Rider Interview: It has been three months since Ed Hood spoke to New Zealand’s fast-man, Jordan Kerby, a lot of things have changed since then, including the loss of the Olympic Games. Ed caught up with Jordan to hear his plans for Tokyo… Now dreams.
* This interview was before the announcement of the cancelation of the Olympics. *
You’ve been World Pursuit Champion and a regular on the Australian national squad. But then the federation tells you that they think you’ve, ‘gone as far as you can go,’ and you’re out. That’s the end of your international track cycling career in that case? Not if your name is Jordan Kerby whose mother happens to be a New Zealander by birth.
Jordan offered his services to the ‘all black’ team; they know a good thing when they see one and signed him up without hesitation. Fast forward to the UCi World Championships on the Berlin boards, last month. Jordan was part of the New Zealand team which took home silver from the fastest team pursuit competition in history. The Aussies?
There are no medals for fourth place . . .
PEZ: You must be very satisfied about how things have turned out given your rejection by the Aussie system, Jordan?
Jordan Kerby: Yeah of course; the fact that I’m still able to compete I’m super grateful for as it’s an opportunity not many athletes get, and the fact that we are going quite well and getting on the podium now makes it even more special. I’m glad I stuck at it. I’m glad I’ve been able to show that I am capable of riding faster than a 3:52.
PEZ: Has anyone from Australia had anything to say to you after your performances ?
I’m still friendly with the riders, so I got congratulations from many of them, staff also.
PEZ: How do your rides place you in the all-time fastest ‘league table’?
Well, actually that ‘Cycling Weekly’ magazine post you shared recently on social media was incorrect in parts. Not at the top, we are in 5th with 3:47.501. However, between 7th and 8th there have actually been two times posted as NZ and AUS both did 3:48.2 at the Brisbane World Cup.
PEZ: Can you tell us what your gearing is, or is that secret?
Secret, but I’d say just about every team is riding between 115” and 125”.
PEZ: What tyres do you run?
We are on the Vittoria Pistas they go well.
PEZ: Any new tech ‘under the counter’ for Tokyo – are you a ‘tech guy’ or just ride what’s given you?
Yeah we’ve got some bits and pieces coming; everything has been shown at the World Cups as per the new rules. Same framesets and wheels but we’ll be using new components and skinsuits.
At the end of the day you have to ride what’s given to you in the national program.
So whether you are a tech guy or not you ride what you have to ride.
PEZ: You must do a lot of gym work to get those monster gears rolling off the line?
Yeah we are in the gym a couple of times per week. Nothing out of control though, definitely less of a gym emphasis compared to when I was in Australia.
PEZ: Can you tell us a little about your training please?
Essentially you have to train all concepts, endurance, power, strength, technique. Our training focuses a lot on making us as robust as possible so that we can cope with a high training load when we get to the pointy end. We focus on the big things.
PEZ: GB have slipped back. . .
Yeah not sure what’s going on there? It’s Olympic year and they always lift, see what happens I guess. It’s out of my control.
PEZ: But the Danes are rampant. . .
Not surprised about this one, they are physical animals, and have been working with Dan Bingham who is a speed guru.
PEZ: You had a good World Cup campaign coming in to Berlin – that must have boosted your confidence?
We went from strength to strength throughout the World Cup season. Getting faster at each meet we did. We were trialling different riders and different strategies so we knew what would be the fastest options for the Worlds. We were confident we would be in the mix at Worlds, but there’s no telling what others might do.
PEZ: Are you based in New Zealand now – what’s the experience like?
I’m about 50/50 between Cambridge New Zealand and Brisbane Australia. The closer we get to the Olympics the more time I spend in NZ. It’s fantastic, I’m well looked after, we base out of a beautiful part of the world and I get to work with great people. What more could you want?
PEZ: How big is cycling in NZ, did the Media get behind the team’s performances in Berlin?
‘Big’ is a hard word to quantify. But the squad does get a good mention in the media which is nice!
PEZ: Is the Corona Virus scare affecting you and the team in any way?
The world has gone mad, in Australia you can’t buy toilet paper because people are hoarding it… Why would you even need excess toilet paper for corona virus? Bizarre. Within our team everyone is just being a bit more cautious with hygiene and dependant on how the virus spreads we might need to change some pre-Olympic plans. We’ll see how we go, hopefully the games still go ahead.
PEZ: What’s on the agenda between now and Tokyo?
Back in Brisbane for a month, then back to NZ to get back into the swing of things.
The Olympic team will head to Europe in May; Belgium for a few kermises, then onto Italy and finally Vienna before departing for Tokyo!
# Thanks to Jordan for the interview, of course much has changed since then… No Olympic Games in Tokyo this year. Also thanks to Guy Swarbrick for his great photo of the team pursuit. #