Our Pardubice colleague Josef Bystrianský succeeded in his request for funds from employee sponsorship for the second time. Previously, he received money for the production of jerseys, which now have the CSG logo on the back.
What specifically did you receive the sponsorship contribution for this time?
This year, we used the contribution directly for sponsoring the 5th edition of the Junior Cup in Hradec Králové, and we again used part of it to buy jerseys for our Junior team. The funds allocated for the Junior Cup were used to pay for the timing services.
Do you race in the Ghost Team jersey yourself?
Yes. I proudly identify with this team. It's my "passion". I have been collaborating with the team manager, Jan Hruška, since the team's inception. I have been actively racing for more than 20 years. Cycling is simply a long-term passion for me. I start with a spring training camp in Tuscany, then from April to October, I race every Saturday. There are many races every year. I, of course, keep track of my results and times. In the "Kolo pro život" series, I race in the 60+ category, and in the Prima Cup series, I am in the 55+ category. For example, in Dolní Morava, I recently came third in the 55+ category.
How did you experience this year's Junior Cup? Were you directly involved in its organization?
Yes, as every year. On Saturday, there was the "Kolo pro život" race in Chrudim, but part of the team started preparing for the Junior Cup from Friday. The rest of us who raced on Saturday were in Hradec from Sunday morning and continued with preparations for the actual races. The Junior Cup is demanding in terms of preparation due to many obstacles, and the subsequent cleanup after the race is also challenging, so the help of team members is crucial.
It was already the fifth edition. Are you managing to make the races known to the cycling public?
It's becoming a bigger and bigger event, and it's increasingly challenging to manage organizationally. Last year, we had a bit of a problem with the weather because the 4th edition was rainy and cold. Therefore, there were about 140 participants. But this year, we had over two hundred children, plus, of course, you have to add their companions. So our part of the park was bursting at the seams...
In the morning, there was a voluntary time trial. How many racers did it attract?
Of course, the time trial is for older children. Otherwise, the race is in several categories, from small children on balance bikes up to fifteen years old.
Do mainly children from Hradec and its surroundings participate?
Not only. Children come from quite far away. It's practically the whole of eastern Bohemia, and we also have participants from Prague, Příbram, Ostrava, Brno...
The race is gaining some fame; children, or rather parents, tell each other about it. We meet at "Kolo pro život", chat together, and thanks to that, children from far away also sign up. Is participation in the "home race" mandatory for children from your team?
It's a challenge for them and also a priority. Each member chooses races according to their possibilities and tastes. But this race is a "passion" not only for juniors but also for parents who are members of the main Ghost Team. Moreover, the children also look forward to it because they meet the whole team, and the red and white jerseys can be seen everywhere you look...
The main thing is that they enjoy it, right?
Definitely. Everyone loves medals, children are competitive, but they wish each other success, support each other, and cheer for each other. It's like a family team. On the contrary, at "Kolo pro život", some children (especially some parents) strive for the best results. They want to get into the Czech Cup. Then there are quite unpleasant scenes when parents shout at children. At the Junior Cup, we try to have a system that primarily eliminates ambitious parents and creates an atmosphere for children that they enjoy and are not stressed. It is important for us to motivate children, and that's why we reward all children, both in the time trial and in the mass race.
In the family of my acquaintances who are involved in cycling, it is said that it is better to be dead than second. So you don't encounter that?
That doesn't apply to us. We know parents who shouted at their children that since they invested so much money in them, they should do more for it. We don't want such people in our ranks. We choose new members, and someone from the existing members must always recommend them. Otherwise, we don't accept them. We care more about health, healthy competitiveness, and fun. And especially about a group that supports each other. The saying you mention applies more to top-level sports, and even there it's not entirely literal... Even there, winning at all costs is sometimes very shortsighted.
Was this year's fifth edition of the race the best from your point of view?
In my opinion, definitely. The weather was good, although considering how warm it was, maybe even too much. But the organization and the accompanying program also improved. Other companies also sponsor the race. For example, thanks to partners, children could borrow scooters, there were toys, sports equipment from Decathlon, archery, basketball, tennis, and table football. So everyone could enjoy the day in this way. There was also a demonstration of cycle-trial, where race participants could see how to handle obstacles. We tried to fill the time between races for the children so that they wouldn't get bored. Moreover, we announce and reward 74 children on the winners' podium, so just the prizes take up one full van, and that can only be obtained thanks to partners.
You work as the chief technician in transportation within CSG. Do you have enough time for cycling?
I go to work at six, come home around four or five, depending on the need, so I honestly don't have much time. But when I do have some free time, I get on my bike and go for a ride. Both in summer and winter. For me, it's relaxation, and I relieve stress this way. I recommend everyone to try it."