Final round always brings extra excitement, because apart from regular fight for a medal position participants are determined to improve their rating in the overall classification.Let us not be misled by first impressions that only podium motivates racers to do their best. In fact fans follow their emotions especially when they cheer favorites. I don’t believe, however, that those who are not top riders pass by almost unnoticed.
Downhill is a spectacular sport so that every rider enjoys fans’ eyes. Especially when it is a child who rides down the hill, contrasting to this dangerous discipline. Let’s agree as well that it is difficult to determine who is faster and who is slower without comparing to time. Anyway, time is a swindle. Each of us knows this and the racers are the most convinced. It offers only a small fraction of what really happened on the track and at the same time aspires to summarize everything. If these aspirations were justified we would see at the start only those riders who have a real chance to stand on the podium. Indeed, it is hard for a better criterion than the time but do not forget that the ranking has more items than the top three.
Before I took up downhill, I've been running marathons, which are probably the most massive sport events. I ran the Berlin marathon with another 34,999 runners and I know very well (does anybody think otherwise?) that after 3 next number appears and another one so you can count down to 35,000 and even more. I found (here probably I will be more original) that I can observe progress from the 17,564th to 14,443th position like it was attack for the gold medal. For me overtaking of every runner on the track was like setting a personal world record. And not just for me - I saw the admiration in the eyes of fans (I see it also in your faces when each Gnome is passing by), when in spite of fatigue on the last kilometers I was able to speed up, or at least maintain the momentum and create a draft in competitors’ ears.
Why am I writing all this? Because every time I come to comment the results of the Gnomes Cup I feel uncomfortable stopping at presentation of so-called leaders. I am aware of loosing emotions experienced and first of all caused by these riders, without whom the Gnomes Cup would remain an intimate meeting of a small group of enthusiasts, which would be interesting, if only, for a few of their friends. I loose everything that makes up the atmosphere of our races, what writes the true story of the gnomes revolution and describes the unique way of each gnome warrior, striving for perfection.
Sport is fascinating. We love to follow the success, even if it is not ours, and perhaps even more if it is a success of our favorites. This phenomenon also occurs in youth sports, especially when the skill of competitors levels up and in the same time some of them head for top sportsmen.
In kids sport there is something extra what fascinates us – young racers are punched by results like it was a ruthless fighter and this situation teaches them humility and accepting the loss. Morevoer they learn how to keep the distance to the result, which tells their race story even worse than a motto summarizes a novel.
As a father I experience a kind of satisfaction, when, despite my children’s struggle for the best result (which I always share with my kids), the result appears disappointing and then I can observe how in front of spectators my children do their homework - mature for the role of citizens, who are not distanced but do participate in the game for primacy, however they do so in a spirit of cooperation, or at least appreciate the better (this time) players than they are and recognize those who were not (today) lucky. Race becomes for them a game rather than a fight and even when after starting the race they go on the full gas they know when to give a break and together with recent competitors with the same determination tinker with a stick in a waterhole or exchange and try different bikes.
OK, let’s go to the facts.
Start lists dispelled doubts which girl will win the season. Due to absence of Laura Wojtas Marta Wypiór did not have any chance to make up for the points in overall classification to Inka Januła.
Irrespective of this in both runs Inka proved her dominance over the 5 year younger maRACH, who in the end of the last season won in the Mosorny Groń. This time maRACH had to be satisfied with the result of 14 seconds worse than Inka’s time.
Laura's absence helped Emi Waliczek in gaining third position in the final round and in the same time in the overall classification. This does not mean, however, that Emi did not have to fight for her rating. Martyna Czerniak who was faster than Emi in the Bachledova Valley appeared again at the start cell. Starting only for the second time in this season Darcy was unable to make up for losses in the overall classification but winning with Emi in Zawoja could break Emi’s run to the overall podium. Emi, however, crossed the finish line with a score over one minute better than the time of Darcy (and almost half a minute worse than maRACH’s result).
These time differences between girls established order of racers also in the second run, although each of them fought to the end.
We must also note that the fifth place went to 4-year-old Juliet, who made her debut in Bachledova Valley and, despite a much more difficult slopes, has decided to descent Mosorny Groń.
Also among the youngest boys there were no surprises, except maybe one - absence of a candidate for the third place in the overall classification – Mikołaj Potyrało, who, indeed, appeared on the training, but decided to quit racing on such a demanding track this year. Considering his basket of point which warranted him the third position in overall classification, he did not have a big dilemma. Łukasz Zychowicz looked like he was waiting for such Mikołaj’s decision.
He debuted in Bachledova Valley and thus having several points in the overall classification he could consider attack on the third position in the overall classification. The only thing to do for this 4-year-old racer was to do at least the second score in Zawoja. Acting in accordance with this plan (realistic or not), despite his age, Łukasz decided to descent along the track because alternative forest road was too long to give any chance for a good score. Well done but his older brother Mikołaj Mayki Zychowicz and Adaś Skórczyński were determined to keep playing their roles as they shared between themselves in the beginning of the season. In effect Mayki won and Adik was the second again and ever. But remember these two dudes will go to older category next year. They will have to strive much more than now to stand on the podium. Watching however their progress during this season we can be sure they will be succeeding also among older gnomes.
