I first met "Paddy", as he is called, at Trans Iowa in '05. Actually, I first heard of him when I saw his name on the roster and thought, "Why would a guy drive all the way from Canada to do this first time race?" So, I was intrigued right at the start. Then, Mike Curiak comes up to me at the Algona checkpoint last year and said something to me about a crazy man running a 44 X 16 singlespeed and did I know him. Add to that the fact that he was one of the nine finishers out of 51 at last years Trans Iowa, and I just had to get this guy interviewed. Well, the time is right, as they say, so without further adieu, lets dive in, shall we?
G-Ted: I know you've been in competitive skiing events along with endurance biking. How did you get into all of this? Give us some backround here!
Paddy: I've been racing bikes, ( XC, CX, a bit of road) for about 8 or 9 years. (Started in Sport, moved up to Expert/Comp and Elite when I was racing gears). Been into bikes since I could ride 'em. I'm 29 now, almost 30, dammit. The last 4 or 5 years I've been getting more and more into the longer endurance stuff, point to point enduros, 12/24 hour races, that kind of silliness. The first "endurance type" race I did was an 18 hour bike race at Roseisle back in July of 2001, (The Pan Am mtb race was there) put on by a fairly renowned adventure racer named Kurt Gibson. I remember racing the first 4-5 hours of it like it was a two hour race. I blew up hard, felt sorry for myself at my pit for about 3 or 4 hours, ate a couple of cold Whoppers and some Cokes, talked myself back on my bike, and ended up third out of a dozen guys. That race kinda was the start of it from a bike racing standpoint. I won it the next year. I've gradually tried to concentrate more on the long stuff, even organized a pretty sucessful, low key 24 hour race for a few years a while back. The ski racing part started about a year after my wife got really serious into XC ski racing. Naomi has been racing bikes almost as long as I have. She tinkered with the solo stuff, as well, but got more serious into XC ski racing five years ago. I figured she shouldn't have all the fun racing 50k's around the Mid-West. Plus, it looked like an easy way to get my ass handed to me by 60 year old Wisconsin grannies on wooden skis.
G-Ted: How did you develop your training regimen? Was it by your own design, or did you follow a certain philosophy? Nutrition strategy? Rides to nowhere? Is any of your training specialized towards riding fixed gear/ single speed?
Paddy: I don't really have a training regimen. Check my race results if you don't believe me! I've read a few books on how to eat right, train right to "peak" for events..... Maybe I haven't stuck with certain programs long enough to see if they work, maybe due to a short attention span thing, maybe I'm too stubborn, I don't know. I've talked about getting a coach, consulted with a few....... I seem to have a hard time having someone tell me what, in general, I already know I need to do....... I guess a coach would help with motivation, that said, I have my wife for that. But my thinking is, if you really wanna do well in a race, go out on a ride, do intervals, put in the time, eat, drink, and rest, and roll with it. I'm not a pro, it's a past time for me. I have a wife, a mortage, a full time job, all that stuff. Too much structure and it isn't fun anymore. You could say all my riding/ training is geared towards fixies and 1 X 1's as that's pretty much the only type of bikes I own and ride. So, my riding style and equipment is geared more that way. I do have a full squish, geared bike, but it's pretty dusty......haven't ridden it in a while.
G-Ted:I know you work in a shop. How do you balance your work during the busy times with your training needs?
Paddy: Ya, great. Just what everyone wants to hear. GTed's interviewing another bike shop lackey, ha ha! Yeah, I'm the manager at Olympia Cycle and Ski, and have been working there for five years now. The beauty of my posistion there is that I make the schedule, so I can take off whenever. .......I wish that was true. Seriously, it can be tricky with any job. ( I work 40-50 hours per week) The fun part with where I work is that we ( staff of 15 of which 6 are full time) all ride alot. Most of us race at some level, so we are always fueling each other talking about rides, races, all that fun stuff. Some days I'd love to just close shop and ride.......O.K., that's every day really. But ya, it definitely can be a bit of a juggling act, balancing work, a happy marriage, riding, and four furry "kids". Though my wife, Naomi, rides/ races too, our two dogs come with us on trail rides and our two cats could take us or leave us!
G-Ted: What is it about events you enter that attracts you to them? Severe suffering, scenic views, or is it something intangible? Why on earth would you do Trans Iowa, for instance?
Paddy: Whoa, now the hard questions start. I think what attracts me to the longish events I seem to be doing lately has alot to do with the crazy folks you meet doing them, and the stories and experiences you learn from them. Most having been positive. Like I said before, this is my past time, I'm not trying to go "pro", chasing a contract or trying to please sponsors. I just really like to ride and race my bikes, as fast as I can. Endurance races just seem to fit the bill for me. Trans Iowa is one of those races I'll enjoy doing as long as it exists.
G-Ted: Is the higher cost of fuel going to force you to cut back or make different plans in your schedule for the year?
Paddy: Cost of travel (gas), gear, Life, definitely has affected the races I've gone to in the past and will in the future as well. My truck isn't the thirstiest vehicle on the road, but it's not a TDI either. That said, there seems to be growth in endurance racing in that there is more and more "grass roots"/ "not for (much) profit" races popping up everywhere, especially in the Mid West. I'd say the hardest part for me is not so much what races can I afford to drive to, from a money standpoint, as I think you can do some pretty epic events pretty frugally these days, but how many races my life and my body will allow me to do between April and November. That seems to be my reality, and I'm sure this holds true with 99% of bike racers out there. I'll do what I can and enjoy every minute of it........at least in hindsight!
That's the first half of the interview. I'll post the second half up for tomorrow! Look for it then!