX season.

Doug had dropped the trailer in Tulsa after Louisville so we both flew in and met up on Thursday. We stayed at Jill and Chris Dakin’s house, who were amazing all weekend. Their two 11 year-old boys raced the weekend, Chris did the P 1, 2 race both days, and the whole family came to support all the races all weekend.

Friday, we spent a lazy morning getting ready to check out the course, which opened at 3 pm. Though there is not a lot of elevation change in the park Tanner and the course designers put together a fun track. There was an up and down sandpit, a slick creek crossing, an unpredictable creek crossing, some fun single track in the woods, and some stairs that were rideable.

Day 1 the course went counter clockwise and Day 2 was the opposite.

I was prepared for some tactical racing as the course wasn’t physically demanding. The key was to keep it together as you were seeing red on the rev limiter. One dab or slip up could open up a gap, though, the gaps were hard to maintain due to the nature of the course.

After another pre-ride Saturday around noon, I opted for the Donnelly file treads at 21F-24R.

 

The gun sounded and we were routed straight into the sand section. The field was strung out and we had a large group at the front for the first half of the race. It wasn’t until 5 or 4 to go that the front group was a definite group of 5: Tobin Ortenblad, Gage Hecht, Lance Haidet, Cody Kaiser, and myself.

With three to go Gage dropped his chain on the steps and then it was Lance, Tobin, and I at the front. Gage clawed his way back on as we started 1 lap to go. I found the front halfway through the last lap, which is when we entered the single track. Soon after that we approached the finish.

I thought being in the front at that point was crucial to holding the chasers off. As we came upon 200m to go I was sure I was going to have the win until I went to the outside around a right-hand corner to avoid the steeper part of a ditch crossing, the line that everyone took all race. Tobin came in hot and sent it straight over the ditch on the inside to chop me in the exit of the corner. I was on his wheel but there was no room to move up in the final corners of the race and he held me off for the win.

That one hurt. I was looking forward to getting a C1 win this season and that was my last chance. While it was my best C1 finish, it didn’t come with the satisfaction that those kinds of finishes usually provide. I was feeling physically strong all day and comfortable in the technical bits but Tobin found the chink in my finish strategy armor. Ellery, Chris’s 5 year old daughter, burst into tears when I crossed the line in second because she wanted me to win so bad. I am glad she acted out my emotions so I didn’t have too. Heh.

There exists a sliver lining, though. We went back to the host house and grilled out, had a cocktail or two, and ate outside on a 60ºF night in the beginning of December, but apparently, global warming is “fake news”.

After a pre-ride of Sunday’s course, I opted for MXP’s at 23F-25R. There were a few more roots exposed and the extra grip comforts me when I am riding aggressively, which was the plan for the day.

The wind was howling all afternoon and I knew that would make it even harder to break up the field. No one wants to stick their nose out in the wind and pull everyone along with them, especially on a tactical course like Ruts n’ Guts.

Sure enough, we had a huge group of 15 strung out two laps in, then 10, and then 8. Finally, with about 4 to go, it was a group of 5. Again, I was feeling strong and thinking ahead to the end of the race, where my positioning should be and how to hold off Tobin’s, infamous, last half lap charge.

Just as we entered the woods section after the finish we dipped down and turned left across a small rise. I took a hard pedal stroke out of the corner and SNAP! I managed to break my chain.

I was far from the pit and there wasn’t much I could do but kick push and run. I got a new bike from Doug and proceeded to do damage control. There wasn’t much to race for except the purpose of finishing the race, going hard, and anger management. I could have easily thrown in the towel as I wasn’t going to get any UCI points and the payout for a C2, outside of the top five, isn’t worth getting out of bed for. But I stayed on the gas and stayed in the race mentally, which is a positive take away.

After the race, I was bummed out. I was feeling good all race and looking forward to shaking it up on the last lap to contend for the win, which is the about the only positive take away. There is comfort in knowing that my result on paper was a direct result of something I couldn’t control rather than having a biomechanical. The fitness is there but so was a small lapse in oversight from lady luck.

