FILIP ADEL: Returning to Cape Epic meant a lot to me

FILIP ADEL: Returning to Cape Epic meant a lot to me

At the start of the Cape Epic, one of the toughest mountain bike stage races, Filip Adel and Jaroslav Kulhavý stood side by side as a pair of the newly formed Superior Lions team. This race is a test not only of physical and technical prowess, but also of mental endurance. And this year's Cape Epic prepared many obstacles for these two experienced marathoners. But it was undoubtedly another important chapter in the careers of both drivers and an opportunity to show the strength of team spirit and mutual support.

Filip, how do you evaluate this year's race and what did it teach you? 

Coming back to Cape Epic meant a lot to me, for the last three months I've been focusing everything on this race. The fact that we had to pull out after the fourth stage is of course disappointing, but unfortunately that's also part of the Epic. I reminded myself again that no one is sure of anything here until they cross the finish line. I was hoping for a more significant result, but unfortunately, just as we were getting going, Jard's crash came. 

The trails lead through the South African wilderness. Do you notice the beauty of the country when you race?

Of course, there is not much time to enjoy the race and you usually only realise how interesting the scenery was in retrospect from the TV footage. The way the route is often wound around the trails, you have to concentrate all the time. But you could say it's a biker's paradise.

What is the biggest challenge for the riders during these 8 days?

Survive it. The important thing is not to fall and not to destroy the material, those are probably the two most important things. The big scare is also intestinal problems, which cause a lot of teams to withdraw every year. It's pretty much expected that someone will have a weak day during the eight stages, but if you can't recover from that, and there are more of those weak days, it's easy enough to make the race a misery. The stages themselves are very demanding and combined with the dust and extreme heat it can do its own thing. Finishing the Cape Epic is simply not an easy thing to do, you need both performance and luck

Organising a team can be a challenge in itself. Who all is behind you and what does it entail? 

Preparations for the race itself start several months in advance, everything needs to be planned thoroughly, whether it is things related to the start itself, logistics or the choice of accommodation. We were working with four people on the spot, Honza Jobánek took care of the organizational matters and also our bikes. My girlfriend Kristýna was in charge of cooking and marketing. Their daily schedule was absolutely crazy though, they basically went from 4am to 10pm. I want to thank them so much for that, because it really wouldn't have been possible without them. We got to race during the morning and then in the afternoon we were able to regenerate and be pretty chill.

How did you enjoy riding with the legend of our cycling Jarda Kulhavy this year?

That's right, Jarda is a legend, so it was definitely nice and motivating at the same time. The beginning didn't go as we had hoped, but gradually we got going and I believe that if it wasn't for the unfortunate crash, we would have shown up again. But you don't play on ifs, we weren't the only team that had to withdraw. 

What is the strategy for racing in pairs? Do you have it prepared in advance?

Of course, we will tell each other in advance what would be good to do, where to be in front and so on. But at the same time we both knew that the plan is one thing and the racing reality is another. The pair are always guided by the current feelings and it's ideal when both are balanced, whether in terms of performance or in the descents. At Cape Epic, the 2-minute rule is the amount of time that shouldn't separate riders in a pair. If there's a problem, especially after the start when it's uncluttered, it can happen that one loses sight of the other and a gap develops. Normally, however, there is no point in riding apart, the important thing is to pull together and be in contact at all times.

In 2015 you competed with Honza Jobánek and you placed 12th. What is your goal for the next years? Are you thinking about top 5?

First of all, I would like to return to Cape Epic again. If I have the opportunity, I would like to improve my current best. But in retrospect I remember the first year with Jober fondly, we slept in a tent on the racecourse and at the same time we went around it on fixed boats without telescope. When I compare it to this year, when we had a brand new Superior fully equipped with the best, it's incredible to me how we did it then. 

Do you prefer riding solo or in pairs?

I think that in most cases, everyone prefers to race for themselves because they go for what they can afford at the moment. That's my case too. But Epic is all about the duos and it's always been something interesting for me, even if it doesn't go to plan. We have to react as a team, solving crises and punctures together, then it's always nice to cross the finish line and say we nailed it. 

Have you always ridden Cape Epic on Czech tyres? 

Not only Cape Epic, but my whole marathon career is connected with the Czech brand. You probably know which one. 

And what type of Rubena tyres did you choose for the Cape Epic?

Before the race I was not quite clear what combination I would ride. A week before the race I was riding Scylla in the front and Rascal in the back, but in the end I went for the sure thing and put Scylla in the back, thanks to the amount of broken trails. This race is also an extreme challenge for tyres and I was happy to be able to rely on the tyres. As much as frames and geometry have moved on over the years, the same is true of tyres. You need super grip, solid weight and high durability. The Rascal and Scylla models deliver all of that. Just to add, I've been carrying 2.25" tyres with pressures of 19.5 psi in the front and 21 psi in the rear.

Filip, thank you for the interview and we wish you many successes and rides without punctures or injuries not only in this season but also in the upcoming ones. 


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