Posted by Born North America Admin on
Jeff Werner has been a household name in Vancouver Masters racing this year. His Spring Series run in Vancouver was nothing short of epic. His run in the Tour of Washington equally so, he only 'lost' the Tour de Bloom to his teammate's grand-day-out style breakaway on the final stage. Jeff's not just some name that popped up this year in Vancouver though, he's been racing since he was a junior (with a bit of time off for school) and is known for making the best saddle bags around.
We asked Jeff a few questions about his Tour of Washington, hoping to get inside the head of a local Champion as he went through his stage race run.
So we know that you came off a particularly strong Spring Series campaign this year that left you undefeated in Vancouver Masters racing from March until... early May? Is there something different you did this winter in preparation?
I trained even fewer hours than usual this winter. The difference this time was quality over quantity: I dropped LSD (skipped most long slow distance rides) and instead spent one million dollars on a smart trainer and a couple hours a week hitting myself over the head with Zwift. I would pedal as hard as I could for as long as I could hang with the breakaway, then collapse in a puddle of my own tears (not a metaphor).
How motivating was it knowing that 2019 would be the inaugural year to combine Washington's three great stage races (Tour of Walla Walla, Tour de Bloom and the Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race) into one spring season long series?
The Tour of Washington wasn't a big motivator at first. I didn't know if I was fit—I certainly wasn't against a swarms of low-res internet avatars. When I gained the lead points in the first race of the Tour then funny thing I was a lot more interested in it.
One of our favourite races at BORN North America, Tour de Bloom saw you leading the race into the last stage of racing, with your teammate David Gerth taking the race by the reins into the wind on the hard hilly Waterville Road Race. Was this the teams plan? How stoked were you to see Dave take the GC in such style?
The morning of the last stage of Bloom Dave [Gerth] said he wanted to go early and win the stage. I figured it was nice knowing him and we'd toss a gel when we passed his huddled shell in the ditch. Then his breakaway stayed away and he won the overall and so yeah let the public record show it was definitely part of the unified and confident team strategy we planned all along.
Is there another highlight of TdB that stands out as special for you and the team? (leaving out the rumours we've heard from the beer garden and the bar post-criterium ;) )
The best thing about the TdB was seeing the huge and competitive Category 4 and beginner fields—when those are healthy it bodes well for the future.
Heading into Enumclaw as a bit of a marked man (Jeff won the overall Masters GC in 2018 and came into Enumclaw leading the Tour of Washington Series) were you feeling the pressure to perform?
When you start winning races you gain a lot of respect for the real winners that carry the pressure of expectations for years. Knowing this was just a brief foray into that realm helped me appreciate the small wins in my pocket rather than dwell on the inevitable losses.
How satisfying is it to know that in the Masters 40+ field, your TT time would have put you in 8th place with the Elite Men's field (beating many, many, full time cyclists)?
I never liked TTs as a junior and espoir (under 23 years old) and I think it's partly (mostly) because younger brains and bodies just don't know each other well enough. It's the best thing about getting older: the two of you are finally getting in sync, which seems to be a big part of time trials. That and get your huge head down lower.
The most important question about Enumclaw: Were you able to sample some pie from the Pie Goddess?
I had two pieces this year but ate a whole pie last year so it's not something I care to talk about.
How satisfying is it to secure the overall series?
Overall series are less icing on a cake than like, snagging the last nacho on a plate: it's great to scrape up but by that point most people have already gone home.
What's the next move for your season? We know that Canadian Masters National Championships are coming up, how do you feel about your chances on the gruelling Metchosin Valley course?
Fifth time's the charm for Metchosin? And by charm I mean not get dropped. Otherwise I get to claim genetic incompatibility and never race it again.
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