Everyone in Australian cycling knows Pat Shaw. At this stage in his career he would have to be the most experienced 25 year old racing in Australia. From Victorian Institute of Sport Scholarships, to Junior Worlds Teams, to Herald Sun Tour National Teams, to ripping it up with Italian Amateur teams. He’s been around the block a few times at least.
He’s got a big heart, big lungs and at times a big mouth. There’s no doubt many people have been on the wrong side of a verbal contest with ‘Shawry’. Nonetheless, cycling is a tough sport and it’s this tough love that makes Shawry who he is. No beating around the bush. The job gets done and more often than not, races get won.
He brings this expertise and experience to Genesys this year and has been pivotal in the success the team has experienced so far. From smashing everyone at training camps to taking over the reins in the heat of the sprint and guiding the Genesys lead out train to many victories. To cap it all of, he has just come away from the Tour de Intermediate Sprints (Murray River) with an overall victory, pretty good for a skinny bugger!
From the heat of Malaysia to the cold of Korea, let’s see how the year has gone and get a look at what’s under that tough exterior…
Jono: You’ve spent time racing with state teams, national teams, Italian amateur teams, how are you finding life racing with Genesys?
Pat: I have raced in many different teams but by far my time at Genesys has been the most enjoyable and most fulfilling. From the riders to the management to the sponsors (who have a very personal involvement) I just really enjoy them all. Being so happy makes it all so much easier.
Jono: What was it like getting settled back into the Australian racing scene the last two years? In what ways does it differ from your time in Italy?
Pat: Australian racing is no doubt different but I didnt find the transition all that difficult. I think Italian racing is what has giving me the required characteristics to be successful in Australian racing. In Italy its all about saving all your energy for the amazingly difficult finale! Every race in italy starts off fast and then gets progressively faster all day until everyone is 100% at the end! In Australia we race a lot more tactically which i find adds more flavour to the racing with no radios, it means the team must always be alert and make fast, correct decisions…
Jono: What’s the one thing you miss the most about racing in Europe?
Pat: Probably not the racing, probably the culture in general, the extreme acceptance of cycling as a sport and the appreciation of your local community and supporters after each and every race. These are all qualities that the Genesys team have, a culture… of pride, loyalty, passion and companionship!
Jono: But there are always good sides to being at home, and it must be nice especially since you and your wife celebrated the birth of your first child! How’s it all going? Have domestic duties taken away from your training time?
Pat: Yes of course, I love being at home. Since the arrival of Carter (now 6 months), Bec my wife has been absolutely amazing in that I have been able to fulfil all my training and racing requirements. It’s always great to come home after a hard race and see Bec and Carter, no matter what my result, I always remain their dad and husband which is what matters to me most.
Jono: I don’t want to dwell on all the bad things, but, training through winter in Ballarat must be a struggle! How do you deal with those icy days? Do you lather up in whale blubber or stick to the Ergo?
Pat: Ergo is a frequent enemy through winter but it always brings me great form, I always hate doing them but know I will have no problems come race day if I do them. Besides that if its not horrible wet weather I will usually organise 1-3 guys to train with and as a group we battle the freeze together!
Jono: Earlier in the year you were ripping it up at the Tour of Korea racing for at least a GC podium. Unfortunately the weather turned ugly and snow and sleet were unleashed on the peleton. I have received reports from inside the team car that you were in all sorts of trouble! What happened that day? Are you filled with anticipation to get back to Korea after that?
Pat:To be honest I don’t know what happened, obviously I froze, probably because I didn’t wear enough clothes but I have never been in such a dark place as I was that day, its one I would rather forget but I tend to think about it often to make bad situations seem not so bad. I definitely have a great hunger and desire to return to the race and do well, it suits me well I think and its at a positive time of the year for me.
Jono: There’s no doubt you’re as skinny as they come. Nonetheless, you’ve just walked away from the flattest tour in Australia (and possibly the world), the Tour of the Murray River, as the victor! How on earth do you manage to consistently battle it out with guys 15-20kg heavier than you?
Pat: I’m very hard on myself and set myself difficult objectives to achieve. I don’t like to let myself down and I find that drives me, but the reason I could consistently match it with faster guys in the Tour of the Murray was because of 7 outstanding team mates that dedicated themselves 100% for 7 days so I could maintain my lead, thats the selflessness that we have at Genesys and I admire everyone of our guys for that.
Jono: Similarly, earlier in the year in Malaysia you were one of the few guys who could find his way to the front in the hectic dash to the line. Got any secrets for the rest of us? Or does it just come naturally?
Pat: It takes a while to learn your limits, but when you do you find that your capable of doing many things you thought weren’t possible, I find that I look at a point and go for it 100% if the door closes I stop and start again if I get to the point then I do it again and so on until I achieve the bunch position I desire.
Jono: Finally, what are your aspirations for the next phase in your cycling career? Is it back to Europe, or will you be content ruling the roost in Ballarat?
Pat: Happiness and enjoyment are the two things that drive me now and I have found both of those back here in Australia, so I’m happy to stay racing here and hopefully I can give some guidance to the younger guys coming through the Genesys development program with Andrew Christie Johnson and watch them progress and make big things of there careers…
Jono: Thanks Shawry, see you out on the road!