Sudety MTB Challenge…

…in other words: 6 days super trails in Eastern-Europe at moderate costs 😉

Gregor Golonko is crazy. To be honest it’s one of the craziest organizer I know. I will never forget the day we met each other. We were drinking all night, way over my limit, and the next day het put me on a road bike like it was my first bike ride ever!
It was 2007, Gran Canaria, the beginning of a friendship which still exists.
For eight years Gregor participated in Belgian road cycling events, went back to Poland and organized one of the first mountain bike stage-races in Europe. I promised him to accept his invitation. After all, I am more a mountain biker then a road cyclist.
Seven years later, Bernd and I are sitting in a fully packed car, not even an extra bike helmet would have fit. While we are leaving from Aachen to Breslau, 10 friends from Freiburg are also on their way. I told them about the stories of our photographers photographing the “Sudety Bike Challenge” year after year.
I have told them about the wild singletrails in the southern part of Poland, of the former border police roads along the Czech border, which may have never seen a mountain bike tire before, the hospitality, the food and the international atmosphere. I promised them what Gregor promised me seven years ago:

NO BULLSHIT – PURE MOUNTAINBIKING

Sportograf @ Sudety MTB Challenge 1.jpeg
Our group could not be more colorful. The nervous BJ before the prologue, in the background Andi looks head-shaking at this circus 🙂

Our team could not be more colorful. Above all Bernd, who could not finish last year (two brave days he punished himself rather then giving up with a totally dislocated middle finger). Bernd’s Objective: FINISH!
In addition to various “normals” like me who just wanted to have a good time, Sönke Wegner and Benni “BJ” Jörges from Freiburg had a clear goal: winning or at least a podium place.
With so different goals the team spirit was very amusing. From: ‘i’ll eat everything I like as long as it taste good’ to ‘I brought my super veggie power food for 6 days in a cool box from home’ and everything in between.

Sportograf @ Sudety MTB Challenge 2.jpeg
Makes me fat? Makes me slow? I don’t care!!!

Fantastic single trails, good and bad weather, steep descents, nothing artificial – just pure trails, rough, slippery: that’s how I would describe the course.
And after all the concentration needed to ride the course crash-free costs a lot of energy.

Sporotgraf @ Sudety MTB Challenge 3.jpeg
More questions?

BJ and Sönke were head-to-head with an incredibly strong Polnisch guy, who finally had to get off with material problems.
“A hardtail with a full length seatpost is not the best idea on this track”, says Sönke, who was on the road with an XC-Fully with a dropper-seat post.

Sportograf @ Sudety MTB Challenge 4.jpeg
I enjoy full throttle, on a fully equipped with dropper seat post. It’s also possible without, but less fun is guaranteed!

Mentally, the most famous passage went along the border. I have never seen so many roots. This was definitely too much for my frame, a break of the seat post forces me to take a long pit stop. Jens, our supporter and Crafter rider from Freiburg, is really quick with his help: I get Sönke’s spare bike and punished myself the last 2 days on a too small hardtail to the finish.

Sportograf @ Sudety MTB Challenge 5.jpeg
Flow, Trailpark? What does that mean? Here I’m searching for myself the best way down. This spectacular downhill has never seen a biker!

And everything around being in the saddle? We live like kings. The event is very cheap for our conditions, so we book a hotel with full catering. Some even offer VIP shuttle service. It is not a race were we don’t need massages. I do not know if my upper body otherwise had passed through. The hospitality of the young team around Gregor is phenomenal.

Sportograf @ Sudety MTB Challenge.jpeg
Bike storage 2.0. The motivation and helpfulness of the organizers and staff were almost endless!

“I know you from the Crocodile Trophy”, said Andreas as he recognizes a down-under-sufferer from 2013. At all, the race seems to be an insider’s tip because a lot of participants come from the most remote corners of the world and I always wonder how they learned about the race. It must be the mouth-to-mouth biker propaganda!

Sportograf @ Sudety MTB Challenge 7.jpeg
Together we race through the forest, the steeper the better 🙂

Sönke and BJ make it happen, Sönke just moved his friend to second place. Clear case: this must be celebrated 😉

sportograf-sudety-mtb-challenge-8
Honor to whom honor is due: the Freiburgers Sönke and BJ dominate the 2014 edition

So after the finish we rely on our last reserves and celebrate in a local disco in Kudowa Zdroj until late at night. This is how international understanding works ☺
In 2015 and 2016 all my friends and former participants get on my nerves: “When are we going back to Poland?” Apparently, the virus has also reached my wife, she absolutely wants to start in 2017 … hmm what I do … actually a Nobrainer!

See you, happy trails!

Your Tom

sportograf-sudety-mtb-challenge-9
Even for the Freiburger not so far away!

What: Sudety Bike Challenge 2017, 13th edition!

Who: Mountain bikers in heart and soul, SOLO or the 2-person team

When: 23-28 July 2017

Where: Southern part of Poland at the Czech border

How long: Prolog + 5 stages

How far: By car 3h from Prague, 5h from Berlin and 4,5 from Vienna.

www (again?): www.mtbchallenge.com

 

German version

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