Vašek Kolář is a seasoned BIU competitor and a stylish and creative street rider, well known for his web videos and ‘freestyle’ approach to riding competition sections and capable of competing with the best riders in the world. 2013 was his first season on the UCI international circuit and, with the differences between the UCI and BIU competitions, we were very interested to see how he would get on. With several great results, including making the Super Final in the Poland World Cup and the European Championships in Bern and the Final of the World Championship in South Africa (not to mention the many firsts in BIU World and European competitions), it seems it went pretty well! We caught up with him at the last round of the UCI World Cup in Antwerp to talk about his season and the competition in Antwerp.
This is your first season on the UCI international circuit – did you like it?
I liked it a lot. Next year I want to ride all the UCI world events including the World Cups and World and European Championships. To be honest, I was a bit scared of not making a good name for myself, but I won the qualification round at my first ever World Cup. I was really happy, but also a bit nervous about riding in the Semis. Always, when the other riders are warming up, I stay to one side because I’m shy I don’t have as much power for the big moves as the others. In the end though, I made it from the Semis to the Final, where I finished 4th and qualified for the Super Final. That was an incredible experience for me, because I didn’t expect it. No one did. I was really happy and then, at the next competition, the European Championships in Bern, I confirmed that it wasn’t just luck and made it into the Super Final there too!
I was happy to meet riders that I know from previous years and to make a lot of new friends. I really like the way the UCI events are organised. They are all on a very high level. I would never denounce the BIU or the UCI, but I can say UCI events are much bigger and at a higher level. For sure I want to ride both next season, because I like everything to do with trials. I would say though that BIU competitions are more focussed on natural sections and UCI events on manmade or artificial stuff. I would like to try a UCI competition on natural sections. That would be interesting!
What did you think of the sections in Antwerp? Did they suit your riding style? Were there any that you particularly liked or didn’t like?
I liked the competition in Antwerp a lot. Sure, it was more about big jumps than the World Championships in South Africa, but in the Semi-Final there wasn’t anything that was too big or out of my range. I was pretty relaxed in the qualifiers and was just doing my thing to get into the Semi-Finals and in the end I finished in third place. On the second lap, however, I had some pain in my back. I didn’t have a clue what was happening; I’d never had such a problem before. It got stiffer over the course of the day and I couldn’t do anything in the evening. On the morning of Semi Final day I couldn’t get off my bed and my back was totally seized up. I thought it was all fucked up. I was limping and I couldn’t even put on my socks. Later I loosened it up a bit and took a few pain killers. I was glad to even be able to ride my bike, but looking back I’m pretty embarrassed about that 16th place and I’m not sure if it was a good idea to ride. Antwerp is really beautiful as well, I liked the old buildings a lot. It would be cool to shoot a video there. I liked everything about that weekend except for my final result and what happened with my back. I was happy to see everyone after South Africa too.
It was a real shame about your back; you were riding so well in the Quarter Finals! 16th place is still a very impressive result, considering the circumstances. Do you think you could have made it to the Final or even the Super Final if you’d been 100% fit?
I was very disappointed with my result because I hate excuses. But in this situation I must excuse myself. If I was fit, I’m sure I wouldn’t have made the mistakes that I did and that I would have made a lot more of jumps there. I think I could have made it to the Final, for sure. The Final was very hard though and I’m almost sure I wouldn’t have qualified to the Super Final.
How’s your back doing now?
My back was stuck in Belgium. Probably lack of stretching before the comp or a cold wind blew my back… I don’t understand what happened. Now it’s back to normal and I hope it won’t happen again. I’m still embarrassed by my result in Belgium…
You were one of the most popular 20” riders, thanks largely to your relaxed attitude, riding style and tricks in the sections. Why is it that you feel able to ride so calmly and to do one-handers, crank flips and 360s in the sections, even when it’s a really important section (like in the BIU final last year)?
I like entertaining people and riding like that keeps me entertained as well. I can easily concentrate when I ride and I’m confident with my tricks, so I know nothing bad will happen if I do one in a section. I like doing stupid stuff like that, although one day I’m sure it’ll go wrong and backfire on me! Anyway, I like to have fun when everyone else is taking it so seriously and it makes me happy to pull tricks.
How do you see international trials at the moment? Is the future bright?
It would be awesome if trials riding could make it into the Olympics. I think it is beautiful sport for spectators and it’s a shame that there are some rubbish or boring sports and trials isn’t there.
Anything else you’d like to say? Anyone you’d like to thank?
I want to tell people to ride and ride and practice. Especially in the Czech Republic.
I feel that there are not enough people motivated and working hard in trials at the moment. I also want to thank Trialtech. I think it’s a great team and I’m very happy to be a part of it. To me, Kenny is the greatest personality in trials and my biggest respect goes to him. This year I shot a video with TRA and we got to know each other a bit. I compete with Rick on some events and we’re pretty good friends now. I’m happiest about meeting Dominik Oswald this year. He is great boy with extraordinary talent for his young age. If I’m lucky, we’ll visit each other over the winter to practice for next season. The Trialtech parts I’m using are fantastic too. I’ve been using the SL Carbon Riser Bars and Race Stem for quite a long time and this year I got the brand new Sport Lite fork, SL cranks and SL Ti BB which are all superb. Thanks guys! I want to thank everyone else who supports me and is kind to me and of course my other sponsors: DRESSLERshop, Chorrillas, Nugget, O´Neal, Mafakazz tattoo, LSD energy drink, and Chimpanzee.
We’ll be publishing interviews with the rest of the team that were in Antwerp over the next week or so, starting with Extreme Bike Sports riders Thomas and Matthias Mrohs and Dominik Oswald, then Andrei Burton and Rick Koekoek and will finish off with an interview with Kenny Belaey, the man who organised the event and finished on the 26″ podium. Keep checking back to see what they have to say and look out for the Trialtech at the Antwerp World Cup video, coming soon!
See photos of the rest of the Trialtech team and read our report from the Antwerp World Cup here.