Archive for the ‘Bike’ Category

Although some time has passed since 9th of June my memory is still fresh when I think about 3 Mountains Bike Marathon. After a full May with 2 marathons I was thinking to relax with a nice bike competition. I was sooo wrong… :). This year I’ve done a couple of bike rides from Brasov to Poiana Brasov and back. In total this route is about 20-25 km. I was doing it in about 50 minutes and I thought that 60 km its a piece of cake. Well its not when competing in a mountain bike competition as I was soon to learn. I seriously underestimated the event …

Some details about this B3M:

  • – 2 events – 1 day and 3 day
  • – the 3 day event is for teams andΒ  the 1 day event for individual participation

Except for a minor part of the route the rest was a big unknown for me and I was looking forward to see what Luci prepared for us.Β  I’ve arrived early Saturday morning at Cheile Gradiste Fundata, found a parking place and prepare for the competition. I’ve chosen to use my Salomon back-pack since its very lightweight and it feels like a piece of clothing.Β  It was almost empty though since I was thinking that I will finish in 3 hours … :).Β  I was thinking that if I bike a 20 km in 50 minutes than naturally 60 km will be done in ~ 3h. So I didn’t take any gels with me, just the Sponser protein bar offered by the organizer in the starting kit and a bottle of water. It was my first biking competition so again I didn’t know what to expect…

Around 9 AM we’ve started …

I didn’t push it too hard and I left most of the competitors in front of me. It was a bit crowded in front and a competitor fell quite bad in the first 300 m. Anyway we’ve started to climb quite soon and slowly we’ve reached Fundata school and entered the EcoMarathon route lap 1, but in reverse… cool. I was feeling good and I’ve passed a few competitors and after a small descent the route was making a right turn. … but I didn’t. I didn’t see any marking there and I thought it continues the EcoMarathon route in reverse. Later I found out that the marking was done properly, but somebody took the sign off. Unfortunately for some of us is hard to get to the next level and they still behave like monkeys :(…. and I’ve met quite a few afterwards on the route swearing and throwing things on us. Anyway for me it was not really a problem … although I’ve lost the route I was not upset since I’ve came to this competition to enjoy it and not to be the first one from the back. The bad thing was that I’ve drag quite a lot of people after me … we were in this shit together :). After 10-15 minutes we’ve realized that the route was wrong and decided to turn back.

Soon I was back on the good track … it was greeeat. It was a mild descent where you could get quite some speed. I guess everybody enjoys the downhill biking… :). Soon I’ve reached the first serious climb of the day, the climb to Ciocanu. It was on asphalt, but that road was not used by cars in that day … nice. I was feeling great and pushed a bit on the climb. Than a long descent took me to the first hydration point in Sirnea. I was quite thirsty since it was hot outside and I was glad that I could drink something else bedsides water. After this check point it was a mild climb and than … the FUN begun!!! The route was passing through some gorge which had a loooot of water. A lot of push bike and countless crossing through the water. I was so much enjoying this that I had a stupid smile on my face quite the whole portion with water … and the funny thing its that I’ve realized this only when I was out of the gorge and the FUN area. Until now I never thought that biking can be so fun…

After another mild descent the route made a left turn (and I along with it πŸ™‚ ) towards Magura. Niiice! However while approaching Magura my batteries were starting to run low on energy. I’ve started to push a lot the bike until finally after another technical descent I’ve reachedΒ  Prapastiile Zarmnestiului and the second hydration point.

After I had some refreshments I’ve started again to pedal. However my lower back was not really in the mood. It started to hurt and the pain increased as I was going through the gorge. Eventually I had to stop and push the bike :(. Also while approaching La Table my energy levels were quite low. I didn’t stop though … I was pushing the bike on the climbs (even the small ones) and continued. Once I was stopping the pedaling my back was not hurting anymore. Anyway while approaching the end of the last climb to Saua Joaca I’ve did it again … I’ve lost the track. This time the route was properly marked, but I was tired and not paying too much attention so I did a stupid right turn through the woods and follow a steep descent. Eventually I wondered why I was not seeing any marking so I’ve stopped and turn back. That cost me another 10 minutes :). But I was not upset, I didn’t care about the competition with the others. I was here to enjoy the event and that what I was doing. I’ve pushed the bike back into the main road and eventually after a long descent I’ve reached Sirnea again. Got some refreshments and continued on a very speedy descent, crossed the national road towards Pitesti and after a technical descent through the woods I was in front of the last climb until reaching the finish line. It was not very steep but it had4 km … after 55 of pedaling through rough terrain :).

