In the time of collective isolation and inactiveness we talked with MTB rider from Croatia – Milo Pilski
How would You introduce Yourself?
As one ordinary and simple guy from Zagreb who adores MTB and everything connected with cycling. I have 32 years (8 actually since I was born on 29th February :) ), graduated as master mechanical engineer, and in my free time I cycle.
Last year You achieved great result ar maybe the World’s toughest MTB race – Hero MTB Himalaya 2019. You and Your race partner Davor Ruzic won 3rd place. How did it look like?
Yes, that is one of our biggest success in cycling life. The race is riding 15 years in India across Himalaya. It is a stage race that lasts 8 days, every day stages between 60 and 90 km and with 2000 – 3500 m elevation gain. Davor and I rode it as CRO MTB Team (feel free to look at our Instagram and Facebook profiles).
When anyone asks me how it was, first word that cross my mind is hard, very hard! Steep climbs, steep descents, lack of oxygen at higher altitudes, then rain and freezing, then from 3 degrees You rode from cloud to the sun that burns… tones of mud, sleeping on the rain in tents… When You hear this, it doesn’t sound tempting and You can easily ask Yourself why we even went there! It is impossible to describe how beautiful it was! Beautiful nature, fascinating views and endless greenery.
Whenever it was difficult for us, we would forget on it when we would see where, how and in what conditions their locals and children live. And they are happy! And almost everyone of them stood on that mud and rain with a smile on their faces to cheer us up… Indescribable feeling. And the happiness when You finish the race… unforgetable!
Davor and I worked very well in team, and it was our first race this type as a team. When we started and saw list of competitors, we weren’t so optimistic, so we set our goal just ride and finish the race without much thought about result. At the end we were third, and maybe we could have been second if we had no technical problems (and me stomach problems). When I, after 4th stage, spent the all night vomiting in mud toilet, and barely got up in the morning with stomach pain and high temperature, I almost quit. But we decided to try. That stage was, for me, the longest ride ever, never ending story. But when I saw the goal, I think I was healthier immediately. :)
Davor and I were great moral support to each other in hard time, and even bigger support and motivation were our girls who were with us and every day waited us eagerly at the finish line.
Biking is not Your primary job… how can You manage to balance between job and family? And how much time You spend on practice during the week?
I don’t! :) That’s right, I have regular job, and bicycle is my hobby, big love and pleasure. I know many people who say that they don’t have time for practice, but I think it is all up to will and organization. And, when You love something, You’ll always find time for it. :) During the week I practice about 10 hours, and a few hours during weekends. Beside bike, I go to the gym and regularly work out at home and hiking as whenever I can. :)
In free time, every minute I spend with my girlfriend, our puppies and in the family circle. Also, I enjoy good food (maybe You can’t see), movies, concerts, traveling…
Do You cycle only through the sport or in ordinary life also?
I love cycling as sport and love racing, but I don’t live off it, I cycle because I love it! Cycling in daily life is for me great exhaust valve from everyday stress and bike is great vehicle and tool to discover some beautiful places that I would never see by car or on foot. I use bike every day to go to work, and beside avoiding traffic jams, I save a lot of time since I get on the bike right away after work to workout. :)
Did You cycle other destinations, like a tourist? And if You were, can You sort out several of them?
I’ve traveled a lot of destinations in Croatia by bike, through the races and as a tourist. I could point out Istria and our islands as great cycling destinations for all seasons, beautiful Dolomites in Italy, and my favorite Sljeme (above Zagreb) unfortunately with less and less forest. I am sorry for not being more in Slavonia, but I would single out mountain Papuk as great MTB place. I can conslude that Croatia is beautiful cycling destination. And Himalaya :)
How do You spend time in corona time?
Almost as usually, except I have less practice. :) I work normally and go by bike to work. After job I cycle through some woods where there is no people to inhale some fresh air and stay fit as I can. I try to be careful and keep bigger distance from people. I also think that stores, people on the work and in public transport are bigger danger…. I miss my friends, group bike rides and trips, but it isn’t so bad and like this… to relax from everything and finally have more time for family. :)
It’s not so black, ride bike, but more responsible, smarter and with more care than ever!