17 October 2019 12:03
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It’s a sunny day in Wrocław. Perfect for training. Not far from Duvenbeck’s Wrocław branch lies the Ślęża mountain, famous nationwide: it’s best to set off as quickly as possible; both drivers have learned to use every free moment – for mountain biking.
“It’s all Witek’s fault,” Adrian jokes as he stows his MTB bike in the load compartment of the Actros. He is 36-years-old and in excellent shape. “I used to have a passion for football, but I can no longer pursue it because of an injury. Then, when I became a truck driver I started putting on weight very quickly. Sitting for a long time just didn’t go with my eating habits. Fortunately, I started driving with Witek in a single truck. It turned out that we were both passionate cyclists. It was him that convinced me that we can train everywhere we go. Even when we’re travelling with the truck.”
His colleague, Witek Kapłon, just smiles: “I just find it difficult to stay seated; I’ve always done sports. Even when I went to Greece on holiday with my wife, I rented a mountain bike and trained there. I also jogged or did Nordic walking every day at six in the morning – I had to do at least ten kilometres. Only then was I ready for the beach!”
Adrian’s wife Kasia also shares his passion for sport. When the outdoor season ends, they both train in a gym. During the season, Adrian uses every available moment between trips and every break for his training. Sometimes on his own, but often with Witek. And, if the opportunity arises, with three other friends who work elsewhere but belong to the team. And of course he participates in mountain bike marathons too.
Adrian’s and Witek’s speciality is “MTB” or mountain biking. Fortunately both of them live in Lower Silesia – Adrian in Milicz and Witek in Polanica-Zdrój. Thanks to its ideal conditions, the region has been designated Poland’s mountain bike capital.
The annual mountain bike marathon racing series begins in Miękinia near Wrocław, while the competitions subsequently take place in various locations: in Polanica, Świeradów, Bielawa, Szklarska Poręba, Sobotka. Each one of these mountain bike marathons in the mega-category is between 50 and 60 kilometres long with an altitude difference of up to 1000 metres. Normally the team participates in a total of nine to twelve events every season. They are supported by their employer, Duvenbeck. Both of them drive vehicle components for Duvenbeck to automotive companies – including Daimler – in their green Actros. To do that they drive back and forth between Poland and Germany. In addition to conventional goods, Witek and Adrian always transport their bikes in their trailer.
“Sometimes we’re really exhausted after training, but even if one of us would like to take a day off, the other one spurs him on to make even more effort,” says Adrian who has been a truck driver for ten years. “You feel the elation after 30 to 50 kilometres – thanks to the endorphins surging through your body!”
Witek and Adrian usually train three to four times a week; sometimes they concentrate on the distance. Then they ride between 40 and 60 kilometres. On other days it’s time for qualitative training in as far as terrain conditions allow that. Then, 20 to 30 kilometres is enough for them. They also always have their Nordic walking poles with them too.
The great diversity in the training helps to keep them in best form. “Our biggest success? We lost weight: I lost ten kilogrammes and Adrian even lost 20 kilogrammes.” In the 2018 season, for the first time, they only participated in marathons in the mega-category. “Before that we only participated in the mini-category. Our work does cause some restrictions, but we also use the advantages of our job,” Witek explains. The 47-year old has been mountain biking for six years and driving for Duvenbeck for three. “Thanks to our work as drivers, we can train in very different places and in doing so we see a lot, especially as you can see a lot more from a bike than from the window of a truck.”
Anyone who does a lot of sport, has to change their eating habits; this brings another one of Witek’s passions to bear: cooking. “I’m lucky to be on the road with Witek. Even on the road he still manages to conjure up an excellent meal that is healthy for cyclists and all from just a few simple ingredients. I’m always telling him that he should have been a chef,” Adrian laughs. Witek adds: “We try to avoid fast food. After all we have a fridge in the Actros where we can store unprocessed ingredients and even prepare simple dishes such as tortillas, pasta with pesto and salads.”
After bike training on the slopes of the Ślęża mountain, there is time for a little relaxation and Witek reveals another one of his secrets: in the car park he makes an excellent coffee in an Italian moka pot. “The secret is that I add a few green coffee beans to the normal coffee which gives it an unusual taste!” Witek explains while he hands his colleague a steaming cup. “That was a great day!”
“The races allow us to maintain social contacts: they give us a reason to drive into the mountains every two weeks and take our families with us. The atmosphere is super because we know each other so well.”
Photos: Krzysztof Skłodowski