Trek Store Cincinnati Cycling Team: Jon Wolery, The GM Speaks

Trek Bicycle Store of Cincinnati logoJacob Stallings, owner of the Trek Bicycle Stores of Cincinnati, decided to start a cycling team in 2009 to “support riders who race for the pure love of cycling sports.”  5 years later, Trek Store Cincinnati Cycling Team is still going strong.  They are a diverse team, featuring racers in mountain, road & cyclocross events throughout the region.

Jon Wolery is the general manager of the team and I gave him the spotlight to tell us about the team and give us insight into his own cycling motivations and training.

Jon, tell us a little bit about you – name, age, city, relationship to the team, cycling history, proud moments, cycling goals for 2014.

My name is Jon Wolery, I am 31 years old and reside in a little village called Mariemont inside Cincinnati, Ohio. My day job is as the Senior Design lead for The United States Playing Card Company located in Erlanger, Kentucky. (Side note, how cool is it that I get to work on a brand called Bicycle?) How I fit into the Trek Store Cincinnati Cycling Team is as its General Manager. That title can mean a lot of things to a lot of different teams, but for our group it basically makes me the oversight of everything to do with the team. From creating recruiting packets for prospective riders, to seeking out and building sponsor proposals to potential team sponsors, down to the finite details of rounding up everyones orders for a brand new kit as I have been doing this week. If you can think of any job that needs to be done so a bike racer can just focus on racing their bike and having fun, it has probably crossed my desk at some point.

Jon Wolery, general manager of Trek Store Cincinnati Cycling Team

Jon Wolery, general manager of Trek Store Cincinnati Cycling Team, competes in a cyclocross race in 2013.
Photo from Facebook.

My cycling history is fairly short in comparison to most I would imagine. I had bikes as a kid, jumping curbs, doing skids, the normal kid stuff but during my teenage years I took a detour and spent a lot of time working on racecars and traveling the country with various forms of racing. It wasn’t until the year after I graduated college that I got my first “real” road bike; a 2007 Trek 1000 in blaze orange. It was a great deal, as anyone who knows me can vouch that a bright orange bike does not suit my laid back personality, but there it was, sitting in the Trek Store Cincinnati showroom floor waiting for me to buy it. (foreshadowing?) haha.

My early proud moments were just riding around and renewing that feeling of what it felt like to reconnect with your neighborhood and your body. It sounds corny but I initially just wanted to go explore and thought that racing was too much for me to take in.

Jon Wolery navigates the obstacles of a cyclocross race.

Jon Wolery navigates some hay bales during a cyclocross race. I prefer to sit on my bike.  Maybe that’s why I haven’t done any CX – although it does sound fun. 🙂

In 2010 I discovered cyclocross by accident while sifting through a used parts bin at a local shop looking for a replacement deraileur. I noticed that there was only one employee in the shop and asked where everyone was and the sales person said “at Harbin Park for the cyclocross races”. This led to further inquiry on my part and after heading home, my wife and I got to Harbin just in time to see Katie Compton stomp the women’s field and Jeremy Powers win the men’s race.

At that point I was in, I just needed the bike. I began racing in 2012 by doing road racing, time trialing and eventually finishing the season doing the OVCX cross calendar and consistently getting crushed but loving every minute of the competition, the environment and the style of racing.

This year I raced more TT’s during the summer with my primary focus being put on the CX season, consistently racing top 10 in the OVCX races and picking up my first win at the Cap City Smith Farms CX race only to cut my season short with a nagging injury.

My goals for 2014 are a bit different than in years past. I recently purchased a mountain bike for my wife and will be getting myself one shortly and we plan on racing in as many regional events and weekly MTB TT events as possible. She started racing ‘cross this fall and absolutely fell in love with it, especially the races that were more technical and MTB-esque, so I would imagine she will take to the MTB like a duck to water. Not so sure about myself but this year should be a good learning year and hopefully I can come into the 2014 OVCX season fresh, ready to compete in earnest for the points championship.

Team Photo of the Trek Store Cincinnati Cycling Team

Team Photo of the Trek Store Cincinnati Cycling Team

How would you describe the Trek Store Cincinnati Cycling Team?  What kind of riders do you look for?  Are you a competitive bunch?

Our team is a total melting pot if you were to compare it to other local teams. We have both young and old riders and within the team we cover absolutely every form of bike racing. Road, TT, BMX, Downhill, XC, Enduro, CX, etc. We love to compete but we are never going to be the team that lives and breathes watts per kilogram or fusses over TrainingPeaks. Of course we all love the technology, its interwoven into the sport but we all have full-time jobs and are professionals at everything BUT riding bikes so we always take that into consideration. You will see us compete hard on race day but after the race we will be there with an adult beverage in one hand and a cowbell in the other cheering on our teammates and other racers. We don’t have any particular “mission statement” other than to say that we love riding bikes, racing bikes and talking about bikes with other bike and non-bike people. We are always interacting with each other on our Facebook group, scheduling rides, nights out on the town for drinks or trail days together, and that to me, is what a local cycling team is all about – community, friendship and camaraderie. The riders we recruit need to share in that mindset (and live in or around Cincinnati) but other than that, a few emails back and forth with a prospective team member gives me more than enough info to tell if they will be a good fit for our brand and our group of racers.

