Kerry Werner, professional cyclocross racer and positive role model for cyclists everywhere, is now a member of the PNW Components Squad and we couldn't be more excited to have him join the team! Kerry takes his humble and fun-loving attitude across the country to race in countless events and documents it all as he goes. Check out Kerry's social media (Instagram, YouTube, Twitter) for updates and vlogs of his progress.
Read on to learn more about Kerry and his history, and future, with bikes.
Photos 1,2,& 3 by Luke Batton. Photos 4,5,& 6 by Bruce Buckley.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Adventurous, hospitable, dedicated.
Can you give us a brief introduction of who you are and what’s lead you on the path to where you are today with your riding?
I started mountain biking when I was 15 in the local Mid-Atlantic Super Series. I grew up in Pennsylvania and had no idea about bikes, other than every few birthdays we would get one from Walmart and I would inevitably destroy it. I got into MTB riding through a friend (borrowing his parents bike), which lead to me getting my own and participating in more races. One thing lead to another and I found myself over seas for the 2008 World Championships MTB Race as a junior. I got crushed by everyone and was pulled 3 laps down. That lit a fire inside of me that continues to burn today.
When did you start riding bikes? Do you remember your first ride?
I was 15. My friend and I took his parents Trek 800’s or whatever (fully rigid MTB, file tread touring tires, and cantilever brakes) to one of the most technical places that I have ridden to date: French Creek State Park. It was a 30 minute bike ride to the park so we would ride there, try to finish a trail, which at first we couldn’t, then go home. Eventually, by pushing each other, we started to figure it out but those first few rides were a struggle. It felt like looking at the “Carl’s Dinner” section of Erzberg Hard Enduro and trying to ride through it.
Has biking helped you in other areas of your life?
Definitely. I have experienced a lot of different cultures and met a lot of different people. All of those experiences have culminated in my open minded, tolerant, and curious attitude.
What are some of your goals for biking?
I have big goals to be Cyclocross Nationals Champion, specifically. But ultimately I want to give my all and look back when I am fat and out of shape and have zero regrets. However, more importantly I would love to be able to make an impact on the future of the sport. Right now I am not involved with trail work or giving back to local communities (other than attending group rides and that kind of thing). But I hope that by being myself and portraying the right attitude it will allow younger kids to look up to me and think that they can achieve similar or bigger things for themselves.
What are some of your life goals?
Ha! I haven’t thought too much past next month! My wife and I will likely have a family one day so being a good dad and husband is a big goal of mine.
Is racing your full-time job? If so, what’s that like in terms of the highs, lows and difficulties?
It is. I love it. The ups are that I am doing what I love. Sure training is hard and stressful sometimes but that’s what is so attractive about it to me. I like that it isn’t easy and there is always something to work on. Perfection is unachievable but that doesn’t mean we can’t try.
The downs are that this lifestyle isn’t understood by everyone and sometimes sacrifices have to be made. For instance, traveling away from family members, or saying no to hanging with friends because of big training days or races. I have missed a few weddings, which is saddening but luckily a lot of my friends and family understand.
What’s your favorite thing about riding bikes?
The freedom. I often joke that I can’t wait to be a master blaster because I will likely drop the training script and succumb to my own adventurous routes. Riding how I feel for as long as I feel. I love the places two wheels can take you whether it is a sick mountain top, an incredible trail, bike packing, or touring, I relish in all of it as much as I can.
What’s your least favorite thing about riding bikes?
Maintenance! I like to keep my bikes clean and check over them often so that I can avoid untimely mechanicals and make my parts last longer. However, sometimes all the little things add up and bike maintenance can be a drag.
What do you have planned for the near future in terms of riding and racing?
BCBR (BC Bike Race) is coming up in July. I am really looking forward to that. Emily and I did it last year as part of our Honeymoon and fell in love with the PNW trails. After that I am hosting a cyclocross clinic in August, all the while sharpening the ax for the start of cyclocross season, which kicks off the first weekend in September.
Is there anyone that’s had a major impact on your riding career that you’d like to give a shout out to?
Too many people. My parents and Grandparents had supported me as a junior and I wouldn’t have progressed in the sport without their support. Older friends who saw potential in me at a young age and helped foot the bill for some racing expenses. Lees McRae College for allowing me to pursue my cycling endeavors while still getting a degree. My wife and her family for taking me seriously and believing in my dreams as much as I do. And finally all the sponsors I have worked with over the years. Some have changed, some I have been with since the beginning and I thank them all for the strong foothold to keep pushing forward.
We will be working with Kerry on a video project in the near future, so be sure to keep an eye out for that on our social media and blog!