Piotr Havik riding Classified Factory Team bike

Classified Factory Team's Piotr Havik is ready for Unbound Debut

Classified Factory Team racer Piotr Havik is in Kansas ahead of the Unbound Gravel race on Saturday June 3. We caught up with The Hawk in between his training rides to see how his preparation ahead of the teams first Unbound race. 

The Belgian drivetrain technology company announces the next development of the groundbreaking Powershift hub with its entry into the mountain bike scene.

Classified announces today the launch of a mountain bike-specific Powershift hub system. The Powershift boost hub, together with Classified’s new 11-40t 12 speed cassette, has a gear range of 530%, the largest of any drivetrain system on the market. Entry into the mountain bike space allows Classified to introduce yet another revolutionary piece of technology: the Ringshifter. A feather light wireless shifter that controls the 2 speed Powershift hub, offering sensational feedback and fitting seamlessly into the existing cockpit.

Known in the road and gravel world as the ‘front derailleur killer,’ Classified now reveals the secret ingredient to take existing 1x11 or 1x12 MTB drivetrain systems to the next level. Thanks to the 2 speed Powershift hub, Classified can offer a significantly higher gearing range with smaller steps in between each gear to maintain optimum cadence, whilst also offering the ability to Powershift; a 150 millisecond gear jump in either direction. As with the award-winning road and gravel hub, this instantaneous ‘Powershift’ can be done under full load of up to 1000 watts.

Updating the MTB Lexicon with a new verb:

to Power·shift [Powershifting] {Verb}:
(also: the new benchmark in shifting gears)

1. To shift gears under full load within 150 milliseconds
2. Maintain valuable momentum during climbs and transitions, or before an attack

Classified: Your last race was the UCi Gravel Qualifier in Aachen, how did that go?

Piotr Havik: It was a new concept in gravel, like a crit race on gravel. It was a fun and aggressive race, high speed from the beginning. Similar to a Spring Classic, positioning was really important. The first 3 laps were great, I was in the front. Then I had a small mechanical with my saddle and had to make a pit stop. I was then in the second group with Ivar Slik and some Cyclocross pros. The race wasn’t a target of mine, but it was really good training for Unbound. Aggressive racing and a good chance to see the form of some competitors.

You’re in the US ahead of Unbound now, how was the flight and where are you staying?

I am staying a bit south of Emporia and the course. I did this to be able to check out more of the route. I am here for quite a few days, so for the second half of the trip I will move to Emporia ahead of the race. But the flight was ok. It’s been a long time since I’ve done such a long flight. Luckily none of my bikes or kit was damaged so that’s a good sign

How’s the jet lag? How do you get over that ahead of the race?

The jet lag is ok right now. I can feel the tiredness in my body, I have been awake for around 24 hours, with very little sleep on the plane. Hydration Is really important to flush out the system and help the muscles recover. I am about to go out for a 5 hour ride to try and exercise myself into sleep. The jet lag almost works in my favour because I’ve been waking up and training earlier. Unbound is a very early start, so being used to this sleep pattern might help me.

How do you prepare for a race like Unbound?

I have arrived in Kansas more than 1 week before the race so I can still have 3 hard training days. Then I will taper in the final 4 days before the race, with some 2-3 hour easy rides with some small efforts. This will help to keep my legs fresh for the race. I also brought as much as nutrition as I could carry from 4Gold, the team’s nutrition partner. It’s always best to be prepared with the same products. The climate is also warm and humid, so I sweat more than in BENELUX. Making use of the right Electrolytes and having a good hydration plan is really important.

Have you done a course recce yet? What are you most excited about?

I planned all my recon rides on Komoot, and I have a car here, so I will travel between important parts of the course and ride them. I think I can cover around 80% of the course to be well prepared. It’s still a 320km route, so there will be a lot of the route that will be new to me on Saturday, but I’ve done all that I can.

The course contains a lot of long, straight tracks. Will that suit you?

I think it will suit me. I love long and hard efforts, so these long straight tracks will be a good place to use my big engine. I expect that the speeds will be high, and a long hard race will be in my benefit. If I look at last year’s winner, Ivar Slik, then he is quite a similar rider to me, also with a big engine. I raced with him a lot at Aachen where we were together, so I got to see him in action and measure myself against him. I feel confident I can put in a good result at Unbound.

How do you think Classified Powershift Technology will come into play in this race?

I saw from pictures last year, that even though it’s straight, it’s quite technical with lots of rocks and deep sand. If you hit these sections in a big group, then the speed can drop very fast. With the Classified system I can shift gears very quickly with no risk of chain drops and I think that will help me. Unbound is all about being as efficient as possible at high power. Over 10 hours of racing, If I can save 5-10 watts throughout the race then that’s a huge difference. Every watt counts when riding at FTP efforts for such a long time. I will hopefully be fresher than my competitors for the 1 minute peak power surges in the final of the race.

You went to visit team sponsor Foodmaker before you left. Have you already been making use of the service, and do you think it’s been helping?

We weren’t able to arrange things before the race, but we are working on plans. They are helping me with the carbo loading plan. They have set up a carb schedule for me in the Foodmaker app, which I will follow before the race. I input my efforts into the app, and it tells me how many carbs I have to eat – how much porridge in the morning, how many rice bowls in the evening etc. Normally in Europe they would send me the food, but here it’s not possible. I will just follow the plan. It really helps me to have that structure to work with. I’m here on my own with already a lot of things to do and the fear of making mistakes. Having a specialist helping me with nutrition is a big confidence boost.

What’s the gravel scene like in the US? Does it differ to the European scene?

For me it’s a whole new experience. This is my first US race. I’ve heard really good things about the relaxed scene, so I’m excited to experience it. Whilst it seems relaxed, the racing is full gas, so I’m looking forward to mixing it with the best riders.

What is on your calendar for after Unbound? 

The next race after Unbound is Wishone Gravel in Milau. I finished 2nd place last year behind Niki Terpstra, so I have unfinished business there! But directly two days after Unbound, after a bit of recovery, I will be travelling back to the Netherlands. I will then be in Belgium, visiting Foodmaker and Classified.  I’m looking forward to catching up with the team partners.

Good luck this weekend Piotr, we will be following the race and supporting via online channels. You can follow Piotr’s race on the Unbound Instagram (@unboundgravel) feed, and also by following Classified (@classified.cc).