It’s on to the next one! I’m heading to Hendersonville, NC, which is 2.5 hrs from Winston-Salem and a race I have done for the last 4 or 5 years. I got my first UCI win there and I am looking forward to the course changes that Tim Hopkins, NCCX race promoter and course designer, has made. There isn’t any rain in the forecast but the temps are dropping into the mid 40’s and lows in the 20’s overnight. Maybe we will have some freeze/thaw slick but at least we will be in long sleeve skin suits.

Keeping it Real – Spencer Wins at Woodland

In the not-so-quiet corner of the world that is the Seattle cyclocross scene, the Woodland Park Grand Prix is regarded by many as the prestige cyclocross event. It’s the race to hit, and the party to be in. As such, 948 racers and many more fans made their way to the popular venue in the heart of town this past Sunday afternoon to experience a day at the races.  As the perennial finale to the MFG Cyclocross Series since 2008, Woodland Park buzzes with an extra level of energy, extra cowbell, extra Nutella on the waffles, and extra bubbles in the foam party. In the Elite Men’s division, this year saw the series overall title on the line with a tight battle between Kona team rider Spencer Paxson and curly-bar sensation Steve Fisher.  The “Woodland Park Bout” was fast and tight, but not so much that there wasn’t time for a little revelry on the SSCXWC-esque “Slip-n-Slide” bonus line mid-race. Spencer went on to win the day aboard his Super Jake. Read on for a few of the highlight moments. 

Dennis Crane

A little bit prestige cyclocross, a little bit SSCXWC shenanigans, the infamous Seattle Hodala Crew put on a serious party on the back end of the course with a Slip-n-Slide A-Line, where riders had the choice of vaulting over a pile of wood palettes and sliding down the hill through a wave of foam. “This is sort of a metaphor for my career as a cyclist”, said Spencer, speaking of the foam party line mid-race. “Fast and fun…we may look all serious in our coordinated spandex suits, but it doesn’t mean we don’t look forward to getting loose and having a good time in the process. Top racing moment right here.  Thanks, Hodala Crew!

Dennis Crane

What’s a race without a bit of fun hype before the race to highlight the tight duel between the two Bellingham riders Fisher and Paxson? The Series Overall was on the line going into the 6th and final round of the MFG Series, with Spencer trailing in second by a scant four points.  Fisher, a graduate of Kona’s prestigious Rad Racing Northwest program, is an accomplished North American professional road racer and ‘cross racer, known for a sharp sprint, serious power, and savvy tactics. He and Spencer had dueled all season, with “The Fish” taking several sprint finishes by a hair. As for Spencer, he says, “my edge is actually on the runs, or when it gets really gnarly and cold.” With mild conditions slated for Sunday, the stage was set for an exciting race.  With a tight points bracket, Spencer would have to win, with “The Fish” in 4th place or worse, in order to take the series.  While a win for Spencer was in the cards, a low finish for Fisher was unlikely. Regardless, it was gentlemanly, high-class, gloves off racing from the gun!

Dennis Crane

Grabbing the holeshot off the start line, Spencer sports the new pink-on-black-on-blue and the new Super Jake. Conditions were tacky and fast on Sunday. “With high speeds, the margin for getting out ahead is tighter, so the start was pretty hot,” noted Spencer.

Dennis Crane

A tight and exciting duel all day between Spencer and rival Steve Fisher, along with 2013 Masters World Champ and Seattle legend Russel Stevenson. Spencer would emerge victorious with a decisive last-lap attack on a steep run-up around 600-meters before the finish.

Dennis Crane

Tech notes from Spencer: “I’m running a 54cm Super Jake frame with a 90mm, -17deg stem and 44cm bars, 2×11 Shimano Ultegra Drivetrain, 172.5mm cranks and XTR 11-40 cassette in the back (40t limited out). For tires today I ran the WTB Riddler 37c at 24psi and 25psi front and rear, respectively. For reference, my system weight is approximately 170lbs/77kg (rider and bike combined). Conditions were fast and tacky with only a bit of need for some bite in the high-speed corners, which made this tread profile and supple tubeless feel a good option.”

Spencer took the win on the day, and Fisher would retain the series lead by a couple points.

