Thursday, 20 June 2019

Beskidy Trophy 2019

Beskidy 2019: Fifth place.

Am I happy with this result? Well, I'm pissed off by the fact that I had my rear brake problems and therefor rode stage 2 and 3 too slowly and carefully because I got scared. But I also know that the opposition this year was really tough so... Yeah, I'm pleased with the result.

[Update February 2020] It turned out the brakes on the bike were seriously defective. I had actually noticed this a couple of times the months before but had ignored it because I thought I was just braking too much and therefor overheating them. This turned out to not be the case. I had the brakes serviced and they replaced the pistons, bushing and a bunch of other stuff. When I then took the bike to the mountains and downhills of Chiang Mai there was no more brake overheating.

Final standings Beskidy Trophy 2019 M40

Stage 4

Sixth place in M40. 28th place overall.

I decided to stop braking today and just grow a pair of balls. And so I did. I relied mostly on my front brake and just used the rear one when I really had to. The rear brake only overheated on two occasions. The downhills felt really good and a German dude even commended me on my technique: "You're riding downhill much better than you did yesterday!"

Before the stage I had my Swedish pal Calle Nelson just two minutes behind me so I saw him as my main threat to holding on to fourth place. On the first climb of the day I was ahead of him and then never saw him again. I finished the stage some 20 minutes ahead of him. When I talked to him after the stage he told me that he had a puncture and was also feeling really tired.

Does this mean I held onto fourth place overall then? Unfortunately no. I finished the stage in sixth place (I was bit surprised that I was not higher up as I felt it had gone really well). The guy who was in sixth place in the totals before today's stage, Mindaugas Zlatkus, won today's stage by enough of a margin to pass me and steal fourth place.

Stage 3

Sixth place in M40. 28th place overall.

Major problems with rear brake today. Even braking for a short period of time overheated the brake. I had to descend slowly and lost time. I was rather annoyed.

Still, sixth place on the stage and if my calculations are correct I'm still in fourth place overall.

Stage 2

Sixth place in M40. 34th place overall.

Top-6 M40:
14 M4/1 JABŁOŃSKI, Marcin          3:44:55.41
20 M4/2 CIBART, Piotr BALTIC HOME                3:51:31.86
24 M4/3 ZACHARSKI, Szymon Bike Shop Radom        3:53:13.93
29 M4/4 NELSON, Calle Team Goats                 3:55:29.49
31 M4/5 JAWORSKI, Tomasz Baltic Home Świnoujście 3:56:24.50
34 M4/6 LAPAJNE, Alexander CKX                   4:00:24.56

Most of today's stage was new for me. I had not ridden it before in my previous years of racing Beskidy Trophy. This means I didn't know quite what to expect.

Things started of well: There was quite a bit of flat riding leading up to the first hill. I decided to make sure to stay with the lead group and get a good lift on the flat part. This went well and I barely needed to pedal.

All in all there were three climbs. The first one I held back a bit because I was feeling quite worn after yesterday's stage. The downhill after was a bit tricky but went mostly well.

Going up the second hill I pushed harder and was able to take quite a few places going up the hill. But then came the big surprise: A loooong downhill on trails that are part of a bikepark. There were jumps, drops and other tricky stuff. A lot of it without any warning what so ever. I became insecure and overly careful. This means I got off the bike on several occasions where I felt it was too dangerous and walked. I was passed by perhaps 10 or 15 riders and this was rather depressing.

After this downhill there was a longish flat section leading up to the last hill. Here I felt I needed to catch up for time lost on the last downhill. I gunned it and started passing riders. At the bottom of the last hill there was a feeding section which I just blew past as I knew there was another one halfway up the last climb. I passed about 10 riders filling their bottles there.

Going up the last hill started off quite well and I passed some more riders but towards the top I got really tired and my watts dipped below 200 on a couple of occasions. At the top I was physically and mentally exhausted and it's always hard to start a technical descent in this state. I managed okay but then halfway down the rain started pouring down (see photo below). Luckily I had passed the worst part of the descent at this point and was able to handle the quickly worsening conditions quite well.

Over the finish line in 6th place.

I've lost one place and am fourth overall now

1. JABŁOŃSKI, Marcin  3:35:42,47 3:44:55,41 7:20:37,88
2. CIBART, Piotr      3:38:19,29 3:51:31,86 7:29:51,15 
3. ZACHARSKI, Szymon  3:44:09,04 3:53:13,93 7:37:22,97
4. LAPAJNE, Alexander 3:38:12,76 4:00:24,56 7:38:37,32
5. KUBALA, Tomasz     3:31:44,57 4:07:59,69 7:39:44,26
6. NELSON, Calle      3:48:03,40 3:55:29,49 7:43:32,89 

After my problems with overheating rear brake during stage 1 I switched to a beefier brake disc in the rear. It helped a bit during stage 2 but it still overheated a few times. When this happens the brake lever does nothing and I have to pump it to get any braking back again.

Stage 1

Third place in my category. 20th place overall.

Top-5 M40:
11 M4/1 KUBALA, Tomasz Pressing Bike Team 3:32:04.57
15 M4/2 JABŁOŃSKI, Marcin      3:35:52.47
20 M4/3 LAPAJNE, Alexander  CKX               3:38:17.76
22 M4/4 CIBART, Piotr BALTIC HOME        3:38:19.29
27 M4/5 ZACHARSKI, Szymon   Bike Shop Radom    3:44:09.04

The weather outlook for this year's Beskidy Trophy had been depressing for the last few weeks before the race. With that in the back of our heads we were surprised when we arrived in Istebna the day before the race and it was sunny and dry everywhere. This morning the weather was still super nice and sunny... and perhaps even a bit too warm.

I was seeded in the first start group. I noticed as I entered grid I noticed that Szymon Zacharski was there and I exchanged a few words with him (Szymon has won Beskidy Trophy most of the year's that I've done the race). He said that he didn't feel his chances this year were too good because there were some very strong compeditors in the M40 category. That scared me a bit.

At 9:00 sharp we were off (see the video below) and straight into the first climb of about 400hm. I held on to the front group for a while until the pace got too quick and then picked my own rhytm up the hill. Things felt good and I noticed afterwards that I'd done the climb almost a minute quicker than any of the previous year's.

Overall the climbs went well for most of the race. The downhills on the other hand had my rear brake overheating and the brake lever went slack a few times. I had to slow down and use my front brake and lost a few placings in that way. It's quite a scary feeling to completely lose brake function in the rear when going steeply downhill. At one point the brake overheated so extremely that when I got down on the flat it wouldn't release until I pumped it hard a few times. Overall, when my brakes actually worked, I felt brave in the downhills and didn't lose any time.

Towards the end of the race I got rather tired and the last climb went 40 seconds slower than last year. I still managed to cross the line in third place in M40 and so I'm very happy with that result.

I'm running Ashima super-light brake discs and I think I will change my rear brake disc to a more massive one to hopefully avoid overheating tomorrow.

Video from start of stage 1

Video from first climb (you can see me 29 seconds into the video)

Strava link

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