Kenneth Lundgren

NJ cyclocross coach, Ken at whirly 2014

NJ cyclocross coach, Ken at whirly 2014

Kenneth Lundgren is the CEO and head coach of Elite Endurance Training Systems, a coaching company that provides personalized training programs for endurance athletes. In the last calendar year, Elite Endurance athletes won 140+ races in all disciplines, 1 National Champion, 16 State Champions in road, MTB, and cyclo-cross, and 1 bronze medal at Nationals.

Ken is the region’s fastest and most decorated time trialist, winning 50+ TTs in his career, winning the TT Cup in 3 consecutive seasons, setting 13 course records along the way. In his final season racing in 2014, Ken won every Pro/1/2 TT he entered and won 7 Cat-1 MTB races. Today he enjoys retirement and is a full-time coach for Elite Endurance Training Systems.

Height: 6’0”

Weight: “167 lbs.”

Race Weight: “152 lbs.”

Favorite Movies:Michael Clayton, Wall-E, Million Dollar Baby, Half Helson, Moneyball, Inception, The Conversation, Chinatown, Fargo, Midnight Run, The Big Lebowski, Unforgiven, Pulp Fiction, The French Connection, The Godfather, Magnolia, The Road to Perdition, The Bourne Supremacy, The Fugitive, The Last Detail, absolute vintage Jack Nicholson.”

Hobbies and Interests: “Cycling, Writing, Film, Tennis, Fishing. Boxing – boxing, to me, is the purest form of sport.”

Childhood Heroes: “My grandfather. He fought in WWII and, according to my mother, came home a changed man, never talked about any of it. He was a champion speed skater, often competing up in Lake Placid. When he died, I was given a plaque of all his medals and such, and in the middle of the plaque was a huge Nazi knife that he had brought home from the war… This ugly knife is a loud reminder of what he did back in the prime of his life… He was a great man… This plaque hangs in my office, will forever be on display, for my kids, and for the generation after that…”

Musical Tastes: “Nine Inch Nails, Moby, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead. I like electronic, engineered, synthesized music. Having said that, I LOVE the Beastie Boys! Admittedly obsessed with Nine Inch Nails, an absolute original sound – Trent Reznor’s work is groundbreaking, immensely intriguing, speaks to my soul…”

Favorite TV Shows: “I don’t watch TV, just some tennis and boxing – and cycling! TV without sports is not interesting.”

Favorite Meal: “A fat steak with onion rings. Or a bangin’ omelette with mozzarella, bacon, tomato – can’t beat that.”

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: “No cereal. Paleo Diet!”

Favorite Pre-Race Meal: “I do steer clear of oatmeal, but for big races, I’ll eat Trader Joe’s organic oatmeal, dice a banana, sprinkle some blueberries, fill with almond milk, drizzle some cinnamon on there. Hmmm, yum.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Dublin Mudslide from Ben & Jerry’s.”

Childhood Dream: “To be a world-famous writer. Stephen King was my idol… I was also a little boxing nutty when I was young, watching all the fights, getting all the magazines… but boxing wasn’t for me! Just a dream. But… RESPECT.”

First Car: “1988 white Ford Mustang. My mom helped me pay for it and I still owe her! Great little car, never broke down.”

First Job: “Golf ball picker-upper at ritzy driving range. I drove around in that caged cart and sucked up all the golf balls out in the fairway – as the golfers most likely aimed at me! One day the owner told me to shave my mohawk. So I quit.”

Favorite Vacation Spot: “My most memorable vacation was up to Kennebunkport, Maine, and also visited Stephen King’s home in Bangor, Maine. Maine is a favorite place, for sure…”

Pre-Race Feeling: “If the training went right and I feel good, I just want to get it on – I have prepared so hard for this, and I can’t wait to show you – and myself. I’m nervous – and I thrive on it. Fear, in a way, forces us to summon our best.”

Early Racing Memory: “Attacking relentlessly in my very first race. Prospect Park, Cat-5s, riding like an all-around maniac, attacking attacking attacking, whittling the race down to 15 guys. Then boldly lead sprint out and took 15th!”