With the traditional North American cyclocross season winding down in most parts of the US (for Europeans, it’s just getting rolling, and will go until February!), riders are either preparing to give the bikes a rest, or keep up with their local series, and maybe even thinking about plans for the next season already. In Washington, there is still a State Championship on the line, as well as other series to wrap up, including the Seattle Cyclocross Revolution and Northwest Cyclocross Cup, and Bellingham’s Cascade Cross Series which will go into December and January. The cyclocross scene, while already hot in the Northwest, is sure to heat up even more as the 2019 Cyclocross National Championships approach – taking place in Tacoma, Washington. When asked about future plans for a deeper pursuit of ‘cross, Spencer alludes to considering a “long game” for ‘Cross Nat’s, but for now, time for a beer.

Dennis Crane

Helen Wyman Reigns in Spain

Kona Cyclocross racer Helen Wyman’s season just keeps on gaining momentum. This weekend she raced in Spain for the first time and took win number five, a real motivational boost leading into next weeks World Cup.

“Since traveling back from the European Championships, I’ve had time to plan new goals for the second phase of the season. It’s been really good for body and mind to spend some time at home after nine weeks away with an intense racing block of 19 races. Race 20 was my first ever race in Spain, and I’m really happy to have taken the win. Some very strong Spanish riders who perform well at World Cups, as well as two of the best young Dutch riders made it a good race, but I’m happy that in the mud I was able to come out on top. Next up for me a trip to Denmark for the new World Cup, followed by Germany and Belgium. An action-packed few weeks await.” – Helen Wyman

2 for 2, Thoroughly Gnarly, Totally Balmy – Spencer Paxson Checks in from a Weekend of Kona’s Backyard ‘Cross Scene

Barreling down through the mud and the snow at the ever raw and rugged Cascade Cross Series. Photo: Matt Curtis

Team Rider Spencer Paxson checks in from a messy weekend of local cyclocross action in Kona’s back yard in western Washington. While our cyclocross superstar A-Team of Helen Wyman and Kerry Werner tear up the international and national ‘cross season, Adventure Team rider Spencer has been keeping his racing craft sharp (and flying the Kona flag high) at the epicenter of Washington’s cyclocross scene.  Spencer claimed back-to-back wins amidst brutal conditions, one aboard a Private Jake, the second aboard our new Super Jake. Read on for a brief recap and on how you can get your bike to look this good.

It’s not always pretty!‘ That’s what I thought as I pedaled back home after Saturday’s race at the Hannegan Speedway in Bellingham. Round #3 of the Cascade Cross Series.  It was 33 degrees, squinting as huge flakes of snow pelted my face. We had just spent the last hour racing through a horrifyingly muddy yet amazing track on the outskirts of town.  I kept the pace up to retain the dwindling warmth in my extremities. I could feel the thick mud caked across the front of my clothes begin to stiffen and freeze.  ‘Even after all these years…it’s remarkable that we do this kind of stuff.‘ But that’s part of the point, perhaps.  The bewilderment combined with the exhilaration keeps you coming back for more because it’s all just a mystery. Or maybe that’s only for crazy people like me…

‘Squish, squelch, squash, plosh’ – the real sounds of ‘cross. Photo Matt Curtis

But finally, cyclocross conditions worth reporting on! Until this past weekend, each race I had done was warm enough for bare arms and legs.  This weekend was deep, deep in the opposite direction.  One degree above freezing, with snow and rain mixed into a marrow-chilling breeze, as if there were such a thing as cold steam.  And hundreds of bike riders keeping the mud churned all day long.

Cascade Cyclocross promoter Kip Zwolenski marveling at the carnage from Saturday’s course. Photo Matt Curtis

Sunday’s race brought me south to Tacoma and Round 5 of Seattle’s flagship MFG Cyclocross Series.  I’ve been in a hot (now cold) off-season “battle” with friend and fellow Bellinghamer Steve Fisher for the series overall this year. Of course, I’m sitting second, and all statistical analysis points towards me sticking in that spot (the perennial Bride’s Maid!). But on Sunday I edged closer with a win (Steve wasn’t there). It was not without drama, however, as shortly after the start, while taking a strange line with a big bump, I dropped a chain and fell to dead last.  Ever experienced from weathering setbacks, I was able to slither my way through the field, back to the front, and hold a lead through the pelting snow and claim a discreet victory…it was snowing so hard, I don’t think anyone could see.

