The latest editions of the Passion Sponsorship Program showed that at Sii Poland there is no shortage of the lovers of muscle-powered two wheels. Currently, five cycling projects started by our workers—including the amateur Sii Cycling Team—are funded by the company. Kamil Hajda, Solution Architect at Sii Katowice and the leader of the cycling team, told us a bit about joint training, ideas for group’s promotion, as well as about what participation in the program gives you.
How does the cooperation between the members of the Sii Cycling Team look like?
Kamil Hajda, Solution Architect: At present, there are 12 team members from different age groups (from M1—under 20 years of age to M5—under 60 years of age) and with different specialties. When it comes to road racing, we’re trying to assign each member a role and tasks to perform. We’ve got typical sprinters (very fast, well built, able to reach a high speed at the finish line), riders who feel great in the mountains (usually those with a lower BMI), as well as all-rounders who can essentially adapt to any situation. During the race, everyone tries to carry out the set tasks and work for the team.
MTB races look completely different. Here, our cyclists rarely ride together as a team; pretty often we end the race in different groups, with time differences reaching up to several minutes.
You’re referring to MTB—the profile of your cycling team has considerably evolved in terms of the races in which you take part.
K.H.: At first, we focused mainly on road racing. Our adventure with MTB started around 2 years ago—we were encouraged by one of our colleagues who took part in MTB races. This discipline differs greatly from road cycling. The Sii Cycling Team competes mainly in MTB marathons, where both adequate personal preparation and cycling technique are crucial. Here, being a team and riding together is not that important. The routes are usually very selective and often after just a few minutes of racing, each cyclist rides alone or in a small group. There is no large peloton to hide in and get to the finish line without much effort. The cycling technique, which cannot be mastered during one season, is of considerable importance.
Since 2016, you’ve taken part in races as the Sii Cycling Team. What has the Passion Sponsorship Program changed in your sports life?
K.H.: Participation in the program enabled us to focus on season racing and training, without having to worry about securing funds that are necessary for a group like ours. As a result, we can press ahead with our racing and training plans. Thanks to the support we received, we were able to provide the entire team with professional cycling clothing sets and pay all fees and race insurance which are required to take part in a single race or race series.
Now, we want to show our passion as a healthy way of spending free time and promote it internally. We also share the acquired knowledge and experience with other cycling enthusiasts joining Sii Poland, which makes us very happy. Motivation and competitive spirit—that’s what cycling is all about!
The Sii Cycling Team offers an open training program. For the first time, we trained together on August 3 and 10 on the routes of the Tarnogóra stage of Tour de Pologne. Information about our next training can be found on https://www.facebook.com/siicyclingteam/. I strongly encourage you to check out our fan page. As part of activities addressed to the people from Sii Poland, interested in cycling, we plan to organize webinars focused on training, diet, and strategy, i.e. the topics every cyclist who wants to improve their results or lose weight (depending on the set objective) should be acquainted with. We hope that the joint online meetings and exchange of experience will help both cyclists having ambitious goals and those who just want to start cycling stick to their own plans.
Who creates the training program for the Sii Cycling Team?
K.H.: For 2 years a large group of cyclists has been preparing for the season according to the training plan created by Krzysztof, our team colleague. Also, many cyclists use free training plans available on the Zwift platform. Such a plan indicates a period of about 8 weeks to prepare for the training season. In practice, well-trained amateurs need only around 5 weeks of intensive training to be able to take part in a race.
Of course, the support of a group that motivates you is invaluable. That is why I strongly encourage everyone interested in the topic to participate in our webinars and open training—it’s really worth it!
Please tell us in a few words, why it’s worth training regularly—why cycling?
K.H.: The major benefits of regular training are: excellent mood, weight loss, and enhanced body’s efficiency—in short, it has a profound impact on your health! From my own experience I know that it is extremely important whether you have ever done any sport, regardless of the discipline. It is easier for such people to start competing in more demanding races. Every form of activity improves the health of our circulatory and respiratory system, which is extremely important in cycling. In the first and second year of training (with a heart rate monitor or with a power meter) the cyclist will notice remarkable progress. We often stress that cycling is a sport for disciplined and patient people. In this case, getting to the top often takes many years—year after year your performance is improved.
For many years, Sii Polska has supported various sports enthusiasts and their projects, including freediving and special running projects, as part of the Passion Sponsorship program. The Sii Cycling Team project has been funded by the company since 2016. Currently, employees are implementing projects related to basketball, mountain climbing, cycling, running, as well as a project combining the last two disciplines and swimming, i.e. a triathlon.