Steven Hopengarten of the ECCC News network recently caught up with professional rider Toby Marzot of Team Mountain Khakis fueled by Jittery Joes. At the time Toby was in Tucson AZ preparing for the upcoming season.
Who are you and where are you from?
I’m Toby Marzot and I’m from Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
What kind of name is Toby?
An awesome one. Actually it’s my middle name. Full name: Charles Tobias Marzot.
Is the “t” in Marzot silent?
A lot of people think it is, but no.
For what institution of higher education did you race bikes?
I raced for the Dartmouth College Institute for Higher Education.
Did you graduate and if so with what degree?
I did indeed graduate, though it took just a little longer than usual. I took the spring off last year to race, finished in the fall. I majored in Psychology and minored in Anthropology.
Now that you’ve graduated what are you doing with your fancy Ivy League degree?
Not much… in fact they haven’t actually sent me the diploma, still anxiously waiting on that. Right now I’m riding a lot, watching Netflix a lot, and eating ice cream a lot.
Sounds like a sweet deal, how are you affording this lifestyle?
Well I get support from my team- Mountain Khakis fueled by Jittery Joe’s (buy coffee here-http://www.jitteryjoes.com/fundraising/teammountainkhakis.html). My parents are also unbelievably supportive and generous. They have been throughout my whole cycling career.
So, you’ve obviously been racing long enough to call it a career, when did you get your start?
I guess I’m using the term “career” loosely, but I would like to make it one, for sure. I started racing when I was 13, so this will be my 11th year racing. Yikes.
Dang that’s a long time! Have you ever done anything impressive in your long career?
Haha! That depends what scale you use to define impressive… I won the Collegiate Nationals Division II Road Race in 2007, and I went to Cross Worlds once as a junior and once as a U23.
I’ve never won Wompatuck though, so I’m not a real bike racer yet. This year it will happen though, it has to.
Man, if you can’t win at Wompatuck you’ve got no shot, that’s where “Marky” Mark McCormack learned to crush souls.
I know…it’s actually one of my deepest darkest secrets, I can’t believe I told you.
Well if it makes you feel any better you’ve just told the entire ECCC too.
No, not much better, but I’ll be ok.
So, on the topic of failure, how did you do on those trips to Cyclocross Worlds?
It was an awesome experience, but the results were terrible. Everyone says it’s a whole different world over there, and they’re right. Although it seems that guys like Tim Johnson, Jamey Driscoll, and Jeremy Powers are bridging the gap, which is great to see.
You’e got that right! TMK/Jittery Joe’s is all about giving talented young guys a chance to get to all the big races and develop as pros. Apparently, all the talented young guys are in the ECCC. In fact, most of the real cycling talent in the country comes from New England, so it’s a natural connection.
Speaking of the ECCC and it’s awesomeness, how to do think racing in the ECCC played in to your development as a rider?
I’d say it played a fairly large role. I actually had briefly stopped racing before I went to Dartmouth, and got back into it there. I made some really good friends on the cycling team, and started riding a ton. I was pretty slow at the beginning of freshman spring, but with after a couple ECCC weekends, racing hard and having a great time, I was full-on again.
Now, looking back what is your favorite collegiate cycling moment on the bike and favorite moment off the bike?
On the bike, not sure if I can pick one, but there were a couple years there where Dartmouth had a killer men’s A squad- Schildge, Kevin Wolfson, “Rudy” Awerbuch. We could definitely race the races.
Off the bike. Well, in the darkest hours of winter, Kevin and I would hang out, play pool, and commiserate. One time we made pancakes then lit off fireworks in the backyard of the cycling team house. I love fireworks. Also, at Army one year, Schildge broke his cable stop, was stuck in the 11, and still rode someone from UVM right off his wheel. I won;t name names
It’s pretty clear that fireworks are awesome and easy to attain them in New Hampshire, are there any other things you liked about living and training in the Granite State?
In the spring and summer, the riding is killer. There are so many dirt roads in the area and they are a blast. In the winter… not so much. Way, way too much trainer time, or time outside wishing I was on the trainer.
Does getting through those tough New England winters give you an advantage as a pro?
Honestly? Probably not. Training in New England in the winter puts you behind the guys who are in Socal or Tucson. However, racing the New England “Spring Classics” like Marblehead gets you into shape quickly.
On the topic of winter training, does a full cyclocross season actually ruin your plans for a good spring, or is that just hog-wash?
No I think it’s just the opposite, especially if you’re going to train in New England in the winter. Racing cross keeps you fit very late into the year, and then with proper rest I think you definitely keep some of that fitness through your winter training. You definitely start out ahead, although it is pretty hard to do a really full road season, and then keep racing cross until December.
Alright time to change gears. Are you ready for the lightning round?
Favorite Place to Ride?
Riding from Falmouth, MA to the Miles Standish State Forest in Plymouth, MA is my favorite ride. Tucson is pretty nice too though….
What’s more fun Collegiate or Pro Racing?
They’re different beasts, Like apples and oranges.
Cyclocross or Road?
Yay or nay for the aero gear ban in collegiate TTTs?
Hockey or Kickboxing?
Favorite one day race?
Least favorite type of pizza?
Anything with vegetables or mushrooms.
Last question in the lightning round, this one is worth double points! Craziest Collegiate Team in America?
One time a teammate of mine on Fiordifrutta raced Easterns for Vermont Law School, with the name written in marker on a plain jersey (if I remember correctly). That was some wild stuff.
The lightning round is over, just a few more questions.
What are your plans for the future?
I really want to keep racing for as long as possible. After that I’m really not sure, I’d like to do something in the bike industry. Other options: CIA, or airline pilot. I better keep training…
Sounds like a plan, so in closing do you have any tips or tricks for up and coming racers?
Ride a lot, get to as many races as you can, and rest hard. A lot of newer racers never go easy enough on recovery days, and thus are always tired. Go on coffee shop rides at 100 watts and take in the scenery. Oh, and RACE every race. Never, ever, sit in.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the throngs of Toby Marzot fans that are going to read this interview?
Big ups, and its been real.