Beskidy Trophy, the four day stage race in the Polish Beskidy mountains starts on Thursday. This is my main goal for the season and what I've been training all winter for.
This will be my fourth time that I take part. 2015 I placed ninth, 2016 fourth and last year I came in sixth place.
It's a tough race: You're either going steeply uphill och hurling downhill at breakneck speeds. There are almost no flat sections in the race.
I will be using my Trek Top Fuel 9.9 RSL with SRAM Eagle. 34T chain ring in front (10-50 cassette). My nice new super light Duke wheels. Tires will be Rocket Ron 2.25" Snakeskin up front and Rocket Ron 2.1" Snakeskin at the back. This means I will go up one size in width up front compared to previous years. I rode the same setup (except for the wheels) at Andalucia Bike race this year and it worked really well. The added front-end grip is very useful in the technical downhills.
I have both my Cube full-susp bike and the Trek Top Fuel to chose from for the race. I like both bikes but as a downhiller the Trek is so smooth and confidence inspiring. That's the reason I chose it over the Cube.
You may remember that I had problems with my brake pads wearing out and losing my rear brake last year during this race. This year I changed to new metallic compound pads yesterday. Hopefully they'll survive all four stages. Although obviously I will bring spare ones
Form and Weight
As I'm deep into racing season my sessions on the Monark exercise bike have gotten fewer. This makes it harder to judge form. Ahead of Andalucia Bike Race I had a better check on my Watts but that was because it was i February and I was hitting that Monark every week. Now with races every weekend and even some in the middle of the week it's hard to combine with hard interval indoor sessions. Also the lovely weather that we've been having lately have made it more attractive to bike outdoors than indoors. In the few indoor interval sessions that I've done have produced decent Watts.
As for race results early this Spring they have not been great... Okay but not great. Billingeracet a couple of weeks back was going to be the big test but due to mechanical issues that race did not go too well.
Weight has been a struggle again. I got down to 70 kg ahead of Andalucia Bike Race in February. Then, after the race I peaked at 76 kg just a few weeks later. And now I've been moving gradually down again. 70.8 kg this morning, just 2 days ahead of the start of Beskidy. I really must find a better process for this... like NOT gaining all that weight between important races. I have another chance at this because I'm doing another mountainous stage race in July: Sudety Challenge.
Weather in Poland
The current weather predictions for the race look terrible. Rain rain rain... and some thunder too. I really hope they change before the race starts. However all the rain the area seems to have had lately will probably make the terrain wet and muddy. I'm glad that I have the wider front tire.
It would be great to finish in the top-3 this time....