“Snow-Aero” – It was coming down so heavy during the MFG race on Sunday that a thick coating formed on the leading edge of all surfaces. After an early mishap, Spencer fought through these conditions and the field to take the win.

lofi cross

Crappy picture? “That’s the point,” said Spencer. In conditions so wet and cold that fingers could barely work to use cameras, “a crisp-looking ‘Insta-perfect’ shot just wouldn’t do it justice.” Here channeling his inner Erik Tonkin and Team S&M spirit, thus loving the conditions.

Stay tuned for more updates from Spencer’s “B-Team” cyclocross action, and some even more unappealing “off-season” activities.

Kerry Werner rolls out some Cincy Consistency

Doug and I spent a relaxing week in Winston Salem before arriving in Cincinnati for the Cincy CX weekend, kicking off at Devou Park.

We set up on Friday afternoon and I pedaled a lap, before heading out on the road. The course was set up exactly like it had been in years past. Because there was tons of grass, the promoters had just finished taping it, I headed out on the road to grab some pre-race vibes. The rain was going to come down overnight anyway and the course was going to be completely different so it seemed like a waste of time and energy to do a bunch of laps.

That evening we settled into our host house the Haubner’s, north of Cincy near Mason. They were extremely gracious so Doug and I had no problems fitting in and chatting with them and their eager son James, a Lion Hearts Team junior racer, about everything and anything bikes/racing.

Saturday we awoke to snow flurries on the ground, which quelled my suspicions of having the course dry out by our 5pm race time. I was very excited about finally getting rain but when I heard that it was only overnight I was skeptical that the mud would hang around until 5pm, it had been dry in the area. I turned out to be very wrong. When we arrived at the course and set out for pre-ride the entire course was layered with heavy peanut buttery mud and a hard slick foundation.

Watching the women’s race blow apart in the first lap got me excited to get our race underway. There was a tricky off-camber about 1min into the course off the start line and I knew that it would be good to be in the top five for that.

I managed to grab the holeshot and hung onto it until Stephen came around be ¼ of the way through the lap and decided to check out early.

I held on to the front of the race the best I could the first couple laps but was going backward finally fading to 8th.

The thick mud called for me to change my riding style, which I started to figure out halfway through the race and I found my groove. I am more used to wet slippery mud that allows you to ride fast and maintain a high cadence. The thick stuff calls for a slower, full body, effort with a lower more muscley cadence and it is something I struggle with.

I made up a few spots finishing in sixth, disappointed because I had higher expectations for that first mud race.

There was a shakeup in the US Cup CX standings as Tobin didn’t have a good day and Spencer Petrov had a great day. Stephen took over the lead, Tobin dropped to 2nd, and Spencer and I tied for 3rd only 9 points down from Tobin.

With a venue change for Sunday, we loaded up the trailer and headed to William Harbin Park 35min North of Devou. We dropped the trailer and picked up some good Thai takeout, which was promptly devoured as soon as we walked in the door.

Sunday was a magical morning like Saturday as we did not wake up to snow but we did get to watch Euro CX racing, which we didn’t on Saturday. That killed most of the morning until I went over to the course at around 1pm for pre-ride.

The cold overnight temps and overcast conditions kept a lot of the moisture on the ground so we were dealing with a mix of slick off cambers and tacky Velcro corners. I was very tempted to running the Donnelly file tread, LAS, but swapped out on the line for the MXP’s, which was a good call as pitting would have been a big disadvantage in the tight racing and the MXP’s gave me larger room for error when bleeding out of my eyes and going hypoxic.

I had a special motivation maker hidden under my zip off tights and when the UCI official called 3min to start I unveiled my Jakroo Galaxy tights, which match my kit like chicken goes with waffles. I also pinned my number on the wrong side so Doug had to do an impromptu repin…

I found the holeshot again and was feeling good. After the first few laps, things started to shuffle around. There was a long slog of a grass climb up to the finish stretch, which felt like riding on a wet sponge, complete power sap.

