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Behind the bars: no pretenging

I thought You were kidding, in the morning before start, about that 30-kilometer-long singletrail…” – said one of highest ranked Polish riders Łukasz Chalastra when we crossed finish line on Koczy Zamek. Atmosphere became very funny. I didn’t expect that somebody could think I joked. Today’s stage is nothing but quintessence of mountain biking in Beskidy Mountains. Beskidy MTB Trophy without Wielka Racza or Rycerzowa is like Paris without Eiffel Tower or London without Big Ben. Not more, not less. From the other hand Kriss took my words so literally that he catapulted with double power. He could hardly wait to ride that awesome trail.

I sadly admit that this year my legs don’t want to cooperate properly. But you couldn’t expect more when 100 m of denivelation is all you can gain during 100-km-long ride? This time climbing to Ochodzita wasn’t a piece of cake for me. It hurts me a lot. Happily I haven’t lost my hunger for riding technical sections. That’s why, maybe a bit perversely, I was glad to hear rain drops falling yesterday evening outside my window. Slippery roots and muddy climbs would be my companion – I thought. But finally there was no additional amount of mud beyond that what people who know that track are accustomed to. Descent from Ochodzita to Rupienka Valley or awesome traverse to Rachowiec were only a kind of appetizer when we consider technical sections. Legs were bit tired by steep, muddy climb in the first part of route so that they weren’t spinning easy while riding along Rycerka Valley. Happilly in a moment I was caught by Mariusz who gave a few good pulls, so we got to the bottom of main climb of a day very fast. And there he changed his gear one-up and slowly disappeared. But, wait a minute, from where did 5-6 other riders appear? A few seconds ago there were no one behind my back?


Anyway – our best party this day started for good. On the third climb we finally got to the beginning of extraordinary trail. Why didn’t no one think of that masterpiece year ago? It should be obligatory part of every Trophy’ edition instead of that boring gravel road. On trails alike legs start to spin easier with every rotation. Trail from Przegibek to Wielka Racza is almost the last of such usurveyed track in Beskidy. Narrow trail, constant changes of directions, small drops, countless roots, climbs and descends one by another. The ride along that route can absorb completely. I hardly noticed feed station. Route from Racza to Zwardoń leads along boarder trail. It is fantastic adrenalin pumper but you need to stay focused all the time. Happily I know it as my own pocket, but of course risking to much would be unwise. Upper part is very steep and fast. I try to control my speed above all. One moment of distraction and your race is over. Better not to think of it. Section from Upłaz to Magura is the ultimate masterpiece especially with singletrail traverse of Przysłop Peak. Climb to Magura appear in that exact moment when your fingers couldn’t push brake lever anymore.

With every meter I’m catching one by another riders. Some minutes later I’m passing Beskid Graniczny where Milan Damek is repairing his bike again during this race. He must be furious ‘cause he completes that 35% steep as hell climb to Sołowy in the saddle. I’m passing Kriss. He is not in his best shape but at least very happy with last 3,5 hours of fantastic riding. With apnea I executed last but one climb and started smooth descent to Rupienka Valley. In front of me there is still a climb to the finish line on Koczy Zamek Pass, but thank God without those steep 30% section we all feel in our legs. I spotted Mariusz in front of me. He is my last target today – just a small revenge for climb to Przegibek ;) Finish – happiness and endorphins fountain. Fantastic day. Tomorrow we have some cherry on cake – Beskid Śląski will show its claws.

Jarek Hałas