Feature: Adam Kenway (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK)

Part of Cherie Pridham’s team for the last two years, Adam Kenway says 2019 (his third year with the team) is going to be fun being part of a much stronger team

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Feature: Adam Kenway (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK)

Part of Cherie Pridham’s team for two years, Adam Kenway says 2019 is going to be fun being part of a much stronger team.

Known for his Hill Climb exploits, the former British Hill Climb champion Adam Kenway is looking forward to the season start in a months’ time saying that the pressure he’ll have in 2019 is the same as in previous years as most of the pressure comes from himself anyway.

“It’s going to be fun and it should be easier to stay in position because there should be more of us there and it’s always easier when there is four or five of you in the front group than one or two.”

Stronger teams are a mixed blessing for riders in a squad. When a team only has one or two ‘hitters’, getting a ride in races is always simple for those strong riders but when the team is packed with potential winners, just getting selected for a race can be a big result. Keeping your place in the team from one year to another too can be difficult when a lot of strong riders are signed but for Kenway, he’s managed that now as he enters his third year with Cherie Pridham Racing.

Asked about that, he says “I think you have to try your best in each race you go into and go in with a clear head and follow your instructions and do the job you’ve been given.” When I asked his team boss Cherie Pridham why Adam has kept his spot in the team, she replied “Adam is so professional from the moment he steps out of the team car to the point he leaves to go home. He is one of the hardest workers and a pleasure to have in the team as he’s such a happy rider to have around you”.

In 2018, with a lot of young riders in the team, there was a lot of responsibility on Adam’s shoulders to get results. In 2019, that is no longer the case so I asked Cherie what will Adam’s role in the strengthened line-up be? “I think he will learn a lot as there are a lot of experienced guys coming into the team so he will gain from that. For me, Adam is still very much in that learning process.”

“This year, we’ll able to use Adam’s strength as a team player rather than rely on him 100% for results. So that should give him more freedom as he likes a good breakaway and he’ll also have that rotation there and the strength of the team behind him. I think it’s going to be an exciting year for Adam in the team”.

Looking back at his last season with Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK, and asked what the highlight results were, Adam replied “I was happy with the sixth at Redditch in the Tour Series because I’m not really an all out crit rider to be fair. Twelfth in Aberdeen was good for me too.”

“The weeks before that, I was in the Tour of Yorkshire where I felt good and the week before that, the Cicle Classic where I was in the day’s break and won the KoM so that was a good six or seven weeks. It’s nice when the form is good as it’s always easier in the race because you are naturally where you should be and you can think about what you need to do in the race instead of fighting to be in there.”

That rich vein of form was as good as it got for Adam however as he crashed the week after the result in Aberdeen and it wasn’t until July that Adam started to see the results rolling in again with a second in a race in the North West one of the indicators he was back in good shape. A 4th in the Out of Saddle race behind Russell Downing too was a good result.

His ride at the final Prem of the year at Ryedale too showed promise when he went chasing down the break in the latter half of the race but it wasn’t to be and there was to be no fairytale ending for Adam in the rain of Yorkshire. His next goals were the shorter, sharper and very painful hill climbs.

Wins and podiums followed in those races and when it came to the championships, he came close. “It was a good event” Adam says, “a cold day but it was good. Probably not the best ride I have ever done but not the worst either.”

“I should have gone harder from the bottom to the top but then everyone says that. I got to the top and thought I had really ruined it and I thought top 10 maybe, but on the way down, people were saying it was really close and I was thinking are you sure… and then I found out I’d done a quicker time than expected (he was third). Another podium, another national medal so the hill climb season was okay with five wins, a second and two thirds. So I’m happy enough with that.”

Adam had gone straight into the Hill Climb season from the road season and talking about the mental stresses on the rider, admits that the Hill Climb season was as stressful as the road one knowing how he was going to have to hurt himself to get the results expected of him but physically, although riders have to really hurt themselves for a short period, physically, the season is not as bad as the road season as the hours per week are less.

A week off followed the hill climb season, as did eating lots of cake LoL, and then the hours on the bike gradually increased from 16 to 18 and then to 20 hours so Adam could get his body used to pedalling for that distance again.

“Each year has become easier and each winter I seem to be progressing like I can do a 20 hour week and it seems easier and doesn’t seem to take as much out of me as it did the year before and the year before that. So I can build in more speed work and strength work within those hours where as before, if did a 14 hour week with that intensity, I’d struggle”.

“I probably do more steadier riders, easier rides. I work in a bike shop three days a week so I do two days which are hard and long and the other days steadier rides around the work so I can let the body recover”.
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New Bike
Adam is one of a few in the team to have ridden the new Vitus weapon for 2019. “I have ridden the new bike and it feels great. I did a bit of a photoshoot with the new bike and the old bike and so I was doing some filming having to jump from the old bike to the new bike and back again.”

“When I did that, it was like chalk and cheese. The old bike is good but is more of an all rounder where as the new one is a speed machine and with bolt through axels, it’s a lot stiffer, has racier geometry and also is more compliant so more comfy to ride as it seems to iron out the bumps so you are not wrestling with the bike”.

Above: Adam getting a close look at the new bike when it was revealed at the team launch in November 2018

On using disc brakes on a road racing bike, Adam explained “there isn’t as much difference as you think – some think you are going to get chucked over the handlebars but it’s not like that. You have more braking but there is a lot of feel to it; very progressive. And with the bolt through axels, it feels very stiff and stable as well”.

Adam is currently riding in shorts and short sleeved jersey in Tenerife. In the new year he went to Calpe for a week to get in some steady miles and climbs some mountains. Then, after a week at home, and an early season reliability trial which he says was a lot of fun, it was out to Tenerife for five days doing some filming with Vitus and sneaking in some climbs of Mount Teide while he was there! Bit by bit, the form is building for what looks like being quite a season for his team.

Good luck to Adam and see you racing a three or so weeks.



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