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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was asked to marshal at a my club’s ‘classic’ race on Sunday in Surrey, UK and I reluctantly agreed (mostly because I had planned to race it before hand). Anyway, this huge bloke in Liquigas Bianchi team kit rolled up “to watch a mate of his race”. The rider was clearly Magnus Backstedt of Paris-Roubaix fame. We ended up riding quite a bit together because he was following the race on his bike and I was riding between marshalling positions. All I can say is that he is one of the nicest, most unassuming guys I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Oh, and he’s even bigger in real life. I am 6’ 3” and weigh 83kg – he must be all of 15 kg heavier than me. In fact Magnus says he was really excited in January this year because he had lost 8kg compared to last year and got his weight down to the magical mark of 90kg. He also said that he was climbing with some of the more celebrated mountain goats in their early season training camps.
In terms of training, he says his heart rate (resting: 28!) is completely irrelevant. His power output is the only variable that he and his team monitor.
 

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Awesome. I'm jealous! Maggie is such a cool rider, and every "clydesdale's" idol, even if that's pretty far from me.

It's sobering to think that, even at my 138 lbs, I'm sure a rider like Backstedt could drop the crap out of me up a hill.
 

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IUbike said:
I don't see how 28 BPM could work with someone that big, seems like his blood flow would be too slow?

k
I don't know why this would necessarily be the case but I'm pretty sure small animals have a much more rapid HRs than large animals, and certainly human kids' HRs are much faster than those of adults. I don't know if it's the case that small adults have faster HRs than large adults, but it would certainly fit in with those other observations if it were true. There are all kinds of interesting relationships that occur with the scaling of body size.
 
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He probably has a fairly large heart with a high stroke volume and very efficient aerobic system. Sounds cool gizzard, you lucky bastage!
 

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as a fellow Big Hammer

and of Nordic descent I have one word for you

LUCKY!!!!!!!!

if it happens again let him know their are legions of 'plus size' riders who he represents!!
 

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Very exciting! I envy your position! 28bpm resting? He is 28 heartbeats from being dead! Hahaha!!! Looks like an absolute desiel, and an athlete to be admired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Some more about Magnus

Some of you may be interested to find out more about big Magnus. Here goes: he has a "team" of medical people who look after him and a trainer who works closely with him. All are based in the UK. I asked him why this was and he said it was impractical for the team’s Italian sports doctor to monitor him from so far away (Magnus lives just outside Cardiff in Wales).
About his low heart rate, some of you are quite right comparing the resting HRs of large people/animals to small ones. A mouse for example has a very high resting heart rate compared to an elephant. But resting heart rate is not the end of the story. What’s crucial is the variability between an athletes resting HR and his maximum HR. It’s a bit like a large V8 motor compared to a 1500cc Formula 1 engine. The F1 engine can rev a lot higher than the V8, which makes up for its relatively small displacement. I’ll bet that Magnus’s maximum heart rate is not much higher than 185 beats per minute.
He’s currently recovering from a bad injury to his biceps femorus (hamstring) sustained during a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. He has been restricted to only 400 watts of output. Sunday was his first four-hour training ride since retiring from Milan-San Remo. He mentioned numbers like 1500 watts that he would typically produce during a sprint/attack. In other words he’s still heavily restricted in terms of his training. One last thing about his heart rate – he only monitors it to assess whether he is overtraining or not. Generally the more tired he is the more difficult it is to elevate his heart rate, which is consistent with just about every other athlete.
But probably the most impressive things about Magnus is the fact that he seems to be so unaffected by his stature in world cycling. He isn’t going to win the Tour, but he will make a lot of friends and have many admirers during his career. Oh, and he did win the queen of the classics.
 

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gizzard said:
Some of you may be interested to find out more about big Magnus. Here goes: he has a "team" of medical people who look after him and a trainer who works closely with him. All are based in the UK. I asked him why this was and he said it was impractical for the team’s Italian sports doctor to monitor him from so far away (Magnus lives just outside Cardiff in Wales).
About his low heart rate, some of you are quite right comparing the resting HRs of large people/animals to small ones. A mouse for example has a very high resting heart rate compared to an elephant. But resting heart rate is not the end of the story. What’s crucial is the variability between an athletes resting HR and his maximum HR. It’s a bit like a large V8 motor compared to a 1500cc Formula 1 engine. The F1 engine can rev a lot higher than the V8, which makes up for its relatively small displacement. I’ll bet that Magnus’s maximum heart rate is not much higher than 185 beats per minute.
He’s currently recovering from a bad injury to his biceps femorus (hamstring) sustained during a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. He has been restricted to only 400 watts of output. Sunday was his first four-hour training ride since retiring from Milan-San Remo. He mentioned numbers like 1500 watts that he would typically produce during a sprint/attack. In other words he’s still heavily restricted in terms of his training. One last thing about his heart rate – he only monitors it to assess whether he is overtraining or not. Generally the more tired he is the more difficult it is to elevate his heart rate, which is consistent with just about every other athlete.
But probably the most impressive things about Magnus is the fact that he seems to be so unaffected by his stature in world cycling. He isn’t going to win the Tour, but he will make a lot of friends and have many admirers during his career. Oh, and he did win the queen of the classics.
Thanks for the write up. You are lucky. His wife is Welsh I believe so I think that accounts for his choice of residence. I was in Surrey two weeks ago staying with a mate in Kingswood, right by Legal and General. Took a peak at some of the bikes at Cycles Dauphin on Box Hill. Nice area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Surrey is nice

Yes Gio, Surrey has a lot of nice rides, especially if you're prepared to do a bit of exploring. There are loads of hills, many of them pretty steep (Horseblock Hollow at 21%, average about 16%), but it's nothing compared to Cape Town. Maggie goes to CT most years, as does Jan Ullrich and Cippolini (used to) and many of the Belgian and Dutch riders. I was lucky enough to ride with Jan earlier on in the year out there as well.
Dauphin is nice - the guys there are fanatical about bikes and cycling. If you're ever in the area and are keen to ride in the Surrey Hills get in touch.
 

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Dwayne Barry said:
I don't know why this would necessarily be the case but I'm pretty sure small animals have a much more rapid HRs than large animals, and certainly human kids' HRs are much faster than those of adults. I don't know if it's the case that small adults have faster HRs than large adults, but it would certainly fit in with those other observations if it were true. There are all kinds of interesting relationships that occur with the scaling of body size.
Most physiology texts have a nice graph showing body mass vs metabolic rate across species, and it's a very consistent bigger the critter the slower the machinery turns.
 

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You're a lucky guy.

It is really cool to hear that someone like MB is so down to earth and nice.I have read stuff on his site that lead me to believe he is just a normal,nice guy who happens to be a power house on the bike.
 
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