I didn't have to spend too much time thinking which rider to pick for a photoshoot as I've known Aleksander (Olek) Wieczorkiewicz for over a decade, having seen him in action at various spots in Warsaw. He packed his bikes and we headed to Kielce, the largest city in the Swietokrzyskie Mountains, to check the Telegraf “resort” – a small hill with a ski lift popular among riders who want to ride some steeps but don't have the time to go to the real mountains. Olek is downhiller at heart who started competing in enduro recently and decided to put his enduro bike through the wringer. Telegraf offers some flowy trails with some kickers to add to the mix as well as natural terrain on the other side of the hill. Whatever you want to call it “hard enduro” or “punkduro,” Olek was there willing to flat land jumps, smash berms etc. We started with the downhill run where he was quick to defy gravity on a stepdown jump with a pretty narrow runout. Overcooking one of the tabletops he unclipped but rode it out one-footer style.
A berm shot to start things at the DH run
A blue rocket
Style for miles
Roosting the final berm on the DH track
The other side of the hill features some hits in the more natural terrain and we quickly decided that Olek should make a Superman impersonation (without the actual superman though) with my girlfriend Paula playing the part of an astonished onlooker. A fallen tree proved a tricky obstacle and a source of good laugh when the model tipped over the roots and ended up in an embarassing yoga position. This part of the photoshoot was rounded out with Olek overshooting a jump to a flat landing a couple of times, a series of berm explosions, and a puddle splash. As the restaurant had only chips to offer we didn't have an exquisite dinner after riding but checked the day's worth of photographing on a laptop.
A Superman impersonation to the astonishment of a helpless onlooker
Seconds from tipping over
A yoga warmup
Into the deep
Whipping it with style
Spreading his wings
Finding his inner Zen
A casual tabletop while overshooting to flat
Slashing a berm
Another berm assault
A puddle splash to rinse the dust off the bike
The following day we moved to Checiny – a medieval town with recently “renovated” ruins of a medieval royal castle dominating the landscape. Perched on a stony hill the castle offers a beautiful backdrop with moss-covered rocks and reddish soil. Olek tried to ride some impossible lines without much success but killed at other places. Unfortunately, he couldn't give his personal best as he strained his wrist at the Telegraf. The Castle Hill isn't the only hill in town and we moved to an abandoned quarry on the other side of the road at Rzepka Hill – the serene rock faces are now accompanied by modernist architecture of the European Centre for Geological Education. There is a loop around the quarry with a nice combination of off-camber loose rocks and red-soil paths.
A bit of climbing
The Castle Hill
A modern day knight riding his aluminium horse along the castle walls
A view with the cement works in the far background
Testing the limits of traction on lose off-camber rocks
Lost in the sea of green
The Zelejowa Hill – another quarry that fell into disuse – was the final stop on our itinerary. It was there that we finally chased spring. Lush green, rock faces, trees in bloom, tiny white flowers on the ground. The chase is over!
Navigating a narrow ridge
Lost in the quarry
A casual manual by the side of the cliff
The lush greens
Cruising through white flowers
The chase is over!
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