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October 2018

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

Interview: The “Greatest Showman” of track cycling – Nate Koch

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Known as the “showman” of track cycling, a Six Day legend, social media phenomenon, and all round great guy; we caught up with Nate Koch – TEAM NATER following his retirement from track cycling, and new venture into the media of Six Days.

Six Days is an historic series of track cycling events taking place across Europe which run for 6 nights straight, focusing on the madison and sprint events.  It’s a party atmosphere with insane racing, and a bucket list item for rider and fan alike!

You started cycling relatively late compared to most, how did you get into it?
Yes, I started cycling late compared to most.  I was 24 in 2010 when I started.  After too many injuries in track and field I got a hold of my friend Travis Smith who was on the Canadian national team and asked him if he could get me started.  The rest is history!


Your progression to the top was also relatively quick, what made you know you were good and ready to take it on full time?
I had just come off a track and field career as a division 1 decathlete.  I did some knee rehab on the bike and knew that I enjoyed it and decided to give it a go.  Fortunately for me I live 15 minutes from the velodrome (Velo Sports Centre) and the US national team was training there at the time.  It was a pretty seamless transition.


You’ve also had some set-backs on your journey, how did you overcome these?
Set backs are just a part of being an athlete, alongside injuries, funding, political opinions and much more.  Being an athlete is a choice, so regardless of the setback you just have to think of how much you want it.

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

What did you do before taking on cycling?
I ran track and field or athletics for 15 years.  I was a division 1 decathlete with a full ride scholarship to Cal State, Long Beach.  I ended up getting my degree in psychology.  Growing up I Played other sports like soccer and baseball, and was always on a bike to get around.


How did you get into Six Days?
I got lucky!  To put it simple, I messaged Max Levy on Facebook asking him if there were any spots available.  He actually got back saying that all the positions were full.  A few months later approximately two weeks before the start of Six Day Berlin Max messaged me back saying that Robert (Forstemann) had injured his back and that they were looking for one more rider.  I booked my plane ticket and haven’t looked back since!


What do you enjoy most about Six Days?
The crowd and atmosphere are incredible!  I knew from night one at Six Day Berlin 2015 I had found the type of cycling that fits me best.

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

How does it feel to be the “showman” and “entertainer” of track cycling?
I’ll take whatever titles the people would like to give me!  I think it’s great that I am just being myself and enjoying what I am doing, and that the fans are enjoying the show that I get to put on.  And yes, it feels incredible that I would be dubbed The Showman!


You’ve really changed the game of Six Days, and become somewhat of a revolutionary on the circuit, what do you think enabled you to do that?
I think the fact that I started so late and didn’t really have any knowledge or understanding of the “correct way” to do things, I did it my own way.  Fortunately for me I came around at a time where lots of changes were starting to be made and my way of doing things fit in to that nicely.


How do you keep the energy so high all the time?
I am on when I need to be on, and I turn it off when it is time to be off.  It’s definitely a high-energy week, but the more energy the fans and event put out the more energy I get!

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

You’re not only a Six Day rider, what other success have you had on the bike?
I was man one in the team sprint for team USA.  I currently hold the USA national record with Kevin Mansker and Matt Baronouski in the team Sprint.  I also placed 2nd in the Keirin at the US national championships in 2016.


You’ve got some slack from certain groups of cyclists about the credibility of the level of racing at the Six Days, what would your response be to them?
I can’t please everyone and I’m certainly not going to try!   I focus on the people that enjoy the type of person and racer that I am and how I fit into a Six Day event.  Six Day racing is unlike any other.  There are no extra titles or money to be won, but the objective is to put on a great show and entertain the fans.  The racing is full gas and obviously world class, but I rather put on a show and get last place then be boring and win.


What do you feel is missing from track cycling, and especially sprinting, in the USA that’s preventing the riders from breaking through at the international competitions?
To put it very simply, I would say athlete support and accountability.  There has been times when athletes have gotten great support, but due to lack of accountability and structure the results never came.  Things are changing in the right direction especially with the 2028 Olympics in LA.  There’s obviously plenty of athletic talent in USA, we just need to find out how to get them on the bike.

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

What do you feel is missing, or needs to be changed in track cycling?
I think the direction that Six Day Cycling is heading in is perfect!  It brings world class high end racing into an exciting event where fun and entertainment is the goal.  There’s definitely a place for serious and focused racing, but sometimes having a good time is most important to grow the sport.


You’re one of the most popular track cyclists on social media, how do you do it?
It’s pretty simple I guess, I just have fun and be myself.  Focusing on those who support me and the fans of the sport is always my main objective.


Do you feel other cyclists or even sportsman could better market themselves?
Of course, but it is definitely a tough balance.  It doesn’t come natural for many either.  I tried to market myself as best as I could out of necessity.  I couldn’t afford all the nice things and to travel around the world, so if I included others it was not only good for them but lucrative for me as well.

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

Other than cycling, what else are you interested in?
Five years ago I began my bike fit business, Long Beach Bike Fit.  I have about 300 appointments a year now and definitely stay busy with it.  I’ve definitely found a passion in woodworking and building things around my house.  It’s a great way to be in the moment and exercise some creativity.  And most importantly is my family!  My amazing wife Ayla and my beautiful new daughter Lucy are so much fun and bring me huge amounts of joy.  I am excited to see what adventures we get into as a family.


