After some weeks of training to get a little into shape I finally tried my first real MTB Marathon in the Belgium Ardennes: “les Cimes Des Waimes” it is a MTB marathon that is part of the belgium EBMC challenge together with three other large MTB marathons.
I was already staying in the ardennes with some friends in Han Sur Lesse so to get at the start at 9:05 we had to leave our bed early (6:30) together with Jan-Willem I drove to Waimes where we arrived just in time for the official start. We decided to bike the 50km and that was a good choice, Because of the bad weather of the last days some parts of the route where very very muddy. As can be seen in the picture below.
Also the 4 “Cimes” that where part of the 50km where difficult to climb and I just managed to get at the top of the Ovifat ski-hill.
But there where also a lot of really nice single trails downhill.
after biking 50km I was happy to arrive back at Waimes to get warm again and eat a tasty pasta. Furthermore I really have to compliment the organization of this marathon they did an excelent job in marking the route and stopping the cars when we had to cross a road. Also the 2 stops had a large variety of food and some live music !
After some time also Ernst arrived at the finish (he biked the 75km, respect..) and after a nice beer Jan-Willem and I went back to our camping spot in Han sur lesse and shared our adventures with the rest of the group there and went to bed early to recover from this nice day of biking.
I really enjoyed myself and looking forward to the other MTB marathons I’m going to ride (Limburg mooiste, Raid des sorcieres)
Or in dutch “word mountainbiker”
become a Mountainbiker
That’s the title of a new book I’ve bought, ok, I know you can not become a mountainbiker by reading books about it but I like this particular book. It’s written by sven nys, roel paulissen and roel van schalen and describes all kind of aspects of mountainbiking disciplines and parts that are used on the mountainbike.
It is a bit a book for beginners and maybe not that interesting for all of us but I particulary like two things. The first is the description of the 10 best moutainbike marathons from all over the world that roel paulissen has competed in and the second part is the simple training schema for biking mountainbike trips around 60 km. (and on the their website also schemas for 100 km trips www.starttosport.be)
I just started this week with the 10 week schema to be able to ride a mountainbike marathon of 60km. This should help me in getting in to shape (after these 10 weeks we will go to compete in limburg mooiste a nice mountainbike marathon in limburg) I know it would have been better to train also in the winter period a bit more, but I hope to get into shape with this training scheme. (training is about 4 to 5 times in a week so I hope I can keep it up these 10 weeks….)
11 oktober, 6.30 time to get out of bed and to pack my stuff for the bart brentjens challenge. Today I will go to Eijsden together with Mario. For Mario it is his first mountainbike event. I’m at Mario’s place around 7.15 and we put the bikes on the back of the car, and off we go. The last days the weather wasn’t really good so we hope the track is not to muddy.
We arrive at Eijsden around 9:15 – 9:30 together with 3000 other bikers.
While Ernst was mountainbiking his 100 km in Houffalize Erik myself and my dad went for a biketrip in limburg. We decided to go for the Epen and Gulpen mountainbike routes and combine the two to get some km. For my dad this will be his second mountainbike experience, so he will not folow both routes and will stop after we have done the Epen track of 25 km. We started out well, not to fast so my dad could follow us and we also could enjoy the nice weather and surroundings.
almost at the end of the Epen route (after the steep climb of the “Vaalserberg”) we crossed a road and some people where standing there, all waiting for the Eneco tour (the dutch cycling tour over multiple days) so we decided to wait and watch the Eneco tour pass by. After the 3 man at the front there was a gap of 17 minutes so we decided to follow the mountainbike track down the hill and there we watched the peloton come by (wow really fast, and what a sound 100 man shifting gears) we finished our last 2 km of the Epen track and stopped at the startpoint. Here we installed my dad on a terras and Erik and myself went on to bike the Gulpen route. What a nice track a lot of climbs and downhills. after 60km of biking (almost at the end of our track) I made a small mistake in the downhill and fell, hmm not so nice a big knee and a lot of pain.
Back at the terras after 9 km biking with pain in my knee we asked the waitress for some ice.
After eating a nice dinner and a trip back to Breda we could say we had a good day some fine mountainbiking and we even watched the Eneco tour. And dad next time both trails ? 🙂 well just look at the pictures for an impression of the day.
What a pity, we already need to go sunday we are flying back and today it is saturday, we drive back from Brasov to Cluj (via Turda where Reli can see his parents and kids again). The drive is really good, not that much traffic, so we arrive early in Turda so Reli can spend some time with his kids.
Reli and his kids
A church in the neighborhood.