Katie Oswald tackles the trails for Trek Store Cincinnati Cycling Team.

Katie Oswald tackles the trails for Trek Store Cincinnati Cycling Team.

How much of the team is focused on mountain biking?  What mountain bike events do you expect to be big for the team in 2014?

Currently, we have 20 riders racing mountain bikes and saying which events will be big for 2014 depends on which team member you ask. We should have fairly strong representation at the Tri-State 6 hour series, OMBC races, NUE races and all of the local Cincinnati Wednesday night TT nights. This gives me the opportunity to talk about our new event that the team and shop are putting on. Landen Laps MTB Time Trial Series at the Landen-Deerfield trails just north of Cincinnati. They will be taking place every Wednesday from April 16, to May 21. Hopefully the weather holds out for us and we get some good events in. The timing of this event will allow Cincinnati MTB racers a chance to race every Wednesday for 18 straight weeks starting at Landen, then moving to England-Idlewild, then onto Harbin Park. I guess if you are really frisky you could then transition straight into the Kings CXTT’s at Kingswoods Golf Course and make it 20+ weeks in a row!

Is there anyone on the team that we should look for on the mtb podiums this summer?

For our team, our perennial all-star is Brent Mayer. He is consistently up there in results and on the podium for his age bracket week in and week out. We also picked up newlyweds Aaron and Katie Oswald late last year just before CX season and they are also consistently bringing home hardware as well. But its bike racing, you never really know what is going to happen with illness, bad luck, bad legs, etc.

Brent Mayer races the Tri State 6 Hours Race Series at Hueston Woods State Park in 2013.

Brent Mayer races the Tri State 6 Hours Race Series at Hueston Woods State Park in 2013.
Photo from Facebook.

Do you guys train together or just get together on race day?

Our team training is semi-structured. We do not have mandatory training rides as some teams do but we do hold 3 rides that are open to the general public each week, all of which start from the 2 Trek Bicycle Store’s in Cincinnati. We have a 6pm Tuesday night road ride that begins in Blue Ash and breaks up into 2 or 3 groups depending on pace. This year we will be starting a Thursday night Mountain bike ride in addition to the Thursday night road ride that departs from the West Chester shop. Finally, we do a Sunday morning ride that starts at 8am from the Blue Ash shop for those riders looking to get some deeper mileage in on the weekends. All rides are led by team members and go through some really great landscapes and elevation. We are truly lucky to have the topography that we have here in the tri-state.

Christopher Averett races in the Tri State 6 Hours Race Series at East Fork State Park

Christopher Averett races in the Tri State 6 Hours Race Series at East Fork State Park.
Photo from Facebook.

What is your personal training schedule like during the season?

In terms of training, I am honestly the absolute last person to talk to when discussing any sort of “schedule” because I have had too many things in my life that have been ruined in the past by overdoing it.  It has made me hesitant to spend a bunch of time each week on the bike, forgo date nights with my wife, time with my friends and so forth. I love riding my bike, but I have no desire to do it professionally any time soon.

The basics for me are fairly simple: Each week contains at least 2 strength workouts, 1 hard interval workout and at least 2 longer rides of 2+ hours. Sprinkle in a couple low key rides and call them “recovery days” and take one week a month and chill out altogether and you have a pretty good foundation. Since my wife Amanda and I will be doing both mountain, cyclocross and trail running events this year, sometimes a few of those workouts will be changed to “run” instead of “ride”. That is honestly about as complicated as I can get. The funny part about this approach is that I have folders and folders of strength workouts, stretches, endurance workouts, threshold, v02 max, etc etc etc.

What role does Trek Store Cincinnati play in your success as a team?

The Trek Bicycle Store of Cincinnati is essential to our success as a team. We are a team composed of local riders with big ambitions to do amazing things on their bikes and that reflects what the shop is all about. Both Cincinnati Trek Store’s take a lot of flack because everyone assumes that they are corporately-owned and operated and that is just not the case. The shops are owned by Jacob Stallings, who just happened to be lucky enough to get the chance to take over ownership of the West Chester shop and more recently opened a second location in Blue Ash. The team and shop are intertwined in everything they do, so as goes the shop, so goes the team and vice versa. Our team members are given discounts at both shops, free general labor and welcomed into both shops on a first name basis upon arrival. In turn, the team can put on events like Landen Laps, recruit volunteers for other sponsored events throughout the year and consistently field multiple team members at every local race and that never hurts your marketing plan.

Thanks for reading about Trek Store Cincinnati Cycling Team.  You can learn more about the team at http://tsccyclingteam.com.  You can also learn more about the Trek Bicycle Stores of Cincinnati at http://trekstorecincinnati.com.

If you enjoyed reading this Q&A, then please consider subscribing to Quickdirt by providing your email in the right column.  This will just send you an email notification when additional articles are posted.  You can also join the Quickdirt conversation by checking us out on Facebook and Twitter.  Leave a comment and let me know what kind of information you would like to read about on Quickdirt.  Your wish is my command – maybe.

If you have something you need to buy on Amazon, then click here to buy it and help support this blog.

Thanks,

James