As it often happens in such cases, the history of Avenga’s Bike Team grew from a few passionate cyclists into a company activity. Avenga promotes sports and an active lifestyle as a company, so it is great that we have people on board who are willing to take part in such initiatives . . . ‘as long as there is a will, the rest is just a formality’. Avenga’s Bike Team represents the company both in mountain and road cycling events. Excitingly, our logo has appeared three times on top of Śnieżka as a part of the Uphill Race Śnieżka.
Would you like to get to know our main representatives better? How about we introduce them to you through a mini interview.
What is your role at Avenga?
I have been working at Avega for many years as a Network and IT Systems Administrator. I am responsible for IT system maintenance in the company.
What does cycling mean to you? How long have you been cycling?
Cycling is for me first and foremost a passion, which gives me a lot of pleasure and joy, and at the same time helps me take care of my health and physical activity. At a more competitive level, it is also a great way to overcome your own weaknesses. Of all the varieties of cycling, I particularly like mountain biking, which I have been practicing for 6 years.”
Which race is most memorable for you?
It’s hard for me to choose one such race, because there are a few special ones that are stuck in my memory. For sure, it was my first Bike Marathon. I was very stressed out despite the fact that the goal was just to finish it. The place (position) was of no importance to me at that time. Despite watching videos from previous seasons and reading all that was available online 😉 on the subject, I had the impression that I had no idea what I was signing up for. It turned out to be great!
For sure, the first Uphill Race Śnieżka was also such a start. A very tough route with very tough conditions and very tough competition. I had moments of doubt about if I would be able to make it near Strzecha Akademicka and on the last very steep meters of the route ending at the top of Śnieżka. But, I managed to cover the whole route in a decent time and without touching the ground. I felt joy and had strong emotions at the top.
There was also the Bike Marathon in Polanica, where I punctured my tires four times, with the last time being just 3 kms before the finish line. I could not repair it and I finished the race walking with the bike, as running is not my strong point 🙂
In fact, I could mention many such races which are somehow special and memorable to me.
What is the atmosphere like at cycling events and marathons?
These events are mainly for amateurs, but in fact, really for everyone. Of course, many competitors take the starts very seriously, but the organizers don’t just care about the high sports level, but also about the nice atmosphere. During each edition the route is prepared in several versions, with different levels of difficulty and distance, including family routes and Bike Kids for the youngest participants. In the ‘bicycle town’ you can often find small food stores and exhibitors’ stands. There are also inflatables for children, a funfair, music concerts and/or lotteries. However, on the route you can always count on someone to help you by providing motivation or a (tire) pump.
What is the biggest challenge during the marathon?
It mainly depends upon the chosen route and its location. I race the MEGA distance, which is a medium distance and usually about 50 km long with about 1200-1500 meters of elevation gain. The MEGA and GIGA routes always run in more demanding terrain, both technically and in terms of fitness. The routes are arranged in the mountains and for the most part they consist of technical sections strewn with rocks and roots, steep or very long (several kilometers) uphill, and steep downhill parts. The organizers do their best so that even very advanced competitors don’t get bored. That’s why the necessary technical skills on more difficult routes can be a challenge. In addition, the competition is held regardless of the weather, so you often have to deal with heat, wind, rain, mud, and sometimes snow.
I work as an IT Architect and I help clients to start, run and implement complex IT projects. Due to my experience, I often perform additional roles in projects, such as lead analyst, business process architect or am a test or data migration coordinator. Currently, I am implementing and migrating a CRM and DMS system at Fortum.
It is . . . breaking away from everyday duties/work, resetting my mind, an opportunity to spend time with nature and be in the mountains which I love, a bit of competition, taking care of my appearance and health, etc. I have been cycling ever since I can remember :), but seriously – as far as taking part in competitions and regular hard workouts are concerned – for the last 5 years, before that there were other sport activities.
The race in Świeradów Zdrój, 5 years ago, with the temperature around 0 °C, during which I almost ended up in hospital. I was riding an old bike with V-Brakes, which wore out to zero due to water + mud. During the last downhill ride, I almost hit head-on a huge black tank near the ski lift. Of course, I fell off the bike, ended up with bruises and had to buy a new bike for the next season that had decent brakes and a good shock absorber.
