Bicycling Australia has been chatting with national road series athletes to get some tips on how we can all ride better and smarter. This edition, we catch up with the sensational Jackson Law, who joins Subaru NSW’s development team in the NRS this year.
BICYLING AUSTRALIA: Where are you now as we do this interview and why?
JACKSON LAW: I am currently at home in Wollongong unpacking my bags from the Australian Madison Championships last night which I won with Nick Yallouris.
BA: How’s it all going?
JL: My training has been going well, we have a good group of guys at the NSW Institute of Sport that have been training together a few times a week all through winter.
BA: How old are you?
JL: I’m 21 years old.
BA: Single, married or other?
JL: I have a girlfriend, Millie, who I have been with for about a year and a half.
BA: At school or working or studying?
JL: I have been working as a cabinet maker and moving my way up to kitchen designer. I am currently studying the Design of Kitchens, Bathrooms and Interior Spaces with Designer Training and I’m looking to graduate in June 2015.
BA: Where is home for you?
JL: Home is the Illawarra region NSW.
BA: How did you get started in cycling? Any funny stories to tell? What was your first bike?
JL: My Dad (Grant) raced as a junior up until he was in his mid- 20’s then quit to start a family, then when the 2000 Olympics came to Sydney we all went to watch and I remember seeing Brad McGee get the bronze medal in the Individual Pursuit. That got my Dad motivated to get back on the bike, and after a couple of years of watching Dad race I asked him if I could get a bike. My brother Scott and I started racing around 2003. Not so much a funny story, in fact it’s probably the worst thing that’s happened to us as a family. The day before Mother’s Day in 2009, Scott, Dad and I all went to club racing at the Illawarra Cycle Club. We had done our warm up out on the road and decided to finish off the warm up with a sprint. My brother was leading out, I was on his wheel and Dad was on my wheel, then Dad stepped out early and sort of boxed me in on the right, so I decided to go left in the gutter to get around Scott. There wasn’t enough room and I hit handlebars with Scott, bringing us both down, with Dad hitting our bikes and being thrown over the handlebars landing on his head. I broke my collarbone and Scott took a lot of skin off but my Dad was worst off; he had cracked his skull and suffered a haematoma. He was put in a medically induced coma and we were told that there was a chance he may never wake up, and that if he did his brain may not function the way it used to. That was the most scared I had ever been. I was terrified of losing my dad. After a week he came out of the coma and slowly regained his speech and movement and eventually made a full recovery. My dad always says he was just happy that he was fit enough to sprint with us that day, he had put together a solid six months of training and was the fittest I had seen him. If he hadn’t done all that training he wouldn’t have been there sprinting alongside us, so really it’s his own fault for being so keen to train and not my fault I went for a gap that wasn’t there!
BA: Sprinter or stayer?
JL: Definitely a sprinter, I don’t do hills.
BA: Roadie, trackie or other?
JL: Road and track, I’ve had more success on the track and I do prefer the track but it’s good to have a balance between the two.
BA: You have mentioned your Dad and your brother both ride. Tell us about them.
JL: My brother Scott has had regular success on the track and road for the past few years, racing Omniums at World Cups and he has raced in America and Europe with various teams. My Dad raced as a teenager and continues to race to this day.
BA: Is there rivalry between you and your older brother Scott?
JL: There is a healthy rivalry between Scott and myself, we push each other every day in training but we don’t get angry at each other if either of us is tearing the legs off the other.
BA: What club did you join when you started out and what club do you belong to now?
JL: We joined the Illawarra Cycle Club and in 2013 moved to the Marconi Cycling Club.
BA: Is moving clubs hard?
JL: No, it’s a pretty simple process.
BA: How important is which club you join?
JL: I think it’s very important to find a club that you fit into well and that works for you.
BA: What’s next?
JL: The next race for me will be the World Cup in Cali, Colombia. After that is the National Track Championships in Melbourne in January.
BA: The NRS – do you think it’s a good thing?
JL: Absolutely, I think it’s awesome that we have such a big calendar of racing and a wide variety of racing at home in Australia.
BA: What has your NRS experience been?
JL: It’s been pretty tough, I haven’t had a lot of success but it has certainly helped improve my form for my track racing.
BA: What do you think the state of Australian cycling is right now?
JL: I think we are in a very good place heading towards the 2016 Olympics, there is good depth within both the Sprint and Endurance programs on the track and there are some very talented young road riders making their way into the professional ranks.
BA: Have you raced overseas? If so, where and how did you go? What were the differences between there and here?
JL: I spent a few months racing in Belgium in 2012 which was incredibly tough. The style of racing is very aggressive and very fast and I was a little out of my depth. The racing here is a little more civilised, one or two teams can take control of a race and the pace can stay pretty steady for most of the day until they want to bring a break back. In Belgium you have to attack and be aggressive otherwise you’ll be left behind.
BA: What bike do you ride? Components? Wheels?
JL: For 2015 I will be riding a Trek with Shimano Dura-Ace Components and Bontrager Wheels and helmets.
BA: Is it the bike that makes you fast, or something else?
JL: The engine (legs) on the bike is what makes it go fast, but when you’re going full gas the 1%ers in aerodynamics and stiffness in bike frames and wheels can make the difference between winning and losing.
BA: Advice to others out there who want to make it?
JL: Talent will only take you so far, at the end of the day the guy/girl that wins the race is the one that has worked the hardest, not the one with the most talent.
BA: Have you been injured and off the bike?
JL: I’ve broken my left collarbone once and had it pinned back in place, I had to take a few weeks off the bike. I also broke my jaw in a crash which resulted in me taking 12 months off the bike to reassess what I wanted to achieve in the sport.
BA: If so, how do you stay motivated?
JL: Whenever I am looking for motivation I just try and remember why I started, what I enjoy most about cycling and the rest comes easy.
BA: What are your favourite training rides and who with?
JL: My favourite ride is from Wollongong up to Sutherland through the National Park and return with my mates from here in Wollongong.
BA: What is your big, ultimate goal?
JL: To win a Gold medal in the Team Pursuit at the Olympic Games.
BA: And what makes you think you will achieve it?
JL: The fact that I am constantly improving, I can see my progress and I know exactly what I have to do to get there, and I know that I have the support around me to get there.
AT A GLANCE
CLUB: Marconi Cycling Club
NRS TEAM: Subaru NSWIS
SPONSORS: Trek, Shimano, Bontrager
As a Junior I won three World Championships in the Team Pursuit (2010, 2011) and the Madison (2011). My biggest win as an Elite was the National Madison Championship I won with Nick Yallouris.