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Interview with the downhill national champion Stivian Gatev

Apr 292022

Last season in the Bulgarian downhill was again marked by the total hegemony of Stevian Gatev, who for the sixth time in his career won the Bulgarian Cycling Series, achieving the fifth National Title. It can be said that Stevie is the most dominant skier in the Bulgarian mountain bike elite. We met with him to talk about the changes he made in his preparation. To tell us about the competitions last season and also about his plans for the current one, what are his expectations and what is important for him to achieve so many victories.

Stivi, one might think that you achieve victories with ease. Is this the truth behind your fifth national title?

Behind all these victories are intensive training both on the bike and in the gym.
I would say that the race is the easier part.

 

"TRAININGS ARE VERY INTENSIVE, HELPING BETTER ENDURANCE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME INCREASE STRENGTH."

What was your most memorable race for 2021?

I would say the National Championship in Pamporovo, because I did not know how the competition could develop. I had started training with a new coach and I doubted whether I would be able to cope with the level that everyone expects from me. As the training progressed along the route, I realized that things could actually go quite well. The qualification confirmed it, I was 10 seconds ahead of the others. When the time came for the finals - I was convinced that I would do great. And so it happened, I had a very good descent without serious mistakes, close to the limit of my abilities and I managed to win the national title for the 5th time.

And what was your toughest race for 2021?

I think that the first race of the 2021 season in Zlatitsa was quite difficult for me. I felt good both on the track and on the bike, but the end result was not satisfactory. I finished in 3rd place behind Phil Atville and Valentin Tenev. It was an indication that I needed to change something.

What exactly changed and why?

From the middle of the 2021 season I have a new fitness coach. Before that, Julian Todorov, with whom we worked together for 7 years, helped me with the trainings. I decided to try something new and now I have been training with my new coach Angelos for several months. We emphasize crossfit, which I think has a great effect on my riding. The workouts are quite intense, help for better endurance, but at the same time increase strength.

Last year you participated in an enduro competition, what are your impressions of this discipline and will we see you again in such a race?

That's right, I managed to participate in the last round of the enduro series in Plovdiv. It was a very interesting race and here comes the time to thank Gepard for giving me the bike I was riding. You will certainly see me more often in enduro races.

Where do you ride in the winter when the conditions are not so favorable? 

For the last few years I have been riding in Petrich, where the climate is milder - it rarely snows there, and steep and technical trails are suitable for training.

"TO BE CONSTANT, TO HAVE A DESIRE FOR VICTORY AND TO BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES."

You have a new bike for the 2022 season - tell us.

That's right, in the new season I will drive Commencal DH.4.4. The main change compared to the previous bike, apart from the brand, is that the current one is aluminum. It's a little heavier, but I hope it absorbs bumps better than carbon. The suspension of the frame has a high pivot (high suspension point), which should also contribute to more stability in heavier areas. I also changed the brand of the fork. From this season I will drive a Manitou Dorado. This is an upside down - something new for me, but at this stage I like it a lot. I will share more impressions after a few more competitions.

You have a new bike for the 2022 season - tell us.

That's right, in the new season I will drive Commencal DH.4.4. The main change compared to the previous bike, apart from the brand, is that the current one is aluminum. It's a little heavier, but I hope it absorbs bumps better than carbon. The suspension of the frame has a high pivot (high suspension point), which should also contribute to more stability in heavier areas. I also changed the brand of the fork. From this season I will drive a Manitou Dorado. This is an upside down - something new for me, but at this stage I like it a lot. I will share more impressions after a few more competitions.

Tell us about the settings on your bike, suspension, tire pressure, what do you pay the most attention to?

I always start with the so-called cockpit. The position of the brake levers is very important to me. This setting is individual for each rider! It is important to pay attention to the position of the handlebars. It should not be tilted too far forward or backward. At the moment my levers are about 20 degrees from the completely horizontal position.

What do you think are the 3 most important components of a bicycle?

Suspension, tires and brakes.

What do you think are the 3 most important elements for victory?

A well-adjusted bike, good physical training, as well as focusing on your own riding, not watching what others are doing.

What advice would you give to young athletes, what to emphasize in order to achieve good results?

To be persistent, to have a desire to win and to believe in yourself.

We know that you have your own project related to cycling, tell us a little more.
I started my bike academy. So far, I do not have the opportunity to give myself completely, but in time I will focus on passing on my experience to the next generation of downhill skiers. I can say that there are many talented children who have the potential to achieve serious results with the right training.


Thank you for your time and we wish you many podiums in the new season!

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