What’s next for Nate Koch?  What are your plans and goals for the future?
Six Day London 2018 is my debut as the Six Day Cycling Social Ambassador.  I’m excited to embrace the new role as a retired cyclist, and put 100% of my effort and energy into the fans, sponsors and events to make Six Day Cycling a household name worldwide.

I would also love to entertain the idea of commentating at all sorts of track cycling events.  Commentating at the 2028 Olympics in LA would be a dream!

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

BLS interview six day track cyclist Nate Koch

Conclusion: an inspiration to the young riders getting into the sport, and someone helping to grow track cycling worldwide; love him or hate him – he’s here to stay!

Be sure to tune into Six Day action starting tomorrow in London, and follow TEAM NATER for the latest action and behind the scenes footage!



Interview by: Matthew de Freitas

Nicholas Paul Interview: the 2nd fastest man ever over 200m

Interview: 2nd fastest man ever over 200m – Nicholas Paul

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As the World Cup season approaches, we interview the man who recently rode the 2nd fastest 200m time in history (9.378 seconds at the Pan-American Games in Aguascalientes, Mexico), and a rising star from Trinindad and Tabago on his way to Tokyo 2020 glory.


Let’s get straight to it, how does it feel to have ridden the 2nd fastest 200m time in history?
It feels really great to have accomplished this.  This really motivates me to continue working harder and I am always glad to bring positive attention to Trinidad and Tobago.


Did you expect to go so fast?  And what are your thoughts of the track in Mexico?
I never really know beforehand how fast I will go, I just train to the best of my ability and execute on race day.   The track in Mexico is an extremely fast track – it’s mind blowing how fast a cyclist can move at that altitude!


Do you have any stats on the ride?
I don’t have any power data, but the average speed was 76.775km/h

Nicholas Paul Interview: the 2nd fastest man ever over 200m

Nicholas Paul Interview: the 2nd fastest man ever over 200m

So taking it back, how and when did you start track cycling?
I started cycling as a rehabilitating process for a football injury – this was in 2013.


You broke through the ranks very quickly, what has been your secret to success?
My secret to success is trust first in GOD, self-discipline, consistency, dedication and family support.


The recently opened brand new velodrome in T&T is surely a great boost to track cycling in the region, where do you see it going from here?
The velodrome is really a world class asset to Trinidad and Tobago and the region.  Its contribution can be phenomenal for cycling.  However, its full potential can only be realized by proper management.


T&T has also just appointed a new coach, how are you finding that?
My experience with the new coach (Erin Hartwell) has been great thus far – I am learning a lot and this has aided my development as a cyclist.

Nicholas Paul Interview: the 2nd fastest man ever over 200m

Nicholas Paul Interview: the 2nd fastest man ever over 200m

You train with experienced riders like Njisane Philip, what have you learnt from him?
It is great for cycling in Trinidad and Tobago to have a strong team of Elite Sprinters.  As a young cyclist, I value every learning opportunity.


Tell us something that we wouldn’t know about you?
I wanted to be a professional football player!


What are your interests outside of cycling?
Spending time with family, watching football and sleeping.

Nicholas Paul Interview: the 2nd fastest man ever over 200m

Nicholas Paul Interview: the 2nd fastest man ever over 200m

What is a typical training day for you?
A typical training day starts with a gym session in the morning and ends with a track session in the afternoon.


What are your goals for the future?
My primary goal is to win a medal for Trinidad and Tobago at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games!


Interview by: Matthew de Freitas

Shane Perkins racing for Russia

Interview: The latest BLS ambassador, Shane Perkins

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We recently sat down with the latest decorated track sprinter and all round track cycling legend to join BLS, Shane Perkins.

He’s a former world champion, Olympic medalist and rider on the Japanese professional keirin circuit.  From Australia to Russia, and now to Tokyo – we hear it all from the man himself.

How did you get into cycling, and specifically track cycling? Did you have a go at any other sports growing up?
I grew up around cycling with my father being a custom frame builder and coach.  We were always at track events which I enjoyed watching and we always had riders coming around to our house to see my dad.  I played basketball at a descent level for a while, cricket and AFL footy as well, but turned to track cycling when I was around 12-13.

You were Junior World champion, how do you think that laid the foundation for your future career?
Getting to represent Australia at the Junior World Championships was a great experience and very fun period in my career.  Although I had some success as a junior at the world champs, it’s still a very big step to go from juniors into seniors and I think sometimes that can provide a very difficult challenge for riders going from being junior world champion into the elite ranks, but they just need to be patient and hopefully the results will come.

You’re quite the family man and come from a rich cycling heritage from your father and in-laws, how do you think that has helped your career? And would you like to see your kids follow in your footsteps?
I have been very lucky to have someone like my father supporting me in the sport and having had access to all his experiences from his career.  I have done him and my family very proud over the years!  Also having a brother-in-law that has had so much success in the sport is great and Ryan (Ryan Bayley is a former Olympic champion himself) has/is to this day been a big supporter of mine, and we often speak about racing.  It’s pretty cool to have his support and also that our kids hang out together.  My father is doing well after his battle in Germany, he is a very lucky man, and he and our whole family are very grateful for all the support that was shown to us to support his condition.