Stephen got to the front early and only Gage Hecht was able to match the effort. I managed to reel them in on that spongey climb just as they had formed their gap but promptly after I latched on to Gage’s wheel Stephen took one look back at my jaw dragging on the ground and dropped the hammer. I didn’t have the strength to even pretend to go with it. I sat up and waited for the shattered remains of the groups behind me to swallow me.

Curtis White, Jamey Driscoll, and Eric Brunner, a young gun out of Colorado, were among those that swallowed me alive. We grouped up and set a good tempo distancing those behind us and trying to dislodge each other.

Eric was punching way above his weight class and doing a great job. He hung in there until the end when he started to come unglued, which left Jamey, Curtis, and I to battle for the last podium spot. It came down to that last grass sloggy hill climb to the finish. Curtis and I sat on Jamey’s wheel and we all had the most awkward looking sprint coming up onto the pavement as we were all fighting our legs from seizing.

Curtis got the best of both of us but I slotted in at fourth. I was obviously bummed about missing out on the podium but so pumped because I knew I just moved into second in the US Cup CX overall. Tobin had another bad day and Spencer DNF’d. So Stephen solidified his top step, I moved into second and Curtis moved into third twenty points down from me.

We loaded the truck and trailer and got out of Harbin park before the cold saturated us to our bones. We arrived at the host house to Cincy famous La Rosas’ pizza and plowed through too many pieces. Again, the Haubners were great hosts. James ended up winning his U15 races both Saturday and Sunday and I am excited that they are coming to Louisville (said like you have a mouth full of trail mix) next weekend to catch more racing action.

Until then!

Kona’s Kerry Werner goes in to battle at the Charm City Slug Fest

I was checking the weather all week. The meteorologists where calling for 80% chance of rain on Sunday and I couldn’t have been happier. I was looking for something to break up the racing so I wouldn’t have to think so much during. However, then I saw the Charm City twitter update about the massive 21 stair flyover and thought that getting off the bike four times in one lap should help crack open some gaps.

Doug and I showed up Friday around noon, a little early as I couldn’t check out the course until 4:30. Doug got the compound ready and I went off for lunch with the Donnelly Tires crew. Ricoh Riott with Running Quail Productions was not only serving as our host house for the weekend but also doing the filming for a video coming out about the new Super Jake and how it raced at Charm City. He also brought Doug his favorite snacks…

After getting on course we headed downtown to a nice Korean joint for some authentic Bi Bim Bap (rice bowls).

Saturday morning was spent watching Euro CX racing and scarfing down pancakes with real Vermont maple syrup that Jamey Driscoll brought me from his recent visit home.

I got to the course around noon and was immediately greeted by the one and only David Carey. The kid with a bigger heart than I could ever hope to have. He is diagnosed with pre B acute lymphoblastic leukemia but certainly doesn’t let the disease own him. He is a fighter and loves to ride bikes so it was only natural that we get out for a half lap on the course.

The good news is that the intensity of his chemo treatment has thinned out to more intermittent visits, though, his energy levels are easily tapped out. His motivation is plentiful though and it sure was humbling to pedal the course with David knowing that while he could only physically do a half lap he wanted to be out there all day. He’ll get there.

After some fun in the sun on course, I chilled and got into the normal routine of things. The last five weekends have all been the same. Doug and I have even developed a formula for when I get on the trainer. I add 10min to the start time (4:15 at Charm so 4:25) then subtract 1 hr (3:25) and that is when I get on the trainer. This gives me 25-30min of warm up and gets me off the trainer at 20min before the race. Then I have 5min to go to the bathroom, do some leg swings and loosen up before spinning around the start grid. They always say 15min before for staging but they are always a little behind schedule for that.

The hat dropped and I found myself floundering to get in my pedal off the line. I was sitting around 10th once we got off the start straight and into the course. This wasn’t a huge deal, though not ideal, I was patient and moved up over the first 2 laps. With the course being so fast and dry there was no need to be at the front to catch early breaks. The first half of the race saw a big group of six or seven riders.

I found the front a few times but getting away was futile. The course had a few punchy bits but then there were some long stretches that would allow someone, who was gapped, to claw back onto the group. The last lap saw a group of four, Jeremy Powers leading, I was on his wheel, followed by Tobin, and then Stephen. I was happy to be sitting second wheel, though I was a little gassed from a dig I put in with two laps to go. That effort with two to go may have been the reason I ended up fourth.

