Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Magnus Backstedt Interview

Magnus Backstedt has always been one of my favorite riders. Devoted to the classics, his status as a hardman cannot be questioned. His crowning moment has to be his Roubaix win in 2004, but I have spent many an hour on the trainer watching him set brutal tempo in a breakaway in the 08 edition of Flanders. He has been a supporter of the Pan-Mass challenge here in MA for a while and being reminded of this got me thinking and reminiscing a bit. Roubaix was epic, but I was always puzzled by his attempt at the derny hour record. What was the motivation to suffer behind a motorbike turning that huge gear? On a whim,I emailed Big Maggy's coffee to see if he would be interested in an interview. I was pretty shocked when I got a quick reply in the affirmative. So here are a few questions with a real giant of cycling.

WWDIS:Why did you decide to pursue the derny hour record?
MB: I just love riding the track and riding behind the Derny is one of my favourite things to do. I quite quickly realised i was very fast behind it. Unfortunately things didn't go to plan on the night with the driver getting "big occasion nerves". Unfortunately i never got the time to give it another go.

WWDIS: What was harder Roubaix or the derny hour?
MB:I think Roubaix, more due to the time it takes to become human again after a complete emptying of the tank and all the physical issues the cobbles cause. Still the Hour was not easy.

WWDIS: What were your favorite races?
MB: For me there was really only one race. Second Sunday in April is a special day in my calendar and always will be. The Paris Roubaix is such a special event and I have a great love for the race itself and the history behind the race.

WWDIS:Did you ever do any derny crits?
MB:No I never did. I was always busy with other races.
WWDIS: Are they as sketchy as the appear?
MB:I don't think they are any worse than other races.

WWDIS: You road for a lot of teams over the years-what was your favorite bike?
MB: Difficult question to answer. I had so many purpose built bikes made for me and a lot of custom jobs. Have to say though that the Felt AR1 was probably one of my favourites. Also had quite a lot of input to that bike being made. Jim Felt did an awesome job there. Another favourite is the Cervelo P3 and i recently got a Wilier Cento Uno that again was made to my spec. As an off the peg bike i think the bike that my team is riding this year has to be one of the stiffest and lightest i have ever ridden. It's a small brand. Nishiki team Carbon it's called. You can find them on www.nishiki.se

WWDIS:This is a mandatory interview question, do you prefer Campy or Shimano? Or Sram?
MB: Shimano

WWDIS:How did you get associated with the Pan-Mass Challenge?
MB: Long story. Matt Dillis who is the captain of the Forza-G PMC team is working together with me distributing my coffee in the US and on that road we ended up with me riding the PMC. One of the best rides i have done. I do a lot of stuff for charities and my coffee donates a % of the profit to cancer charities, the PMC being one of them. Find the coffee on www.bigmaggys.com

WWDIS: How was it being on the podium with Roger Hammond?
MB:Well, Rog and me are good friends and used to share a house in Belgium. I felt for him not winning, but on that day there was only going to be one winner and that was me. I think he can appreciate that. He rode really strong that day and luckily for me i just managed to outmaneuver all of them coming out of the final turn. Track cycling move!! Well, knowing how people move on the track helped me a lot that day.

WWDIS:Have you or do you race cross?
MB: I have only ever done a couple of local ones in south wales where I live. Not really my thing. I'm too heavy and bog down in the mud. I do like taking my MTB on a spin though.

WWDIS: My blog focuses on cycling and music, so what are some of your favorite bands?
MB: Metallica, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Black eyed Peas, the XX. i have something like 8500 tunes on my ipod and it varies from the one extreme to another.

WWDIS:You seem to be busy with your coffee, team,and TV commentating? What else are you up to?
MB: I also have my bike/coffee shop on Jersey Channel islands. Apart from that and my family i don't really have time to do anything else.

So there you have it. Amazing racer, retires and seems to stay just as busy. Get some of that coffee!

want one of these

Sunday, August 29, 2010

never the same.

One of my favorite things about cross is the constant flux. You can have a race at the same place every year and change the course to make it different. Even if you don't change the course, weather can give you 2 totally different races. Even hour to hour. If you do 2 races in one day, you are not really riding the same course-especially if it rains. You need to be ready for anything.
For example Palmer MA. I have done this race 3 times. 1st time it was later in the year and a mess of frozen mud ruts and grass. Last year was an epic mudfest with submerged roots and pouring rain. This year it was dry and hot. Still had roots. Roots everywhere. Popping out of the ground like zombies trying to free themselves from their graves.
race report on the other blog later.