This final climb was the piece du resistance :). Although my back was still a bit sore I wanted to finish pedaling and not pushing so I’ve gathered all my remaining energy and start pedaling hard. While I was close to the finish line I’ve switched the gears (a smaller pinion), got up from the saddle and started to push really hard. I was surprised that by changing the way my muscles were pedaling magically I’ve found new energy reserves :)… I know I’m quite an amateur in biking, next time I will approach differently this competition. Finally I’ve finished in speed the race in 5h:44 … I was very tired after the final climb but although I’ve consumed a lot of resources in this event its not as demanding as a running marathon. The bike acts like buffer between the body (specially the joints) and the terrain and after I’ve got up from the saddle I didn’t have any pain on the joints … only a sore lower back πŸ™‚

I really enjoyed this event. It was very well organized (like any other carpathianman event). I know now that I seriously underestimated this competition and for next time I will have to put more miles on the bike to avoid the pain on my back. Also I’ll have to be more prepared with foods and drinks since as I’ve learned biking can be very demanding as well.

Caraiman & Balea

Posted: December 4, 2011 in Bike, Bucegi

A few weeks ago we were thinking what to do in the extended week-end at the beginning of December. It had to fulfill 2 basic conditions:
1. to be nice πŸ™‚
2. to be unique aka something new
So we’ve came up with the following: 1st of December take the cable car from Busteni to Babele and visit Caraiman cross… like the old guys are doing :). This is fulfilling the first condition anyway. The Bucegi plateau is niiice and we’ve never been to the cross. 2nd of December take the bikes and go from Balea Cascada to Balea Lake. This is unique :).
We were really lucky that the weather was excellent in this period. So…

First Day – Bucegi

We’ve woke up pretty early thinking that a lot of people will want to take the cable car from Busteni to Babele because 1st of December is a free day. But to our surprise it wasn’t crowded at all… perfect. It is a bit expensive in my opinion … 64 ron up/down, but it is the longest from Romania so probably that’s why they charge so much :P. When we’ve arrived at Babele another surprise… it was quite warm. We took some shots and headed towards Caraiman Cross aka Heroes Monument.

Somebody left the glove hanging over the lens πŸ™‚

The route is very easy and beautiful. As we were approaching our destination the view became more and more beautiful. Can you see the black goat in the next image? πŸ™‚

After less than an hour we saw the first appearance of the cross. It is very beautiful and I was wondering why I didn’t go there before.

A nice view over Busteni…

Form the Cross I could see a fantastic view over Fisura Albastra. Since I first saw that wall (I was 7 years old back than) I fall in love with it. Its hard to describe…

As I was taking this shot an extremely cold wind was blowing from the valley… I’m glad that I was not climbing in that area on that wind :). A few more shots from the cross…

That was the first day… a relaxing walk on Bucegi plateau and visiting a new beautiful sight.

Second Day – Balea Lake

A week ago we went biking to Poiana Brasov in order to prepare for this trip. Unfortunately we’ve arrived home frozen. So this time we were prepared with a lot of clothing :). However … the weather was really warm and left some of the clothes in the car at Balea Cascada. The road was all ours πŸ˜€ … it was really nice but a bit awkward in the same time. But… although the road is closed and some concrete blocks are blocking the road, there is a small gap and you can squeeze in your car. As we were climbing a few cars passed … anyway its dangerous because the water now freezes and can dislocate huge blocks of rock.

The view was excellent and it really was something unique πŸ˜€ … a perfect way of spending a Friday. Again we saw a black goat … I was waving to the cable car and she got scared πŸ™‚

We’ve stooped quite a lot to take pictures because the view was breathtaking.

As we were approaching the steep part of the climb the ice on the road was more and more present. Eventually we had to push the bikes for the last 3 km. The ice was all over and it was far less easier to go forward along the bike. On some portions the ice was so smooth and slippery that we’ve barely manage to continue. We’ve arrived at Balea Lake after 2 hours and something :)… I think almost 3. The view was so nice and the whole experience in general that we’ve kinda lost track of the time. At Balea we’ve ate a hot soup took a few shots and climb down because the sun was no longer shinning on the road and it was quite cold.

We’ve really enjoyed these 2 days. The 2 conditions were fulfilled and we are very happy :). The biking trip to Balea however was the winner on my list. I really enjoyed the view, the air, the road and … climbing down for 14 km without any effort πŸ˜›

 

And a short movie