Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

An interview with Danny Pate

"Some things are worth more than racing"

At 23 years of age Danny Pate is one of those guys who everyone else thinks should be racing in Europe. His aggressive style of racing, his ability to climb and time trial have earned him that reputation, as well as his status as former under 23 world time trial champion. However Pate maintains that life is all about enjoying what you do and he enjoys nothing more than married life and racing and hanging out with his Prime Alliance Team Members in the US domestic scene. Kristy Scrymgeour caught up with Danny just before the USPRO championships in Philadelphia a few weeks ago to find out more about what makes him tick.

Going hard at Redlands
Photo: © Rob Karman
Click for larger image

Despite the fact the big race (the Wachovia USPRO championships) was on the following day, Pate kept his very relaxed demeanor when we sat down to chat in the hotel bar. He comes across as a very unassuming, 'enjoy the good things in life' kind of guy.

Pate got involved in cycling at a young age and thrived from day one. "I started bike riding when I was 14," he said. "My Dad got me into it really. He used to be into motorcycle stuff then he took up mountain biking and eventually road riding and I pretty much did what he did. When I was 17 we started road racing. We started racing in Cat 3s then 2s, and then when I became a Cat 1 he became a master. We still ride together whenever we can."

Since then he has represented his country in the world championships four times, and won a plethora races in the US and internationally, including Triptyque Ardennais (Belgium), two stages in Thuringen Rundfahrt (Germany), The International (formerly the Tour de Toona), and many others. His most memorable win was his world time trial title, won on the arduous TT course in Lisbon, Portugal in 2001. "I didn't expect to win there so it was definitely a new experience and one I will always remember." He has also raced for Saeco, one of the biggest professional teams in the world, but decided not to return after one season.

Considering an attack at Pomona Valley
Photo: © Rob Karman
Click for larger image

People have always wondered why Pate gave up the opportunity to ride with a European team. "I tried it and I didn't like it much," he says. "At times I enjoyed it but it was really good and bad. I don't think I was really ready to race in Europe when I went there. I signed with Saeco in February of 2000 and it was a big shock for me to go and live there and race without being prepared in terms of being able to speak the language etc. There were a few Belgian guys who spoke English but that was it. People always say I'm crazy, but those are the people who haven't raced in Europe. It's all about what you like to do. It's just bike racing and some things are worth more than racing, everybody has their own wants and ideals. I just got married and I enjoy married life so I don't want to be gone so much. My wife (Laura) likes bike racing a lot so that helps. She is also really active and loves rock climbing and mountain biking which is great."

Will he race in Europe again? "Not this year. Under the right conditions I might go back though. Maybe like how Navigators did it this year. They did a lot of racing in Europe, but they also got to spend most of the season at home. Laura wants to get her masters degree in special needs education abroad so that could probably be convenient. You never know. Maybe my team will expand. We need more sponsors but Jonathan Page has been working hard on that and hopefully we can become a more international team in the future."

This year however, Danny and his Prime Alliance team are just working on being consistent. "We have no specific goals. The Wachovia week was important and the Saturn Cycling Classic, but that was cancelled. In general we are just going to try to win any national calendar event. We were happy with Housatonic. That was one of my personal goals, and it should have been because the course really suited me. There was 8000m of climbing and the whole team rode really well there. The USPRO championships are important also but they are so tactical. It's a great race but having the Euros there can mess it up. Like last year, when I was in the break at the end and nobody wanted to chase down Chann (McRae). But it is a good race and it's good to have a good long race for Nationals that suits everybody in that it can be won in so many ways."

On the 2001 World's podium
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Being so young, a rider with Pate's talent has many options, so what are his plans? "I don't know. I want to race as long as I can be competitive and keep improving. I just love racing and I love any course as long as it's not a total sprinters' course. I'd like to try Europe one more time if I had the right situation. Like Julian Dean in CSC. He doesn't need to learn another language, but as for things like the Tour de France, sure I'd love to do them, but only if I'm riding well enough to do them without medical help that is. Some things are just not worth it."

Pate is another one of those cyclists who admits to being a "cycling bum". "I just ride and hang out most of the time and I like X-Box and video games when I'm traveling. My wife is into all other outdoor activities so I'm getting into other things.

Pate also admits that he is getting more disciplined as time goes by. "I used not to be, but I am getting progressively more disciplined. Some people are really annoying at how disciplined they can be and thrive on discipline, but I do think you get more disciplined when you get older. I started getting coached this year by Dean Gore. He has definitely helped me with that, but naturally I am more chaotic.

With the world championships coming up in Hamilton, Canada this year on a hilly course, the type that Pate prefers, he is still unsure as to whether he is going or not. "I haven't worked out my schedule yet. [USA Cycling] wanted me to go last year, but there wasn't enough racing leading up to it and the course was really lame. This year the course really suits me."

2001 Post-worlds interview

Other Talking Cycling Interviews