With half a lap to go I was still sitting second wheel then after a stair section, Tobin dive bombed me on the inside and I tried to get him back on the next corner. I couldn’t get the spot back and got slowed down in the meantime so Stephen came around me and that is where I sat. Tobin went on to nip J-Pows, and Stephen hung on for third.

I was happy to be there at the end but a little chuffed at my lack of tactical prowess and inability to be patient. I didn’t have quite enough in the tank to be as aggressive as I needed to be at the end and I paid the price by watching the podium from my tent on the trainer instead of standing up there.

My parents came to the race because Baltimore is only 2.5 hrs from my Pa residence, Emily and I went out to eat with them in Hamden area, noodles, followed by ice cream at the Charmery, a staple in my recovery routine.

Sunday had the same schedule as Saturday. The rain had come down early in the morning but it was nowhere near as torrential as it needed to be. The course was so dusty and dry that every drop was soaked up and made the track faster. The dusty corners turned into Velcro by the time 4:15 rolled around, which always feels great to race but it also makes everyone a great bike driver.

I had a much better start today and found myself sitting third wheel for the first two laps as Stephen drove the pace. I stuck my nose out there for a bit and then Stephen got back on the front and Spencer Petrove weighed in as well. We were starting to crack Tobin a bit but he was fighting like hell. We would lap him by a few seconds and he would pull it right back on the long straight efforts.

This should have been my cue to take it easy and save some for the end of the race but, again, I was certain I could dislodge Tobin and then sit on while Hyde and Spencer took the reins.

This kind of happened. Spencer threw down after I put a dig in and gapped Tobin off the back of him and Hyde. I was on Tobin’s wheel though and was weary to jump around him right away because I didn’t want to bring him back into the mix, I was also gassed and reluctant to give it another go at the moment.

Thus, Spencer and Hyde stayed away then I put a little attack on Tobin with half a lap to go and rode in for 3rd. Tobin rode strong considering we were all gunning for him. But it was good to get him off the top step and off the podium.

Now for a little R&R! five weekends in a row sure makes the cross season go by fast but I am looking forward to, one, not race this weekend, and two get some consistent training in before the next few rounds of the US Cup CX.

Doug gets to fly home too. We will reconvene at DCCX in two weekends time then hit Cincy and Louisville for Pan Am Champs and the last couple rounds of the US Cup series.

 

Wir stellen vor: das nagelneue Kona Jake

Vielseitige, rennerprobte Cyclocross Bikes

Cyclocross, Pendeln, Abenteuer auf Feldwegen – das Jake ist eines der vielseitigsten Bikes der Kona Modellpalette. Das Jake hat hier bei Kona bereits eine lange Geschichte – zwanzig Jahre, um genau zu sein. Es begann zwar als renntauglicher Cyclocrosser, wurde von seinen Nutzern jedoch schon bald als exzellenter Allrounder betrachtet.

Von Grund auf überarbeitet

In diesem Jahr wurde das Jake von Grund auf überarbeitet mit neuen Carbon- und Aluminiumrahmen, einer Vollcarbongabel, Shimano E-Thru Steckachsen und hydraulischen Scheibenbremsen mit Flat-Mount-Aufnahmen an allen drei Modellen der Produktlinie.

Kona Product Manager Joe Brown über die brandneue Kona Jake Serie

Drei neue Jake Modelle

Entstanden aus den Schlammfurchen und Sandgruben des Cyclocross-Weltcups, erobert die Jake Serie mit ihrem brandneuen Carbonrahmenset ganz neues Territorium. Seit zwei Jahrzehnten wissen Querfeldein-Fahrer, dass das Jake kein Durchschnittsbike ist, denn es bietet die unverkennbaren Kona Fahreigenschaften. Das diesjährige Jake ist insgesamt leichter, an den entscheidenden Stellen steifer und hat doch das Fahrverhalten beibehalten, das es zu dem Weltklasse-Crossbike gemacht hat, das auf Schotterpisten ebenso zuhause ist wie beim Grundlagentraining.