In the category of 8-11 – year-old boys we could watch the ultimate fight between the applicants for the Gnomes Cup: Kriss Kaczmarczyk and Oliver Gombala. Gombik had to win this round to stand on the highest podium, what seemed to be realistic as the track on Mosorny Groń was more downhill type than the previous ones, according to Gombik’s preferences.
However Kriss switched on turbo and appeared at the finish line twice with the best time in his category, which was the second score in open classification.
What was interesting the result of the third racer was not much worse, as it used to be in previous rounds. Surprisingly it was not Igor Wypiór, who did the third score, although after the first run it looked like he would stand on the podium. In the second run, however, Szymon Nowak appeared several seconds faster than iGEE. Szymon joined us in Wisła and apparently he rides faster and faster from round to round. It is high time for progress, because together with Kriss and Gombik Szymon will go to older category in the next season.
Don’t worry still some fighters will remain on the battlefield. This applies especially to iGEE and Wojtek Dendys who were fighting for the third place in the overall classification. IGEE finally won this battle but the little balance of points between them, in particular considering a huge progress Sisi made, creates a great prospective for the next season competition in this category.
Leader in the oldest category was rather certain. The question was rather whether the leader would establish the time of the day once again. Of course we talk about Kuba "Look at the time" Koniuszewski, who had a safe position in the overall classification, so safe that we could imagine he would be chilling his runs.
In the first run it seemed like he did preferred chill – he crossed the finish line with the third score in his category, worse than scores of Bartek Wajda and Dawid Ciućka. It turned out, however, that Kuba crashed on the track. Considering despite this crash Kuba’s time was only about three seconds worse than the leading score we prepared ourselves for the massacre in the second run if only Kuba rides clean.
Anticipating Armageddon, everyone, and especially those who have fought for a place on the podium of the season, "felt the pressure". Among them was Filip Rawicki, who before the final round was classified in the second place. As the time of his first run gave him only 6th place he risked a bigger correction in his rating. On the second run FilipPo decided to ride with his personal coach and shredded with Baldy Pink on the full gas. He was not able, however, to jump on the podium and had to find satisfaction in the fourth place, which resulted in a similar decrease in the overall classification (due to our error in counting points FilipPo took part in the decoration ceremony and got the prize for the third position, which helped him to bear bitterness of his debut season in the oldest category).
Then we saw Dawid improving his result from the first run. It was only one second correction but still enough to give him advantage over Bartek. Bartek, however, did not give up and beaten Dawid’s score of less than a second (at this moment, regardless how Kuba would run, Bartek jumped on the second place in the overall classification, while Dawid pushed FilipPo down from the lowest step of podium).
The last word, as usual, was for Kuba who appeared at the finish line pushed by his father Wojtek Diabeł (Devil) Koniuszewski. His score was 8 seconds better than Kriss’s result and 10 seconds faster than the time of Bartek’s run. You can call it a knockout. Although we were ready for it, we still remembered low revolutions of the engine named Koniu (Horse) in the spring and accelerating incredibly throughout the season. If the next season brings us similar spectacle with gnomes improving their skill we can be pretty sure that our motto “Puchar Skrzata składa squad na Puchar Świata" (Gnomes Cup builds a crew for the World Cup) will appear a reality.
Telling about the last round of the Gnomes Cup we cannot forget about those who like Business Angels in emerging markets helped us to spread our wings. Thanks to them, thanks to awards funded by them for our racers our competition not only looked professional, but first of all provided riders with a real motivation to win.
Throughout the season we were receiving such support from MTB33.pl (http://mtb33.pl
) - a bike shop, which is a distributor of Shaman Racing components, SECESJA Bike Center (http://secesja.pl
) – a Ghost distributor, and TOTALBIKES (http://totalbikes.pl
) - a distributor of Urge helmets as well as organizer of MTB training sessions and bike camps. Leaders of the season 2012 were decorated with the Gnome Champ jerseys made by STIGMA (http://stigmaracewear.com
), which also funded racing shorts and jersey (in extra small extra size;-) for Mayki. TOTALBIKES granted Urge fullface for Kuba and Urge dirt helmets for Inka and Gombik. NUKEPROOF (http://nukeproof.com
) upgraded Kriss’s bike with a new cockpit.
maRACH was awarded with Miss Pinky's cosmetics, i.e. Muc Off cleaning set, provided by its distributor - AIRBIKE (http://airbike.pl
). MTB33.pl in turn equipped with new stems made by Shaman's Racing bicycles of Adik and Bartek. FREECASTER.TV (http://freecaster.tv
) shared memories of the World Cup 2011 recorded on DVD. Hopefully someday FREECASTER.TV will produce memories from the Gnomes Cup. Our top riders were also equipped with tools and patches, sponsored by SECESJA Bike Center and what is more - in the long autumn evenings they will be able to watch "Strength in numbers" from limited edition, prepared by ANTHILL FILMS (http://anthillfilms.com
) crew especially for Gnomes.
Last but not least let me thank our collaborators, in particular Agata Ćwiżewicz for a heroic and very professional control over all the confusion on the place of event.
High five to the parents of our Gnomes for the fact that they shared the hardships of the Gnomes pilgrimage, for understanding the shortcomings, for the words and gestures of support and even real help, and for creating a unique atmosphere of the Gnomes events.
See you later... when the spring comes, but do not forget our motto: "Bye bike summer – win winter".