Damien Shaw is the current National Irish Road Race Champion who went from casual competitions to beating the pro’s in just two years. His fast rise to success has put him firmly on the podium as one of the best competitors on the domestic scene. Want to know how the Wattbike helped him get there? Read on for our full Q&A:
Where did your cycling journey start?
I was a late starter on the bike, purchasing my first bike in 2010. With the aim of competing I had a lot of catching up to do, both physically and tactically. The tactics had to be learned the hard way by experience on the road, the physical end of things became much easier after I first met the Wattbike.
When did you first use the Wattbike?
My first meeting with the 'torture machine' was for a 3 minute power test in the national federations office. It was 2011 and I owned a bike little over a year. It was a painful introduction but I was fascinated with the numbers and how they could be so influential on performance. To me that's all they were, numbers on a screen dictated by the effort I put into the pedals. More effort, bigger numbers, easy!
Over the course of the following year I had more encounters with the dreaded black and red pain machine. I had regular lab tests to monitor my training. Each one more feared than the last as I was on a mission to improve as much as I could as fast as I could.
It sounds like you had a love/ hate relationship with the Wattbike in the beginning, what is it that made you want to purchase?
I always associated the Wattbike with pressure and pain. I thought it was just a laboratory bike way too advanced and expensive for regular athletes but I was fascinated by it. I loved how it passed judgment on you there and then "the numbers don't lie" and "you're only as good as your last result" were the thoughts going through my head.
In late 2012 I enquired about buying one and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was about the same price as a decent carbon road bike. So I went and sold my decent carbon road bike and bought a bike with no wheels to train on!
How has the Wattbike helped you improve your performance?
After purchasing my Wattbike I never looked back, over the course of two years I went from being an athlete with a good engine to a road racer capable of winning the Irish national championships and many other races in between. I really believe the Wattbike is the key ingredient in that transformation. Consistent, structured training with real time feedback on performance, every time you are on it. How can you not improve? How much you improve depends on you.
Do you still have a love/ hate relationship with the Wattbike?
My "relationship" with the Wattbike is much better now. I look forward to going training on it. It makes fitting training in around work so much easier. I choose it over going outside in the cold, wet and dark winter months. No need for a hacker of a winter bike, layers of winter clothing, lights, equipment etc and the safety aspect of not falling is huge too.
How are you currently using the Wattbike to train?
A huge advantage of the Wattbike is its use as a rehabilitation tool. After picking up a shoulder injury, this is how I’ll be using my Wattbike for the next few weeks. After that, I’ll be completing some winter training to get ready for my challenges in 2016.