Posted by Editoress on 10/31/04
Max Plaxton is one of Canada's cycling stars of the future. In his three years of competing for Canada Ã‹â€ the first two as a Junior and this just completed season as a first year Espoir Ã‹â€ Plaxton has won two rainbow jerseys as a member of world champion relay teams, won the Canada Cup, finished fifth at the Worlds and had a top-15 in World Cup competition in his first year of senior competition. We spoke yesterday with Max Plaxton at his family's home in Tofino, BC.
Canadian Cyclist Ã‹â€ So, first of all, what's this we hear about a hand injury?
Max Plaxton Ã‹â€ It's nothing too major, it was just a stupid aCCident. I was out with some friends and fell on some rocks. I landed awkwardly and dislocated the ring and middle fingers on my hand. It split the skin pretty bad, but that is all healed and I've been getting physio. I tried holding onto handlebars yesterday and it was okay, so I'll be riding again next week.
It put me off the bike for October, which is too bad, because I was looking forward to doing some Ã…â€™cross, and going to Nationals Ã‹â€ I've never been to that part of the country (ie, Maritimes), and I was interested. But it has worked out for the best; I got a good rest in, and now I'm pretty motivated to start getting ready for next year.
CC Ã‹â€ You are moving back to Europe, and joining a Spanish team, we understand.
MP Ã‹â€ Yeah, I'm going over in January to Spain. I'm going to be with Maxxis-MSC, and will be in Barcelona, where the team is based. I'll spend most of the season over there, and will just come back here for Nationals, Mont Ste Anne and the New Mexico World Cups.
CC Ã‹â€ Why back to Spain?
MP Ã‹â€ It was a combination of everything. I have found that the races are put on better over there, there is less travel Ã‹â€ that's a big thing. It is so spread out over here. I prefer racing every weekend, and not traveling so much. The biggest issue for me is the travel, I have found that I don't particularly enjoy it. Canada has much better riding Ã‹â€ more varied Ã‹â€ and the people are more relaxed, but it has always been in my head to move back to Spain.
CC Ã‹â€ How did the agreement come about with Maxxis, and did you consider trying to stay with Rocky Mountain-Business Objects (his current squad) while based in Spain?
MP Ã‹â€ I talked with Lesley (Tomlinson, manager of the Rocky squad), and she tried very hard to work out a deal, but it is better over there to have a full team support system, and Rocky couldn't do that as well. It (Rocky) is a great team, but it is more ideal to have a team over there.
I talked with the Maxxis guys at Calgary (World Cup), and then we talked more at the end of the season and it just came together. I'll be able to do the Maxxis Cup series in Spain, and the international ones in Switzerland, France, etc. My main focus will be the World Cups and preparing for the Worlds. My coach has been talking with the Costa de Almeria road team, and hopefully I can hook up with them Ã‹â€ I definitely want to do more road. They race the Vuelta, but I'm looking at riding with the amateur squad.
CC Ã‹â€ This was your first year racing full time, at the Espoir/Elite level, how do you think it turned out?
MP Ã‹â€ I finished school in January, then went 100% racing. I think I kind of burnt myself out, though. Waco (Norba #1) went okay (Plaxton finished 5th overall after 3 stages), then I kept riding, training every day and I think it was too much. I learned a lot this year, racing at the higher level. You've got to be super aggressive, there are a lot more riders, and they are going a lot faster.
CC Ã‹â€ What about next year?
MP Ã‹â€ In the past I've put too much pressure on myself for the Worlds, all or nothing. For next year I want to pursue the Espoir overall title (in the World Cup), and then put in a good solid ride at the Worlds. I won't be doing the Relay again, for sure.
CC Ã‹â€ Why not the Relay?
MP Ã‹â€ I find that it takes too much out of me mentally, and I'd like to focus 100% on the cross-country. Doing the Relay has been great, and I love the competition, but for me it is too much when they (Team Relay and cross-country) are so close together.
CC Ã‹â€ Finally, what about longer term goals?
MP Ã‹â€ Well, the Commonwealth Games are coming up in Australia (2006, Melbourne), which would be pretty cool, and then the (Beijing) Olympics, for sure.
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