What's Cool In Road Cycling

PEZ Interviews: Mike Zagorski

Back in February we caught up with young Hawaii-based Scottish cyclist Mike Zagorski. His 2005 season is a wrap so we decided to drop in and see how things went down.

– By Ed Kurzenski –
Pez: The last time we talked to you in February you put some pressure on yourself to get results: “…if I expect to get onto a pro team then I shouldn’t have any excuses for not winning every race that I enter in Hawaii.” Did you win them all?

Mike (in yellow & black kit) rides on some pretty spectacular Hawaiian roads.

MZ: Almost. My first Hawaii race was just after I came back from the 6-day Vuelta-Sonora stage race in Mexico. I was ill and placed 2nd in a TT to an on-form Tony Lang (DC Velo). After that I managed to win every race in Hawaii until my last race of the season (112-mile Dick Evans Memorial Road Race) on Sept 11th where I had a bad day and placed 30th out of 174 competitors. Not the result I was looking for, but the season has been long and my motivation and form were on vacation with their feet up already. Hawaiian racing does not provide the depth of field’s found on the mainland but the top tier racers are very tough and the competition stiff. There is also no place to hide in the pack since the fields in most Hawaii races are generally much smaller than the mainland counterparts.

Pez: You had some bad luck towards the end of the season but from what we hear it didn’t slow you down?

MZ: I won the Hawaii State Criterium Championship on May 15th (It was his mum’s birthday so he HAD to win!) then won the State TT at the end of June setting a new course record of 54:09. A week later I traveled to Oregon for the Cascade Classic then on July 20th I was in a hit and run accident while training in Hawaii and suffered a broken left Ulna. The State road race was only 2 weeks away so I thought my chances of winning there had been wiped out.

Pez: So how did the Road Race go?

MZ: Yes. I raced in my cast and we had torrential rain for most of the race. I’ve never seen so much rain, even by Scottish standards! The race came down to a sprint between six guys, which I won. My arm hurt like hell and my back was numb but I wanted that win badly. I couldn’t believe that I’d won and still can’t recollect how the sprint played out, but I guess I was pretty focused at the time.

Proof that Mike’s season was not too bad…

Pez: So you won the Hawaii cycling equivalent of the triple-crown of surfing?

MZ: Haha, Yes. I won all three as well as the BAR competition which was decided by points scored in the three state championship races.

Pez: You dominated the island race scene but how did your mainland races go?

MZ: In February I raced a stage race in Mexico and almost broke the top 20 in the 103 mile long Stage 6. At Redlands I felt like I had good rides on some hard days and finished the Criterium – The first time I’d finished a criterium outside of Hawaii. I suffered with altitude and no feeds at the Vuelta de Bisbee and Tour of the Gila then went to Cascade in July where I made some promising improvements over my results there in 2004. Not winning, but moving up the food chain and able to hang with the big guns almost until the finish. On the second stage I snapped my rear derailleur cable and had to do the last 10 miles of climbing in 39 x 11, catching a group of about 10 guys before the finish. If it wasn’t for the mechanical I think a much better result was within reach

Pez: So, are you any closer to you’re dream of getting onto a Pro team?

MZ: I’ve sent out my resume to most of the UCI Continental teams based in the US. So far I’ve had three responses that weren’t successful but it’s still early days. HealthNet are losing Farrar (to Cofidis), Lieswyn (Retirement), and Wherry and Dominguez who are supposedly signing for a new team. I’m hoping this has created some new opportunities that might work out in my favor.

What better way to be the Big Kahuna than win your state Champs?

Pez: If you could win one race in 2006 what would it be?

MZ: I’d like to win a stage at either Redlands or Cascade.

Pez: Do you have a favorite Daily Distraction?

MZ: I liked the Saunier-Duval girls that were on there during the Vuelta.

Pez: Nice choice.

Thanks Mike. We looks forward to following your progress next season. More information on Mike is available at www.mikezagorski.com.

• Read our profile on Mike Zagorski here.

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