Pavel Gonda won the Battenkill Cat 2 race. While this is a great achievement Pavel in a refreshing view of sport writes “I value more finishing a hard race with the pros than winning a cat 2 race.”

My goal for the season is to get into shape again and do well in the Collegiate Nationals. I was racing between 2003 and 2005 in Czech Republic. Due to the work load I stopped training and racing until April 2009 (I played squash once a week and tried to do something during the weekends, but biked only about 3000 miles during those 4 years), when I learned that I was admitted to NYU and will have time to train and race again.

Since then I started training with the goal to race here in USA, do as well as possible and try to earn a medal in the collegiate nationals. That is my ultimate goal. I missed that goal in CX collegiate nationals in Bend, OR, where I flatted in the first lap and broke my wrist in following turn. I finished 12th.

My other goal is to race in some of the “big” races in US, but with the categories system of USA this goal seems to be far away, although it seems that I will get into at least one of these big races. I value more finishing a hard race with the pros than winning a cat 2 race. If I could, I would join the cat 1/2/3 races from the very beginning of my stay here in USA, rather than biting through all the categories to get to cat 1 – I hope I will get there one time.

The race report:
The week before Battenkill I did not sleep well and did not know whether this fact would have any consequences on my performance. In the up-hills I did with the field I did not feel well.

Therefore, when the field slew down significantly after 15 miles into the race, I decided to ride in my own tempo – so that I did not have to “sprint up the hills” with the field, but rather take them in my own pace. Fortunately, I joined a good break-away mate and without much trouble we gained a gap of 2.30.

Since then I started to work really hard – until then I counted with the fact that the field will catch us. We gained a gap of 5 minutes. My breakaway mate was very strong in the begining, but after Greenwich he was getting weaker and weaker. I waited for him a bit on the top of one of the hills and pulled a significant percentage of time since then (only about 10 miles?), although he pulled from time to time as well.

At this place I must thank him that he gave me to drink from his bottle, when nobody gave me watter in the feed zone, although I pleaded for that. The last information of our gap we got soon after the feed zone at Greenwich (the gap shrank from 5 minutes to 3.30), and since then we had no information. Therefore, I decided to attack on the last hill, managed to get away and powered with all my strength to the finish.