Pat Warner wins two (more) Masters National Titles
Stages Senior Vice President of Product Development Pat Warner is a 18-time Master’s National Champion and 4-time World Champion. His racing career started as a teenager and has included just about every cycling discipline. Each race is not only a test for his training and fitness, but also a test for Stages Power and Stages Dash as he constantly looks for ways to continue to improve and develop Stages products.
“I was interested in bikes as a kid,” Warner said. “ I started racing as a teenager, started working at a shop and fell in love with it. I’ve always raced different types of bikes, it started out with BMX and I’ve raced everything from road to track, and mountain bikes. I’ve had a long career with ups and downs with some time off for kids, but I love racing my bike every weekend.”
Heading into the 2021 Masters Road National Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico August 5-8, Warner was ready to defend his National titles from 2019, but was also eyeing his first Time Trial National title. This meant more time preparing specifically for the time trial, improving position, equipment and training. Warner’s coach and Stages Power Education Specialist Benjamin Sharp focused on replicating the schedule of National Championships for several weeks leading up to competition. This meant time trials on Thursdays, road races on Saturdays, and the criterium on Sundays.
Warner finished the weekend with two national titles in the Men’s Masters 50-54 category. Finishing first in both the time trial with a time of 51:04.6, and the road race with a time of 2:41:24. “You always want to win again, but it is harder to repeat than it is to win for the first time for sure,” Warner said. “I spent more time preparing for the time trial this year than I did the year before.”
Warner used his Stages Power meter and Stages Dash to set him up for success during each race. He changes his Dash profile setup for each race. In the time trial, power is key to avoid starting too fast.
In the road race, tactics and the course were a huge factor. Going into the race Warner knew there was one key turn, and if he reached that point in the race on his own, he’d win. There was a strong tail wind at this point in the course, and making up any time after the turn would have been almost impossible.
“The entire last 10k I was counting down to that corner, and that’s all I saw,” Warner said. “It didn’t matter what the power was, I knew it was a matter of getting to that last corner and having that visual and knowing exactly how far I had to go. That course also had a lot of rolling hills, and the Dash gave me the ability to track the course elevation profile and know what was coming.”One thing Stages Dash does that most GPS cycling computers don’t, is allow you to customize your data screens and add a small 2x2 square that includes a map and the course elevation profile. This setup allowed Warner to have everything he needed, even a map, all on one screen. Using the distance to go field on his Dash in the road race led to the best moment of the weekend, Warner said.
“It was by far the hardest race I’ve ever done, both terrain wise and physically, and the amount of effort to stay away knowing that once I turned that corner it was over. It was a brutal fight to get to that point and once I made it there it was a massive emotional relief.” Continuing to race at a high level gives Warner crucial information when it comes to developing new products for Stages.
“It keeps you in touch with exactly what you need as a competitor. To know what the capabilities are, and know how people are going to use this at all different levels,” Warner said. “It’s one thing to go out and do a ride, and it’s another thing to have a specific workout and training to use it for competition as a consumer would use it. When you use the product at this level you truly learn what works and what doesn't work, and it allows us to develop better products.”
For Warner, work and play are all about cycling, but the 18th win is just as special as the first.“They all mean as much because you have to focus on that course and they are all different and create their own unique challenges. When you work hard and train for so long, the win feels just as exciting each time.”