Monday was a dark day when we found out that our colleague Pat Malach had died over the weekend at the age of 55.
Pat was more than just a coworker to us, he was a friend with a sharp wit, a dry and sometimes dark sense of humor, who even in the most stressful times could break up the tension with a joke.
When he first applied to fill a freelance role at Cyclingnews, he stood head and shoulders above the rest with a superb cover letter that listed numerous ideas for stories. Invariably he wanted to focus on the unknowns, the smaller races, the Continental teams going up against the big dogs.
He had already been covering the local Oregon races, writing race reports and posting his excellent photos on Oregon Cycling Action for years.
Pat gave a voice to the up-and-coming riders, he listened with empathy and his deep understanding of the sport and how difficult it is to excel in showed in his writing - always respectful of the riders but never fawning with admiration.
Sometimes his laid-back questions backfired and after the shock wore off, his inciting Jens Voigt to curse profusely at his line of query would undoubtedly stand as one of his highlights during his time at Cyclingnews.
Pat was almost always one of first at the team buses in the morning and the last out of the press room at night. He came online early when working from home and stayed up late helping our Australian team during Tour Down Under.
Over the past year, Pat rekindled his joy of riding, rising early to enjoy the sunrise or planning his day around an evening spin. He was a man who favored the functional over the fancy – no carbon/aerodynamic/lightweight/expensive gear, just two older Specialized bikes, one aluminium Allez and a Rockhopper mountain bike – that brought him to moments of joy that he shared on social media.
In fact, he just had his old Specialized tuned up by a local mechanic because the rear wheel had seized up. His last words to me were "new rear wheel (hub was fried), new cassette and chain, new brake pads, cables replaced and lubed and gearing tuned up. Bike runs like new. Plus, it's spotless top to bottom".
Pat would probably hate it if we said that he died doing what he loved, but in this case it's true. He was loving life more than ever this year and loving the bike most of all.
- Laura Weislo
Tributes to Pat have flooded in since the news of his passing. Here are some of the many that have been posted on social media from friends and colleagues across the cycling world.
It is with the heaviest of heart that I write to all of my cycling friends and family. Yesterday we lost our dear friend and colleague, Pat Malach. Pat’s sudden passing leaves the cycling world with a shocking silence echoed from the empty pages he was yet to write. I cannot express the sadness that I already feel by his absence. My good friend and travel partner will be terribly missed while time spent on the road will be forever changed. My most sincere and heartfelt condolences to his family and those close to him. @patmalach @cyclingnews_feed @velonews @cyclingtips Jonathan (John-O) Devich
A photo posted by @photogjono on Apr 21, 2020 at 4:04pm PDT
So saddened to learn of @Pat_Malach’s passing. A great guy and a great storyteller. What a loss to the cycling world. #RIP my friend.April 21, 2020
What a punch in the gut. Absolutely terrible news. Rest easy friend. https://t.co/2uNEQVxCWYApril 21, 2020
Pat Malach was a monumental part of the cycling media community. His passion for covering domestic American cycling was of the highest level. His loss will be felt for years. Our sincere condolences go out to Pat’s family and friends. https://t.co/ktdebiXDM2April 21, 2020
So very sad. @Pat_Malach passing. He was always one of the first to say hello at the pro races he covered. Very engaged at Press conferences. Our sport, already challenged will not have one of the good ones to cover our return to racing.April 21, 2020
At a loss for words. Too many press rooms, bad restaurants, and finish lines with Pat to remember. Highest respect for him. He broke news like clockwork and scooped me plenty. More bylines before breakfast than most of us had all day. Tailwinds, Pat, I’ll miss you. https://t.co/eHyXMZGlZcApril 22, 2020
RIP @Pat_Malach One of a kind.April 21, 2020
Rest In Peace my friend 😢@Pat_Malach pic.twitter.com/EMiptG9aKbApril 21, 2020
Cycling media is a small family - a few dozen people who you run into in all sorts of strange places. I can't believe I won't run into Pat Malach anymore. His dedication to untold stories, to the proverbial little guy, was unmatched. RIP friend.https://t.co/QOhBlf4XafApril 21, 2020
Today we mourn the loss of a dedicated and talented reporter from our small cycling media family. Pat Malach was a friend to all who were lucky enough to know him. Our thoughts are with our friends at Cyclingnews and with everyone feeling this enormous loss. https://t.co/YHrEuRDMrJApril 21, 2020
Always whip smart with a wry smile, I loved Pat Malach. So heartbroken for his people. He was loved and needed, this is crushing. RIP PatApril 21, 2020
So so sad to read this. @Pat_Malach was always a pleasure to work with during my time @HBAxeon & clearly loved every moment covering the sport. Rip Pat. https://t.co/ccu6C5UV8dApril 22, 2020
Condolences and thoughts to the family and friends of Pat Malach, and likewise, my thoughts to all of you at @Cyclingnewsfeed ...April 21, 2020
Hard to find the words after hearing about @Pat_Malach. Just stunned. A huge loss to the community. Pat was a unique character, a damn good journalist, and a friend. Going to races just won't be the same without him.April 21, 2020
Oh my, I’m in shock over the news about @Pat_Malach. We chatted almost daily about his “Good Morning” music selections. I’m gonna miss the guy. Thoughts to his family and his @Cyclingnewsfeed teammatesApril 21, 2020
I am so sad to learn of @Pat_Malach's untimely passing this morning. Sending condolences to his family, friends and the @Cyclingnewsfeed crew. His writing delivered joy but he was an even better human. RIP, Pat. pic.twitter.com/ZSeW8l9YYLApril 21, 2020