IT is very direct and sociable, and sometimes people motivate each other on the route shouting “you can do it”, “keep going” etc. It also happens, especially in the further sectors, where the beginners start, that competitors take the competition a little too seriously, shouting and screaming to let them pass even if it’s impossible.
First of all, to make it to the finish line without hurting yourself or destroying your equipment, especially when you have already fallen off the bike dozens of times and have experienced a broken shoulder, as in my case. During marathons you fight first of all against your own weaknesses.
What is your role in Avenga?
I am a so-called Contractor and I work for a client, like a Systems Administrator.
Cycling is a big part of my life. I train 10-12 hours a week and compete in about 15 races a season. Without training and racing in competitions, cycling wouldn’t give me so much pleasure. I love competition and it is the most important thing that motivates me to train every day. During the season, I do on average 12 thousand km on two wheels, which adds up to more than 450 hours a year “in the saddle”.
I started my adventure with road biking in 2012. Actually, I took part in two cycling races at the age of 10, but it was a short adventure and then I took a break for over 20 years. However, cycling has always been present in my home as my dad used to be a cyclist and a junior cycling coach.
Of course, those in which I won good places. I remember very well the Memorial Classic 2019 in Środa Śląska, where I won 1st place in the M3 category and 1st place in the OPEN category. I also remember well my 3rd place in the M3 category in Korona Kocich Gór.
I also remember my first serious start well, even though it was not very lucky. It was the Road Mountain Amateur Championship in which I came in 4th position with a small loss to the podium, and on the 3rd of the 5 laps of the race I punctured a tire. After changing the wheel, for which I had to wait a long time, I finished the competition in a distant position.
What is the atmosphere like at cycling events, marathons?
I participate only in road races, so the atmosphere before the start and after crossing the finish line is relaxed and almost everyone treats these competitions as fun.
Of course, during the race everyone fights for the best place and wants to prove something to themselves and to beat the other riders. However, sometimes the pressure to get good results is too high for some of the competitors and there are unpleasant situations.
During a race, many things play a very important role and in fact every race can play out in different ways. Every race has a different route and depending on whether it is flat or mountainous, different riders are fighting for the top spots. The most important thing is good preparation and faith in your abilities, then the result comes on its own 😉
What is your role in Avenga?
Currently I am a Team Leader with the recruitment team in Warsaw.
For me cycling is an escape from reality and a stress relief, and I am also a tourist, an explorer, and a naturalist, so the type of cycling that I do allows me to satisfy these needs. I’ve been cycling since I was a kid, but my more competitive approach to cycling dates back to 2013 when, with a bunch of friends, we set off on a tourist expedition across Poland; 1000 kms with panniers along the Vistula river, from the very source, on Barania Góra to the mouth by the sea. This is where it all started and a year later we planned our biggest trip – the Danube 2014. That’s when The Rolling Wheels ‘group’ was formed, and whose traces can still be found on social media. For the Danube expedition we gained sponsors and patrons, and eventually we even found ourselves on the cover of the industry magazine Rowertour. The whole thing lasted over a month and we covered 3000 km, visited 7 countries, were in 4 European capitals and we spent only a few nights in a real bed under a roof. In the following years, I took part, among others, in an expedition around Ireland and Northern Ireland completing the Green Velo trail, doing a tour of Mazury and Suwalszczyzna, and completing 1000 kms along the eastern border of Poland.
For me the breakthrough year was 2019, when I started individual starts in gravel and bikepacking marathons, simply put – long-distance races in difficult terrain. They are usually at distances of 500+ kms based on the principle of self-sufficiency (without external support). That’s when I did the 2nd edition of the Wisla 1200 marathon, a year later the 1st edition of Great Lakes Gravel, and in between more or less organized shorter events. This year I am going to take part in another 3-4 events.
Definitely the Vistula 1200, which is one of the longest events of its kind in Europe with the largest number of participants. I managed to cover a difficult route leading through the whole of Poland from the south to the north in about 130 hours among the 25% of the best racers. The most memorable moments for me were accidental fans along the route providing us with water, everyday conversations with other participants, beautiful landscapes, high emotions at the end of the race and then crossing the finish line.
At the marathons I take part in, only a certain group of leaders race hard from the very beginning and fight for places on the podium, and the rest of the participants usually fight with their own weaknesses, trying to cover 200-300 km a day and sometimes without sleep. Despite that, the atmosphere is very friendly, and in case of breakdowns or defects you can surely count on help or support (only from other participants).