Super Jake

Mit diesem Bike musst du direkt zum Rennen. Ein nagelneues Vollcarbon-Rahmenset mit Flat-Mount-Aufnahmen, Steckachsen vorne und hinten sowie Schutzblechaufnahmen bilden den Grundstein der diesjährigen Jake Serie und das Super Jake ist die Crème de la Crème mit SRAM Force 1-fach Antrieb, hydraulischen Scheibenbremsen und Clement Tubeless-ready-Laufrädern und -Reifen. Es spielt keine Rolle, ob du beim Cross-Rennen aufs Podium willst oder das Ganztages-Abenteuer auf Schotter suchst: Mit dem Super Jake schaffst du beides.

Super Jake Ausstattung

  • Rahmenmaterial: Kona Race Light Carbon
  • Laufräder: Clement Ushuaia Laufradsatz, Tubeless-ready
  • Gabel: Kona Full Carbon Flat Mount CX Race Disc 100×12 mm
  • Kurbelsatz: SRAM Force 1 X-Sync
  • Schaltung: SRAM Force 1×11-fach
  • Cockpit: Kona Road Light Lenker, Kona Road Deluxe Vorbau und Kona Cork Lenkerband
  • Bremsen: SRAM Force 1 HRD
  • Reifen: Clement MXP Tubeless-ready 700x33c
  • Sattel: WTB SL8 Pro

Major Jake

Unser brandneues CX Carbonrahmenset mit Flat-Mount- und Steckachsaufnahmen vorn und hinten ist die Weiterentwicklung der Jake Serie und vereint unsere ganze Erfahrung aus den Schlammfurchen und Sandgruben des Cyclocross-Weltcups. Hinzu kommen eine Shimano 105 2×11 Schaltgruppe mit hydraulischen Bremsen ebenso wie WTB Felgen und Clement Reifen. Major Jake. Erst fährst du damit Rennen und dann das ganze Jahr.

Major Jake Ausstattung

  • Rahmenmaterial: Kona Race Light Carbon
  • Laufräder: WTB i19 Asym
  • Gabel: Kona Full Carbon Flat Mount CX Race Disc 100×12 mm
  • Kurbelsatz: Shimano RS500
  • Schaltung: Shimano 105 11-fach
  • Cockpit: Kona Road Light Lenker, Kona Road Deluxe Vorbau und Kona Cork Lenkerband
  • Bremsen: Shimano 105 Flat-Mount Hydraulikbremsen
  • Reifen: Clement MXP Tubeless-ready 700x33c
  • Sattel: WTB SL8 Pro

Jake the Snake

Das Jake the Snake war lange Zeit unser Arbeitspferd: sonntags Rennen – montags Pendeln. Dieses Jahr bekommt das Jake ein brandneues Rahmenset mit Flat-Mount- und Steckachsaufnahmen sowie eine interne Zugverlegung. Das alles modernisiert Konas renntaugliches Allterrain-Bike, während Gepäckträger- und Schutzblechaufnahmen die Alltagstauglichkeit aufrechterhalten, für die das Jake so bekannt ist.

Jake the Snake Ausstattung

  • Rahmenmaterial: Kona Race Light 6061 Aluminium, konifiziert
  • Laufräder: WTB STP i19
  • Gabel: Kona Carbon Cross
  • Kurbelsatz: Shimano
  • Schaltung: Shimano Tiagra 10-fach
  • Cockpit: Kona Road Lenker und Vorbau, Kona Cork Lenkerband
  • Bremsen: Shimano Flat-Mount Hydraulikbremsen
  • Reifen: Clement MXP 700x33c
  • Sattel: WTB Volt Sport

„Cross/Roads“ mit Kerry Werner

Kona Pro-Cyclocross-Fahrer Kerry Werner weiß, dass das „Cross“ immer kommt. Seine alltäglichen Trainingsfahrten sieht er als Chance, an die Spitze zu kommen. Schau dir das Video unten und alle Fotos vom Cross/Roads Shooting hier an.

Kerry Werner zeigt die Vielseitigkeit des neuen Major Jake in Cross/Roads.

Alle Details der neuen Jakes findest du auf Konaworld.com und die technischen Details auf der Neuheitenseite.