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