Meet Bjorn Andersson

Swedish bike god Bjorn Anderson is quiet and somewhat shy. He just returned from a long training camp in Taupo, New Zealand and is getting ready to race 70.3 California. We wanted know what else he has on his schedule and what he is up to.

ST: Bjorn, you just spent quite some time training in New Zealand. Can you tell us about it?

Bjorn: New Zealand was good this time with the best weather I've experienced down there. I've been there over 5 times before always staying in Christchurch, but this time I trained up in Taupo on the north island, the home of the NZ Ironman. Good place for training overall and the twin lakes ride there is one of my favorites across the world, so I enjoyed it. I was staying with Bryan Rhodes so it was good to have someone of similar abilities to train with every once in a while as well.

ST: So are you ready for California 70.3?

Bjorn: We will see but I won't be in my best shape probably. I was sick on and off for most of last year so to avoid that and get a more consistent season I've tried to build up the training a bit slower and more gradual this year to not stress my immune system too much too early. Hopefully it will help and the plan is to be in peak condition in May when I have a string of important races. I still hope to have solid race at CA 70.3 though but I don't expect too much.

ST: Can you tell us what you have on schedule for you for 2008?

Bjorn: After starting off with CA 70.3 I'll do Wildflower, Austria 70.3 and Switzerland 70.3. One other fun goal the first half of the season is the Swedish national cycling road and TT championships in June. As for the rest of the season I'm not quite sure yet but some more 70.3 races hopefully and maybe some non-drafting short course races if I get the chance.

ST: Would you describe a typical mid season training week for you and break it down into swimming, running and cycling?

Bjorn: Swim; 4000-6000m. Bike 600-800km Run: 60-100km. That's what I typically do but I'm quite flexible when it comes to my training these days so it varies quite a bit with some bigger and some smaller weeks than this. I like to do shorter blocks where I really bump up volume/intensity in one of the disciplines every once in a while as well (except swimming). As for intensities I try and get in good mix of long endurance training and threshold plus VO2max work each week.

ST: A few folks seem surprised that you only swim 4000-6000m a week. Can you
tell us more about your swimming?

Bjorn: I feel , for me personally, that swim training compromises the performance and development in the other sports the most so I try to do a minimum of it. It's likely that I'd be a better swimmer with more training but I've always had my best races overall on the least amount of swim training I've done so I'm sticking to it. I know a lot of coaches don't agree with this approach but I make sure never to swim out of my comfort zone in a race and it's such a small part of the overall that I think I can get away with it. Plus I have to admit I don't like swim training very much either...

ST: What is your crank length on your TT bike and how does it vary from your road bike?

Bjorn: It's 180mm on both. I know some say crank length doesn’t matter but I'm more comfortable on longer cranks so for me it's somewhat important at least.

ST: Can you tell us about your power meter and how you use it for training and racing?

Bjorn: Usually I start off the training season by doing a threshold test measuring the power for an hour and then I base my training zones from that. I do these tests quite regularly in the beginning when fitness increases quickly and then a bit less later on. Of course doing threshold training every week I get a good feel for where I'm at as well. Having trained with power for a while now I can judge pretty well at what power I ride and the power meter is most useful for higher intensity work to dial in the proper effort. For racing I decide on a power interval to hold on the flats and then for different length climbs which is helpful in order to do an efficient bike leg without wasting too much energy. Of course I try to listen to my body in both training and racing as well so I'm no slave under the numbers either.

ST: The much discussed Bjorn position and cadence often comes up in conversation. Have you done any changes to position and cadence recently?

Bjorn: Well, I changed my cadence in 2006 to more normal rpms where I now usually average about 90rpm for a half IM bike leg as compared to about 70rpm previously. This has done nothing to change my performance on either the bike or the run in the longer races though. The only difference is that I can produce more power at threshold and VO2max intensities than with the lower cadence. Anyway it's pretty funny that people that see me ride now still think I pedal at 60rpm when the cadence actually is much higher.

As for the position it's basically the same with only some subtle changes. My manager Jason Goldberg and I have worked with Steve Hed quite a bit over the last couple of years and received a lot of advice but mostly based on him viewing pictures so far so nothing drastic has been tried yet. We're going in the wind tunnel sometime this year though and I'm willing to make any changes that will make me faster so we will see what happens then. I have pretty much never seen a drop in power regardless of what bike position I've used so if we just find something faster I'm pretty confident I can adapt to it.

ST: What sports did you take part in when you grew up?

Bjorn: I did a bunch of different sports and never really focused on one. My main focus was actually soccer until I was 15-16 something when I realized I didn't have much talent for it and enjoyed individual sports much better. I also did my first triathlon when I was 13, I think though I didn't get serious with it until some years later.

ST: Have you actually had any offers to race on a road team, and would you consider them?

Bjorn: Nothing concrete really. They have enough talent within their sport already I think. Plus I'm really getting to old to switch and I'm not sure I'd like to be involved in a sport with such a dramatic drug problem. I do like to follow pro cycling though despite the drug problems which I realize might be a bit hypocritical.

ST: How are things going in terms of sponsorship? Any news?

Bjorn: New for this year is Quintana Roo for bikes and wetsuits which I'm pretty excited about as I'll be on board some cool new equipment later in the spring. I'm back with Rotor riding the Q-rings which I'm also happy about as I really like the company. Then I'm continuing working with R&A which has been great as well as Hed, Fit Multisports, Fuel Belt, Recovox, Oakley along with maybe a couple of new ones yet to be announced.

ST: Can you share with us what kind of diet you have? Also, are there any
foods you especially like, and which ones you dislike?

Bjorn: No special diet. I like most things and just make sure to eat a lot of fresh quality foods.

ST: How about music? What do you listen to?

Bjorn: Anything rock to more extreme genres of metal. Current favorite is Disfear.

ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?

Bjorn: Nope ☺