WOODLAND PARK - Paul Magnuson is a bicycle junkie.
Last week, the owner of Team Telecycle was in Louisville, Kentucky, for the Cyclo-cross World Championships. Magnuson spent most of his time taking photographs of the riders for various media publications, as well as enjoying the festivities and making contacts.
“This is the first time it's ever been held in America,” said Magnuson, a resident of Divide. “This is a pretty big deal in the world of cycling. Louisville didn't know what hit them.”
Magnuson, 50, took two cameras to cover the event; a Nikon D3 and a Nikon D700. Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), cycling's governing body, granted Magnuson press credentials for the event.
“I mostly went because I'm a huge cycling fan,” Magnuson said. “I've always wanted to go to the Tour de France, but it takes place in June and July; that's my busiest time of the year.”
The Cyclo-cross Championships bring together the best riders in the world in this type of event. It was held in Europe the previous 60 years.
Cyclo-cross a high-energy mix of hard bicycle racing and a party, held outdoors in the fall and winter, in all kinds of weather, snow, rain, mud, ice and dust. The racing has been described as a “bike race mixed with steeplechase.”
Racers compete on a course that includes pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles that require a quick dismount, running and remount. Obstacles, or features, can be a long sandpit, a flyover with or without stairs, and a run-up with or without steps, barriers, and tight turns.
“It's amazing to watch,” Magnuson said. “You watch it and you can't believe they're doing what they're doing. It's 100 percent anaerobic for an hour.”
Magnuson is one of the leading authorities on high-end bicycles and trail riding in southern Colorado. He opened his first bicycle shop in Huntington Beach, Calif., in 1982 at the age of 20. He sold the shop a few years later and began building custom bicycle frames.
He moved to Woodland Park in 1989, where he became a co-owner of team Telecycle with Alan Schift. Two years later he owned the business outright.
“I could probably have a much more successful shop if we were in Colorado Springs, but my wife and I moved here to get out of the city,” Magnuson said. “We like it here in Woodland Park.”
Magnuson has seen his dream of watching world-class bicycle races come true twice in the last seven months. Last July, the USA Pro Challenge had one its stages pass through Woodland Park.
“We had probably had 3,000-4,000 spectators in Woodland Park for last year's stage,” Magnuson said. “We had a party at my store with at least 300 people.”
Magnuson is an avid photographer. He has been taking photographs of Woodland Park High School basketball and soccer for six years. Both of his sons are graduates of the school.
“I played around with photography a little in high school, and took some classes in college,” he said.
During the outdoor summer and fall, Magnuson's shop is busy with bicycle enthusiast looking for the perfect set of wheels, or trail. He spends a lot of time educating folks on the sport.
For more information, visit Magnuson's Team Telecycle shop at 616 Baldwin St. in Woodland Park, or go to www.teamtelecycle.com.