Funny Racing Memory: “MTB race. Early on. I had a shit start. Was maybe in last place. Came up to techy section in the singletrack, HUGE bottleneck ahead, riders stopped in huge pack. I saw this, unclipped at speed, ran with my bike, around everyone. ‘MEEP MEEP.’ And I was gone. I won that day.”

Greatest Racing Moment: “Have had a memorable career… but we also think back to the beginning… Winning Bear Mountain in the 4s is a favorite day – in all of life. It was pissing rain all day, cold, gray, miserable. I had based my training around this race, and I felt great, loving every moment, wanting it to rain harder. My coach told me to wait for the sprint. I’m not a sprinter, but I felt stupid strong and actually listened. I ended up in a 3-man break and he was right – I easily won the sprint for my ‘biggest’ victory. I felt like the true king of the world, winning up on that hilly, epic course.”

Most Painful Moment in Life: “My mother passed away in 2013, and I think about her every day.”

Worst Injury from Racing: “I’m solo off the front all race at Cherry Blossom. I’m caught in LAST TURN of LAST LAP, narrow spot, promptly pushed off road by a few riders. I went down HARD. Hand all bloodied, knuckle ripped to the bone. ER stay, got it all cleaned and stitched up. Looking back at it, I dunno how I sat through that one – you could see my bones.”

Closest Racing Friends: “I have cultivated arguably my closest and most important relationships from cycling… Mike Gisler, Rob Woudenberg, Ben Williams are the top-3 that come to mind. I cherish all my friends I’ve met in cycling; I very much consider the cycling community my family.”

Funniest Racer: “James Pearl of MTBNJ. Very self-deprecating, but also a sharp humor, very intelligent. I laugh a lot when I hang with him.”

Favorite Race: “Favorite? Park Ridge, although it’s not a race for me. I just love the atmosphere, the crowd, the energy, the pain of that stupid hill, over and over and over again. In 2006, I placed in the Pro race and felt like I really conquered something. If I had to pick again, I’d say Somerset Circuit TT – if you are a TT addict, Somerset is meth – if I had 5 best rides in life, 3 of them were on this course. I can summon something special here; the sensation is unbelievable…”

Embarrassing Racing Memory: “Not a race, but a stupid ride I did with Mark Alden of Blue Ribbon a few years ago. In the heart of summer, he took me out on this titanic, 80+ mile hilly ride, up Gate Hill, Perkins, etc. Well, it was sweltering hot and I rode very hard and ended up falling apart – BADLY. Didn’t even make it up Perkins! On the way home, I couldn’t even hold Mark’s wheel at 16-17 mph – and ended up passing out on some old lady’s front lawn. True story! Thanks for that glass of water, lady! I called a friend and had to get driven home – was dead asleep in the car. The Bonk of all Bonks.”

Toughest Competitors: “All of ‘em.”

Favorite Athletes to Watch: “The guys who make it look easy: tennis champions Pete Sampras, Roger Federer instantly come to mind. So quick, so underrated. Go to the Open, watch one of them hit an ace – it’s a sonic boom resonating from the stadium. Very impressive, the speeds at which they play. TV, as with all pro sports, does not do these guys justice…”

Qualities You Most Admire in People: “Desperate determination. Deep loyalty – absolute loyalty is very, very rare… When someone is quietly, willingly humble. Humility to me is maybe our greatest response… When someone can act righteous and courageous when no one is looking, when no one will ever know…”

What You Love Most About Riding Your Bicycle: “The absolute freedom of the road, of the woods, how you can start out with a shit day and during the ride… life begins to transform. That Rider’s High, it’s something very hard to describe, and typically the best things are… Years ago, I went through a severely dark time, and cycling gave me a new life – and I will forever link the bike with that, giving me something new and beautiful…

“Someone once told me that when you drive, you see the world too quickly. And when you walk, you don’t see enough. But when you see the world by bicycle, it’s the way it should be seen. Although I am now an experienced MTBer, there is nothing quite like doing a long ride over old country roads with good friends, important friends, the bike purring perfectly underneath you, the body in sync, everything in tune – the weather, the form, the camaradie – not a better way to spend any day of your life. To me, days like this are living and operating on the highest level.”