Need for Speed…
By Lee Mcdaniel
Kenny York, like many, decided that the new year would be a great time to make a pledge to get in back in shape; however, unlike most, shape for Kenny should be expressed as “race” shape, given that he is currently packing less than 10% body fat.
Kenny is a Cat 1 racer from Lake Jackson TX and a 5 times Texas State iTT Champion from 1999-2004, holds the hour record at Alkek Velodrome located in Houston, has won 14 State Championships, has a top 10 finish at US Masters Nationals iTT Championship, and has competed at the elite level in the Vuelte de Rio de Janerio Stage Race; however, he took a hiatus from racing for the past few years, but has kept in physical shape by continuing to follow several of his other fav sports surfing, long distance running, windsurfing, triathlons, swimming, and tennis.
Knowing Kenny from years past and hearing that he wanted to make a comeback, we had to see for ourselves where he was both physically and mentally, and to learn a little more as to what drives him, how he has maintained some level of fitness, and what his plans were to gain back his competitive edge; so we sat down with him over the Christmas holiday after a short session on his TT bike to ask a few questions:
What is your professional job:
I am currently the Operations Mgr at Brazosport Center for Arts and Sciences and at the same time, VP at Total Body Performance; also, I’m finishing up my Bachelors in Operations Management at Brazosport College
Do you have any other activities or business opportunities that keep you busy:
In late 2011, I ventured with long-time friend and fellow racer, Brian Jordan, to bring an entirely new approach to athletic performance nutrition, known as ProCynergy. In early 2013, ProCynergy will introduce the first cellular, bio-energy nutrition to be utilized in the field of endurance and fitness athletics. Comprising a patented and medically proven process, ProCynergy’s introductory product, IGNITE, is entirely UCI and WADA legal. What’s so innovative about IGNITE is that it uniquely performs on the cellular level within our bodies, the actual source of our physical energy. The result is immensely improved muscular, cardiac and endurance performance. Without saying too much pre-launch, IGNITE also makes athletes noticeably physically charged and ready to go, the day following the race or training session!
Is there any other personal information that you would like to share:
I speak 3 Languages: German, Vailliser German (Dialect of German and also has French and Italian in it). I was born in Brig Switzerland. Love travelling to surf destinations ( Nicaragua, Oahu, Kauai and Cabo San Lucas). I travel to Switzerland every year with my girlfriend to see my family. I have two Great Dane’s Apollo and Valentino and two crazy cats Boris a (Russian Blue) and Nico a (F2 Savannah cat). I love sports cars and Motorcycles… mostly euro stuff. To me they are artwork you can use and touch.
Years in sport of any kind:
I started surfing at age of 4, and running competitively at the age of 12; other than that, I have been cycling/racing for 15 years
What was the catalyst for your love of cycling:
My dad used to race in Switzerland so he loved the sport of cycling. In 1986 was the so called start of my love for bike racing. My dad recorded Paris Roubaix from the TV and I briefly remembered it when it was on the television. I guess I was playing with legos while it was on. But about 6 months later I asked him if we could watch the race of guys riding in mud and over stones. From there it was history; I wore down the tape watching it over and over seeing Sean Kelly flying over the cobbles. As a kid I tried to mimic their grimacing faces as I would replay the music ( John Tesh and Yanni) and the voices of Phil Liggett. The funny thing is that even though I had a bike I didn’t ride it as much because my strong point was running so I focused on that. But that said, I would copy the music off the TV from the Tour de France and other races that aired back then and would listen to them while I ran. Sad but true, I still have the tapes and converted them to MP3 format and use them on my long rides. Moving forward, I started training in earnest in 1998, my main goal was the MS150 and to try and finish it; I finished in the top 400 the first day and then road the 2nd day with a Cat 3 friend and was so excited that I was able to draft off him. He had this beautiful Tommasini bike and he would be pulling through at 26 mph and held it for like 3 miles and then I would pull through at 26mph and hold it like 400 meters. He then let me finish 1st in Austin… although later I knew that for him this was just a good training ride. He used to call me “Pro Cat 5 Dude”.
If you had to choose a favorite pro cyclist from anytime period, who would it be and why? A favorite rider in the current professional peloton?
This is tough for me as I have many heroes, so I am going to name the one’s that motivated me. I’ll start with Mario Cipollini – for his Italian Style and charisma. He was so awesome to watch and a real class act; not to mention that he brought a lot of color to the sport. Also, Tony Rominger, the Time Trial Specialist, obviously for the sport specific inspiration; and a side note, I had the honor of meeting him at the Ride for the Roses and was able to chat with him for about 30 minutes in our native tongue. And lastly, I have to mention two more racers who I try to emulate on the bike, Fabian Cancellara for being so strong on the bike and very aggressive, and Jan Ullrich for being a monster at pushing huge gears.
That is quite a list of successful pros; with your comeback, what and how will you set your goals?
My main goal for this first year is to just to get back in racing shape, and place top ten at State ITT. I am looking at the calendar and will use periodization to determine which races or events seem most realistic to achieve good results and will train accordingly. If all goes well at the state level, I might predict higher when I see where my fitness is, and my ultimate goal or achievement would be to podium at Nationals TT as an Elite or Masters rider.
What do you see is your biggest challenge to meeting your goals, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
Time, having enough spare time to train with my busy schedule. I used to ride between 300-400 miles a week… now it’s about the quality of miles I can get in. So now I plan on more shorter intensity training rides with a few longer recovery rides thrown in for good measure.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
I was always scared to race, always nervous the night before… especially before a ITT. Rick Berg took me to Lago Vista when I was a Cat.5 and he could tell that I was very nervous/scared. He then said why? What is the worst thing that could happen to you if you lose? The answer is nothing.
Give us an inside scoop on Team BIKE BARN. Tell us what the team is like from a rider’s perspective. What would you say are some of the positives and negatives of the team?
The Bike Barn Team for me is like a home. Most of the guys that are on the team where from other teams I was on so we know each other very well. We all know our strengths and weaknesses, and we have the highest respect for everybody on the team. I really don’t know of any negative aspect of this team? When I do I’ll let them know 🙂
Final Question: Is there anyone that you’d like to thank, who might have helped you reach the level of professional cycling that you are at today?
First off my parents because I wouldn’t of had this wonderful life that I get to live if it wasn’t for them and their support. My brother Mike for selling me one of his road bikes to start training on and being my big brother. Thanks go to my friend Ruben Solis for taking me under his wing and helping me with everything regarding bike racing and time trialling, even coaching me to the hour record. I would also like to thank all the guys that I race with, more especially Kevin Kremke for being such a great Teammate and close friend. And lastly, my girlfriend Tracy for supporting me in this venture on my comeback.