András Parti Interview: A Pro MTB Racer, Three times Olympic athlete, 22x Hungarian Champion.
András is ready for his fourth Olympics. Let’s find out his story!
How are you feeling right now?
I am great, thank you so much. I did my job quite well during the training period. In the winter, I spent 2.5 months in Tenerife, where I was able to establish my summer form. Now I still have to accelerate and shake myself back to racing.
How do you start your day?
Mostly with a loose jogging, some gymnastics, and then a big breakfast which is perhaps my favourite meal, plus a delicious coffee before the essential workout.
How many hours do you spend exercising in a day?
It varies, some days I can spend up to 7 hours with training. On rest days I only do 1-2 hours of casual cycling. Weekly I usually get between 18 and 30 hours.
Who is your role model?
I’d say Julien Absalon. I don’t have a „real” role model anyway, but when I got into the “international circulation” he was a big name and he has two Olympic golds.
When did you realise that you are talented in this sport?
I started relatively late, I started my first race at the age of 14. It was a funny idea with my friends. We planned to participate in a race in Nagykovácsi. At that time we still had total crappy bikes, and we weren’t even aware of the categories. Oh and in the end, I was the only one who started from the friend group, but the love has been going on ever since.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
To be persistent and never give up!
What advice would you give for beginners?
To be persistent and never give up! Putting the joke aside, it’s important to enjoy what you do. Training is hard, but if you get the job done, it’s a great experience. Many people forget that resting is just as important as training, in fact, it’s when you actually improve!
How would you describe the “ordinary” András?
I am a calm person who loves freedom and nature. I like to sit down with a good coffee, eat good ones. But I have a hard time sitting at home, I like to come and go.
Do you have a favourite book?
Yes, I do. My favourite is It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins. Many people may argue about Lance Armstrong in cycling, but I used to be very motivated by this book.
What is the most memorable thing that happened to you?
My three Olympic participation! Each has a story, and each has a different path and I had lots and lots of fighting, drops of sweats to be there. In MTB, this is especially important, and Hungary is also a very Olympic-centric country, so it affects my feelings. There is always a bigger fire burning in me as the Olympics approach.
What do you do on holidays?
I’m a very active person, and I never spend the whole day in bed. A loose-moving bike ride is also common on the days of rest, but on these days I try to take care of things, do gardening, etc. I probably like fishing the best at this time or hiking.
You have competed around the world. Which venue was the best and the craziest?
Two locations come to my mind, South Africa and the Czech Republic, Nove Mesto. South Africa was very exciting and interesting due to the rough track and conditions. Nove Mesto was a very enjoyable, spectacular track with an extremely crazy atmosphere.
Do you remember your first professional race?
It was my first world championship in 2002 in Kaprun (Austria).
How did it feel?
It was the second foreign race of my life, it was huge and maybe a little scary to jump one level at a time after the domestic races. Plus, the weather was pretty bad.
What has been the most surprising moment of your career so far?
When I found out I could be there for my first Olympics in 2008. We were manoeuvring right on the border, but not all countries used all their places, and due to other rules a few places went further. It was a touching and tearful moment.
Written by Károly Nagy
Photos by Zoltán Vanik (facebook.com/VanikZoltanFoto)