Interview with Daniel Siwek

March 24, 2020

With not a lot going on at the moment, we decided to check in with our riders and hear their thoughts on their 2019 season and what’s ahead for them on and off the bike. Here’s Dan’s, first cab off the rank!

VDR: Hey mate, how’s it going?

DS: Yeah not bad. Bit bored, not a lot going on at the moment. Racing scene’s a bit dead but can’t do much about that. Even Woollies was closed today!

VDR: Really?

DS: Yeah everything’s a bit quiet. I’ve got uni keeping me busy otherwise, although a few of my subjects are postponed at the moment. I’m meant to have a 4 week placement in May, we’ll have to see whether that goes ahead. Maybe I’ll end up on the front line with COVID-19, who knows.

VDR: I’m gonna ask you some basic questions I’ll ask everyone, then a couple of questions more specific to you. First question I was going to ask is what was the biggest highlight of 2019 for you? You did a fair few NRS races, Grafton, King Valley, and Tassie?

DS: Yeah! I dunno what the standout was, but I liked the Gunns Plains stage in the Tour of Tassie. Just so ridiculously hard. It was so hard it was enjoyable, just trying to hold the wheel the whole time, start to finish.

VDR: Why was it memorable apart from being hard?

DS: I think also because I was able to finish up there when it was so hard. It was a cool feeling. Good fun.

VDR: So you kind of stepped up on the day that everyone found really hard?

DS: Yeah I guess so, it kind of worked out well in that race.

VDR: Where’d you end up overall?

DS: I think I was like 20th on that stage, somewhere in the low 20s overall.

VDR: That was a mad stage, you had the elite guys going up the road, that group of about 10 or so?

DS: Yeah. I got dropped with like 10 meters left on Gunns Plains! Super close but I was still pretty happy.

VDR: And what was your biggest challenge of 2019? It could be one thing or it could be a number things if there’s a number of things that jump out. 

DS: I don’t really know, I’m not too sure.

VDR: You could talk about trying to get picked?

DS: What was that? Pick photos for instagram?

VDR: No, no, talk about trying to get picked for the team for races. 

DS: Yeah, yeah probably like selection for races I guess.

VDR: Yeah, you’ve been trying to prove yourself, and it’s hard in Australia to find races to suit of guy of what 54 kegs.

DS: Yeah I think that’s what happens, it’s just my sort of riding style, I didn’t fit into the teams as often as I’d like but I had some good races.

VDR: Grafton was one of those good races for you?

DS: Yeah I did Grafton. That was such a savage race, I bonked hard…

VDR: That was spectacular! Watching you going ten kms an hour on a flat road after you ran out of fuel…

DS: Yeah, by then I was so tired, I couldn’t even eat. Still a cool day, that’s probably my favourite race. Keen to go back there again.

VDR: So the NRS races you did last year were Grafton, King Valley and Tassie?

DS: And L’Etape!! Not really an NRS race but might as well be!

VDR: We can talk about L’Etape too…

DS: … I bonked there too…

VDR: … was L’Etape a highlight as well?

DS: It was pretty good fun! It was funny, it was a race but like didn’t really have that sort of vibe. No pressure kind of thing. It was a good, fun day out, I got to cross the line with Iven.

VDR: So before this all went down, what were you most looking forward to in the year ahead?

DS: Well I was training for Mansfield which was going to be this weekend, but that got canned… And I was pretty keen for Grafton actually, I think I figured out how to stop bonking, so I was keen for that, and then Brisbane was also looking really good with 3 times up a super steep climb. It was all looking kinda tasty but yeah. Hopefully, the season gets going again and we can get to do some of those races this year.

VDR: And will you be having a crack at L’Etape later in the year? Assuming we’re going again and racing is on by then?

DS: Yeah I presume I’d be doing those races, L’Etape, Tassie, Bright. Hopefully they can find another date for Oceanias, that would be something that could be postponed for a while and redone.

VDR: You think that would be a priority for Cycling Australia?

DS: Yeah, I think that they would redo that one. I think that course would suit me I reckon, we’ll see.

VDR: If you were to design a course that suits you the best, would that be pretty much it?

DS: Yeah, probably something like a 10-minute steep-as-hell climb. That’d suit me best.

VDR: A Strava effort basically?

DS: Yeah, they’re the kind of Strava KOMs I go for normally!

VDR: Well, next question I had was, you’ve been living in Adelaide and you’ve also been with the team for two years now and you’ve clearly improved in that time. How have you enjoyed your time in Adelaide and in the NRS?

DS: Oh yeah, Adelaide’s fun. It’s way better than Whyalla. Very easy to get around and the NRS is also very fun. It’s good to have those bigger races where you can put focus on them, and you can easily put a lot of attention on I guess. And it’s good to just get out there and race at that kind of level.

VDR: The the last question I had for you was, last year was kind of up and down for you. You rode really well at Grafton, did all right at L’Etape, and you said you were disappointed in your rides at Tassie and Nats but you weren’t too far off pulling a massive result. What was the summer like and what was it like having the team ride for you especially at Tassie?

DS: Yeah, I think I kind of came into Tassie with my expectations a bit too high. I probably just didn’t have enough races under the belt. Didn’t really know how to handle what was probably, I guess like my first tour.

VDR: Your first proper tour for days and days. 

DS: Yeah. I don’t think my fuelling was perfect, a few things went wrong there, different aspects. I was a fair bit under my target power on the big climbs. It was good having the boys, you know we rode well in other aspects of that race. I learned a lot there anyway. Obviously I didn’t complete my goals as such but there were definitely positives.

VDR: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve said this a few times since then, but the way you rode on that Poatina stage, even though you were disappointed in how you went up the climb, I thought the rest of that race was the best I’ve ever seen you ride.

DS: Yeah it was good fun. Something to build on at least.

VDR: Good stuff mate, good luck in 2020!