Follow along as we meet up with cross boss and Kona adventure team member Kerry Werner. FInd out why he’s a sucker for pain, pancakes and two wheeled adventures.
MK: What did cycling mean to you as a kid?
Kerry: Mostly a challenge. The first time I went mountain biking, my friend and I got owned by the trail. Our equipment wasn’t the best, which, in hindsight, I am really happy about. Between being on equipment that wasn’t up to the task and the gnarly trails, the learning curve was steep and that is what hooked me. I wanted to figure it out.
MK: What do you remember most about your first cross race?
Kerry: How much it hurt. I had been racing mountain bikes on the national and world level by the time I did my first cross race. Holy shit was I in pain! I don’t know if I went out too hard, or just wasn’t used to the sustained effort of +95%, but man it hurt.
MK: What is it about cyclocross that makes you keep coming back for more?
Kerry: The racing is so fun. Unlike mountain bike racing, you are always with someone. Whether it is fighting for the top step on the podium or the top 15, there is always a race to be had. The course is always changing, especially in the mud. There is a decent bit of tactics going into play as well – which line is best, which line could be better, hop or run, ride or run? Every decision has an impact on the outcome of the race.
MK: What’s your meal plan like while training? Any secret recipes that help fuel your engine?
Kerry: There is no eating during the race, so I try to eat three hours prior. My go-to is white rice with honey and peanut butter. I always try to have pancakes the morning before a race. Usually, our schedule is as follows: wake up, eat breakfast (pancakes!), either go for a morning spin or go do some course laps around 11am, eat a pre-race meal at 12pm, then usually race between 3-4pm.
MK: What’s been your highest of highs while racing?
Kerry: Winning is always a real treat. This past year I managed my first UCI C1 win, which I was over the moon about. But coming over to Europe and having a good result, which sometimes means top 30, is always really rewarding. The best race for me is when I feel like I emptied the tank, rode really clean, felt comfortable on the bike (handling wise), and managed to exceed or meet my expectations.
MK: Is there any more mountain biking or even adventure racing in your future?
Kerry: I just signed up for the Pisgah MTB Stage race and The Trans-Sylvania Epic MTB race in April and May. I’ve done both of these events before and really enjoy the way they are run, and the trails they are run on. I am hoping to get back to the BC Bike Race this year, so if you know anyone with an entry that can’t use it give me a shout!
MK: What bikes do you have in your stable?
I have the Hei Hei DL race and a few Super Jakes for the CX season. However, I am hoping to add one of those fancy new Process 153's ASAP!
MK: Cross allows you to travel a lot. Is there a country that has captured your heart for cycling and food?
Kerry: Unfortunately, we are always in Belgium at a terrible time of year, the winter. It is always grey, damp, and obviously cold. I have never been during the summer, but I hear it’s nice. There are an endless number of roads and small paths in Belgium, but I never get to explore too much due to the strenuous racing schedule. I am in Malaga, Spain right now, and getting to put big miles in. It’s a real treat. The weather is warm, the people are nice, and the terrain in beautiful. Honestly, though, being away from home and exploring abroad makes me miss the areas I frequent in normal training. It inspires me to do different rides and adventures. Two years ago, my wife and I bikepacked the blue ridge parkway (north to south), which was inspired by my time over here, and brainstorming cool things I wanted to do when I got back after CX season. There are too many places that are cool and too many places I haven’t been.
MK: What’s your guilty gas station food of choice when on the bike?
Kerry: Any junk food! I love putting big miles in so I can nom down on whatever is on the candy shelf at the gas station. My go-to is a coke and a snickers or M&M’s, but only after I have run out of Clif product.
MK: You’re in southern Spain right now. What’s on the menu?
Kerry: We’ve had tapas, paella and drank some wine. Also, papas fritas are the bomb here.
MK: What’s your secret to keeping the stoke high while racing for Kona, training, working with social media, vlogging, and everything else going on in your life?
Kerry: It’s not hard. Especially, during these longer days in the saddle. There is plenty of time for reflection, and one thing I have been coming back to lately, especially being here in Spain, is realizing just how lucky I am and we are. I am surrounded by a good group of friends and family that all support me. Great sponsors that produce really great products. I get to spend time racing, which is sometimes frustrating and other times extremely rewarding. However, the majority of my time is spent training so I can be fast at the races. Thinking about riding my bike in Spain as my “job” is pretty humbling. I can appreciate the fact that I am fortunate to have this opportunity. I worked hard to get here, though, and continue too. Consequently, I think that makes me appreciate it all the same and keeps the wheels turning. If I didn’t earn my current lifestyle and fell into it, it would be hard to find continued motivation. But because I work hard, and because I do all the training, the content generation, and have fun with it, it is easy to try and stretch this thing out for as long as I can.
MK: What does 2019 have in store for you?
Kerry: I want to stay home more. I have been traveling too much, especially through the summer. My wife and I got married last June, and we did the BC Bike Race as part of our honeymoon. I got into a bunch of racing and adventure trips with the Kona Adventure team. It was all a blast, but like I said before, being away from home makes me miss the adventures I could be having in my area. I have some cool projects in mind. Also, my KTM needs the cobwebs dusted off it and I am crossing my fingers for one of those fancy Kona Process CR 153’s – that would be a game changer...
Check out our recipe for Kerry’s favorite pre-race meal, oatmeal banana pancakes!