Former BH/Garneau rider Pavel Gonda, who tore through NY racing in a year that culminated in a 14th place finish at the Battenkill pro race, is the new Czech Masters CX champion. Pavel returned to the Czech Republic last year to work in law, but managed to squeeze in enough training to stay in shape. Here's the race report he sent to our team newsgroup:
I just wanted to announce the news, I have been training like hell the last 2 months (1.5 hours a day during lunch breaks), and it paid. I have the jersey and no one can take it.
Well, I did not beat the world champion Stybar nor anyone like him. If I raced in the pro nationals, I would probably get lapped after 50 minutes and be 20-25th. Although it is hard to estimate, because I was being lapped after 55 minutes in October, but then stopped racing in the elite and joined the old farts. I think I have been getting better and better, but you never know. Anyway, once I got lapped by Stybar after 66 minutes 200 meters before the finish. That was my best result, look how many do not get lapped in the elite worlds.
Anyway, this win made me think over my participation in the masters worlds in Belgium and I decided I will race there, if I stay healthy, which is not that easy. The worlds are on Jan 22, I will write a report after that...
The nationals were quite easy. 60 minutes before the start my shifter broke. I had to lend my friend's bike that was a bit bigger and was not braking well. As I rode on the bike for the first time in the competition, I realized the bad braking in a downhill and was forced to crash in order to slow me down and not break some fucking trees and logs (or my bones). Anyway, after the start I was 4th wheel going into the terrain. After a long uphill I got first and started testing the opponents. In short sprints after 3 turns I earned some 5 metres. And then more and more. Being forced to ride aggressively from the very start the guys panicked and crashed. Because of the brakes I crashed as well, but still kept some distance before them. My lead was getting bigger and bigger each lap, no big battle, no ellbowing. If I had my own bike, I think I could do 40 secs better.
The terrain was hard, the pros were falling also. And they rode in mud mainly, our track was more icy 2 hours before the pros.
How is life going guys? No one planning to visit your old good friend in Prague? Go to hell :-)
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