Shocked and sad to hear this. @Pat_Malach was a great photographer, journalist and fan of bike racing. Was also a contributor who covered the Portland race scene for us years ago. RIP Pat. ❤️🙏🏼❤️😢 https://t.co/V2jaNFoyLFApril 21, 2020
Rest In Peace, Pat. I am so sad to see this. Pat was all the things this @Cyclingnewsfeed piece mentions and more. A thoughtful and caring person and a great reporter. I love how much he cared about every story or race, no matter how big or small. https://t.co/CRU7PtvYgRApril 22, 2020
Damn. Damn. Damn. Pat was one of the good guys, a solid reporter with a hell of a sense of humor. Always enjoyed our banter, in the press room and here on Twitter. He'd recently rediscovered his love of riding his bike, which was so cool to see. A big loss. Rest in peace, hombre. https://t.co/2FqN7WSgSJApril 22, 2020
Oh no. Oh no. I just read about @Pat_Malach. Pat was such a fun person to be around and to chat with, blessed with a wonderful wit and such a love for what he did. My condolences to all his friends, family and @Cyclingnewsfeed colleagues. pic.twitter.com/ZFdv8wucrXApril 21, 2020
Really liked and respected and enjoyed interacting with @Pat_Malach. RIPApril 21, 2020
One of the nicest guys i got to know at bike races - and just a few days ago I remember reading from him. The last time. I hope where you are now, they are as kind to you as you were to everybody here! https://t.co/kTuFIliB64April 22, 2020
Just seeing the news about @Pat_Malach & can't believe it. Pat was someone who we not only enjoyed working with, but looked forward to seeing at races and catching up. He was always asking about our riders and cared more than anyone. No race or press room will ever be the same.April 22, 2020
A commanding, yet kind presence in the press room, Pat Malach’s seat will never be filled. RIP.April 21, 2020
RIP Pat! Was always nice chatting with you, will miss that. https://t.co/zMRBjETZ6KApril 22, 2020
Pat Malach was consistently the kindest person you could find at any bike race. He didn’t use his feelings affect you. My favorite thing about Pat was his genuine curiosity while also having a wealth of his own experience and knowledge. I’m going to miss him terribly.April 21, 2020
Shocked and saddened to hear of Pat Malach's passing. My heart goes out to his friends, family, and all his colleagues in the cycling journalism world.April 22, 2020
A gentle man. A journalist who adhered to the best of standards. A dear friend. RIP, PAT MALACH. Cyclingnews’ Pat Malach passes away | Cyclingnews @Cyclingnewsfeed https://t.co/ZtsPepdtSaApril 22, 2020
RIP @Pat_Malach I'm fucking gutted. pic.twitter.com/30OrYMpBaJApril 22, 2020
This fucking sucks. Pat was always one of the friendliest faces I'd habitually see in the far corners of the world throughout my whole career. RIP @Pat_Malach https://t.co/Gx8pqS0smFApril 22, 2020
This is terrible. @Pat_Malach was one of the good guys. https://t.co/BIVEt4FwJYApril 22, 2020
I can’t believe we won’t have our talks anymore before or after any races . Pat , you were a kind man with a lot of respect for the sport . A great advocate for domestic cycling but above all a great man. Condolences to his friends and family. RIP Pat https://t.co/cYMn6R26mHApril 22, 2020
So sorry to hear about @Pat_Malach’s passing. Always enjoyed being around his positive and uplifting attitude. Fantastic journalist and great guy. He will be missed.April 22, 2020
God speed, RIP Pat Malach. He cared about North American cycling. He will be missed. @Cyclingnewsfeed @veloimages pic.twitter.com/wcl4vcLBmYApril 22, 2020
This is terrible news. Pat was a gentle soul, an excellent journalist and a really great guy. https://t.co/wVMQgimL4vApril 22, 2020
Pat was always around and he will be sorely missed, especially by N American readers/bike racers. RIP https://t.co/p5vzCJH5kOApril 22, 2020
Very sad news. RIP. https://t.co/L8kCp5MchAApril 21, 2020
R.I.P He was one of the few cycling journalists who was interested about Estonia and our cycling. After meeting him first time we had some funny twitter chats... 😢 https://t.co/AJ9KtpaSO1April 22, 2020
This is awfully sad news. Always good to read, and so obviously passionate about the sport. Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at CN https://t.co/qkmp8lihbNApril 22, 2020
Pat Malach was a journalist with a big heart and a mission to always tell the right story. We’ll always remember his dedication to our sport. What a heavy day. https://t.co/4csBCNmIppApril 22, 2020
"Pat held himself to the highest standards of journalism – integrity, impartiality, and accuracy." True statement. It is so sad to say goodbye, but everyone who knew him is blessed. Thanks for being you, Pat, you will be very missed. 💔https://t.co/GN5LXjeJmkApril 22, 2020
Pat will be missed. He was one of my favorites and we always made time to catch up even if it was only for a few minutes whenever we saw each other at events. RIP.April 22, 2020
It's not often that you have a photo of the very moment you meet somebody, but this is the moment I met Pat Malach. I had just won the prologue of the 2011 Mount Hood Classic (teammate @scotttietzel was 2nd)--my first victory on the national level--for the Rio Grande Cycling Team, and it was a big moment in my career as I was chasing my first pro contract. I talked with Pat a lot that week as I led the race for 3 days, and it was the most I'd ever been interviewed before. Pat redefined my preconceptions about journalists, who are in fact not all looking for dirt or some way to quote you out of context. They can be kind people with a ready, genuine smile, too. We chatted many times as my career progressed, and he would go on to become the standard by which I judged all other cycling journalists. I wish now that I had told him that. I was looking forward to talking to him the next time our paths crossed about the joys of riding a bike, something he obviously rediscovered recently. His loss has been weighing on me today--the world is worse without him, that's for sure. Chad Haga
A photo posted by @thehagasaki on Apr 22, 2020 at 6:09am PDT