Interview with track cyclist and BLS ambassador Shane Perkins

Interview with track cyclist and BLS ambassador Shane Perkins

You’ve had numerous stints racing the Japan professional keirin circuit. Could you tell us more about that and if you’d like to go back some day and race again?
Japan is and always will be a fantastic part of my life, I am very grateful to JKA for having me in Japanese keirin for 8 seasons.  I have certainly grown as a person form having that experience overseas.  In 2018 I wanted to have a slower year in terms of travel and spend more time with my family, but I am certainly hopeful that I can go back again to the Japanese keirin in 2019/2020!

What would you say have been your biggest achievements, and how would you rate them in order?
It’s honestly hard to put them in order.  The pinnacle of our sport is the Olympics and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to come away with a bronze medal from London 2012!  Being world champion is a great honour!

Interview with track cyclist and BLS ambassador Shane Perkins. Photo: Tim de Waele

Interview with track cyclist and BLS ambassador Shane Perkins.
Photo: Tim de Waele

What have been some of the lows you’ve had to overcome en-route to success?
Look, I have had some tough times but so has everyone in life!  Upon those tough times I have been lucky to have great people around me and the fortitude to continue doing what I love!  When we realise that the challenges don’t stop we find a new level, and it’s important to realise we have the choice daily to give us the best opportunity to achieve our goals!

What would you say is your biggest strength, or characteristic that has helped you be so successful?

Do you ever make use of sport psychology, and if so, what techniques or approaches?
Yes I certainly make use of sports psychology, it has become more natural for me now, but early on in my career I did have trouble focusing.  Writing down your goals makes them real, then laying down how you are going to achieve them gives what you are doing daily purpose.  Certainly in the lead up a race I clear my head, give my focus to what I am doing and working through the things I can control, and letting go of the negatives that pop up!  Focus on the process, and let the results follow!

Interview with track cyclist and BLS ambassador Shane Perkins.

Interview with track cyclist and BLS ambassador Shane Perkins.

You’ve gone against the grain with your recent move to race for Russia, could you tell us what made you make that bold decision and how it’s unfolding for you?
Actually, I was going to retire at the end of 2016 as I didn’t see a way to continue racing my bike without the necessary support.  Having been friends with Denis (Denis Dmitriev is a member of the Russian national team) for some time through Japan keirin racing together, he knew some of the challenges I had faced in the lead up to Rio, and tongue in cheek said a few times you should ride for Russia as they need a keirin and team sprint rider.

At the end of 2016 after Rio Olympics, Denis and I got chatting over a couple beers and I mentioned that i am interested to continue riding if we could do it towards Tokyo.  So we started the process and thanks to Denis I am now a Russian citizen and getting the necessary support to continue racing my bike!

It wasn’t an easy decision having raced for Australia for so many years, but an opportunity to continue to Tokyo was something I just couldn’t pass up, after all I wasn’t being supported by Australia.  It’s important to know this decision wasn’t in anger with the Australian team as they knew of my communication with Russia and were more than happy for me to continue along that path.  I am extremely grateful for the support I have received over the years from the Australian team and we had some great success.  Life goes on and different opportunities present themselves!  Racing for Russia certainly has its own set of challenges and it isn’t easy!

Interview with track cyclist and BLS ambassador Shane Perkins.

Interview with track cyclist and BLS ambassador Shane Perkins.

You’re still living and occasionally racing in Australia, how does that feel when racing under the Russian flag?
Honestly it feels natural to me; Russia has welcomed me with open arms and so has the team!  They realise it isn’t just me, and I have my wife and two kids in my life also.  So they understand greatly that they need stability, and we get that currently in Brisbane, Australia. It’s challenging with training as I don’t have all the access required to the velodrome, but we are working on that!

What would you say has been the biggest change or evolution in track cycling since you started racing up until now?

What would you, as a seasoned professional, like to see change in track cycling? And where do you see the sport going?
It would be great to allow a bit more contact and movement back in the sprint and keirin events to boost the visual for the fans!

What are your goals for future, and life after professional cycling?
When that time comes we will face it, I do have a passion for helping others though, so coaching may be something I could naturally fall into!

Shane has recently joined the Track Cycling Academy.

Do you have any advice for younger riders, and anyone chasing their goals in track cycling?
Be patient, work hard, and train smart!

To conclude, could share some of your stats?

Peak Power: 2485
Peak Rpm on rollers: 245

Squat x 3 reps: 225kg

Interview with track cyclist and BLS ambassador Shane Perkins.

Interview with track cyclist and BLS ambassador Shane Perkins.


What products does Shane use:

The BLS Velcro Toe Straps – Cable Tie

The BLS Exclusive Track Gear Bag

Check out the full range of BLS Track Cycling Products here.


Follow Shane here:






For more info on Shane’s work with the Track Cycling Academy, check them out here.


Interview by: Matthew de Freitas


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