Kiel Reijnen swaps road for gravel

Kiel Reijnen swaps road for gravel

13.09.2021: At the close of the 2021 road racing season, the peloton will be missing one great mane of hair, that of Bainbridge Island’s Kiel Reijnen. The 35-year-old will race some of the upcoming one-day races in France and Belgium before retiring his Trek Madone r

At the close of the 2021 road racing season, the peloton will be missing one great mane of hair, that of Bainbridge Island’s Kiel Reijnen. The 35-year-old will race some of the upcoming one-day races in France and Belgium before retiring his Trek Madone race bike and swapping it for the Trek Checkpoint gravel bike.



Having already dipped his toe into off-road racing with events such as UNBOUND Gravel, Reijnen will focus full-time on racing a gravel program. Of course, he hopes to have more luck than he did in the 2021 edition where he had to run shoeless for 18 miles.



Reijnen has raced on USA-registered teams throughout his pro career. He started with continental team Jelly Belly, then moved up to pro-continental with Team Type 1 followed by UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. In 2016, we welcomed Reijnen into the Trek-Segafredo family where he dutifully rode in support of others, be it in a high-speed sprint lead-outs or in the essential role of a domestique, without whom even the best riders cannot win.



We will miss Kiel’s unflinching positivity and loyalty to the Team. A few remaining races are left on Reijnen’s calendar, and he is motivated to end his career where it all began.



Kiel Riejnen: “It will be a nice way to finish things out because Belgium is the heart of cycling. It's also where it all started [for me] as a young kid going over to Belgium to get my feet wet. That's how you sort of decide whether or not this is what you want to do.



And I think finishing there, sort of completes the circle. I've been a part of that Classics team now for quite a few years, half a decade, and it feels right to finish things out with those guys at those races. I think the race that will always stand out in my mind will be Flanders.



“I think that the big reason that I continued to do the job that I was doing is because I was valued for doing it. Trek continued to hire me, they continued to tell me that my job mattered, and then the individuals I was working for were guys that I believed in and valued me as a person. If they had taken me less seriously or if it had been more of a working relationship, I may not have lasted in that role as long as I did.



“Just that mentality of going into the race, into that competitive arena together and achieving something that you wouldn't be able to achieve by yourself. That's what I'll miss most. And I think through those really, really hard, difficult experiences you forge relationships that take years, if they ever happen in normal life.



“I am really glad my career took the trajectory that it did because it allowed me to have a host of different experiences instead of one role for my whole career. And I did relish certain things about being in a leadership role. There's a part of me that's excited about gravel racing because I'll get to push myself for results again because it's been a while.



And I think especially at my age it might be the kick in the butt you need to try and step up another level or train just a little bit harder, give a little bit more of yourself and make that extra sacrifice.



“I'm not here to change gravel or to put my stamp on it. I just want to be enthusiastic about it and make other people enthusiastic about it. Getting more people on bikes, at the end of the day, is always a positive, and that's why I've always been pro e-bikes and pro gravel bikes. I'm pro any version of bikes because the more people that get out and experience it, the better.”




Photo ©Getty Sport

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13.09.2021 / MaP

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