We were given a nice soup at his parents house and had lunch together with Reli’s kids and his parents. We went on to Reli’s appartment in Cluj. At Reli’s appartment we disassembled our bikes again and put them back in their traveling bags, 4 days of fun mountainbiking are finished now.
The bikes are packed
This evening we still had a special event on our program, we went to a football match of CFR Cluj.
Before the match we want for a nice dinner together with Andy our guide of the first bike day, we showed him our pictures and shared our stories of Brasov.
Sitting on a bench in Cluj.
Erik, Reli and Andy sitting in the restaurant
After the dinner Andy dropped us of at the stadion where we met Reli’s brother and nephew to go to the match. A nice atmosphere and a beautifull view towards the mountains from the stadion and we won with 2-0 !!! Already the last evening. Time flies when you’re having fun !
A nice view over the mountains from the stadion
Sunset over the stadium.
2-0 for CFR Cluj !!
After the breakfast
(by the way Erik you need to eat better in the morning 🙂 Another day of biking. This day we planned to go to Rasnov and if possible to Bran to see the dracula castle. The first climb of the day is a hard one really steep and difficult because of the many rocks and cracks in the road.
hmm nice road
Erik on the way down again
After this climb we are back again in the ski resort Poiana Brasov. From here we go by road to Rasnov, another climb but now on asfalt much better climbing but less fun ofcourse. In the decent of this asfalt road we see a small path going down between the trees and we decide to take it, wow it was steep and difficult and in the end it led us to a small river. So we just had to climb up again (pfff) to reach the road and go down via the road to Rasnov.
We visited the old citadel in Rasnov after yet another climb towards this citadel.
The citadel in Rasnov
After the visit we decided not to go to Bran too dangerous going over the road where also a lot of cars are driving. We returned the same way we came and went to the hotel to take a nice long shower. In the evening back to Brasov center. We had a real romanian dish for dinner (RELI PLEASE HELP WITH THE NAME Sarmala _ ?)
After the dinner we went to a terrace to drink a beer and there we met two dutch guys playing cards, Reli asked them if we could join and so we ended up playing the real dutch game “Toepen” together with the two other guys, and of course drinking beer and wine. This was really tough as we finished biking already quite early and had our first beers already at 4 in the afternoon.
And drinking wine 🙂
The GPS track is here.
It is again a nice day the sun is shining and after we woke up we had a beautiful view over the mountains from the cabin of Reli’s parents.
The morning view at the cabin of Reli's parents
Today is the day we are going to have our first encounter with the Carpathian mountains and Brasov. We have to travel to Brasov by car. First we stop at Turda to meet Reli’s parents and see his kids (they are staying with grandfather and mother for the weeks they hava holiday in the Netherlands) In Turda also Reli’s nephew Adi got in the car because he had to go back to Brasov where his father and mother (Reli’s sister Lily) live.
Turda – Brasov is about 350 km but because of the condition of the road and the many villages we will pass we cannot drive on a constant speed of 120 km/ph. The speed will be more like 60-70 km/ph. It was also a bit more problematic as there are quite some holes in the roads and we were traveling with 3 bikes on the back of the car.
Halfway we stopped ad sighisoara, a city with an old citadel, where Vlad Dracul (the one and only mister Dracula 🙂 was born, so we also did some real tourist activities.
Casa Vlad Dracul. Did he really live here? I'm scared!!
The entrance to the citadel of Sighisoara.
The tower of the citadel
A view from the citadel.
Around 16:00 we reached the city of Brasov where we were taken to our hotel. We will stay in Brasov until saturday. After check-in we called a cab and went to the center of Brasov. We were surprised by the town of Brasov, renovated houses nice terasses everywhere and of course the BRASOV sign up in the mountains, just like Hollywood.
The letters of Brasov! We have to go there. Otherwise our holiday will be incomplete.
The Brasov sign
Nice to see a city with such big ambitions. Also funny was to see all the terrace parasols saying “Probably the best city in the world !”.
Probably the best city in the world
This evening we will meet our guide for the trails in Brasov Mihai Siman a local mountainbiker who was bloging about the trails in Brasov and surroundings (see blog link on the sidebar). Reli found that blog and contacted Mihai to ask for information about nice trails. We had a nice dinner together with Mihai his girlfriend and the sister of Reli with her family. Mihai cannot come with us to do the trail himself (some people also need to work) but he gave us a lot of tips about nice roads and where to go. We cannot wait for our first trip in the mountains !!
Dinner on the first night in Brasov
Reli had been talking to us about going mountainbiking in Romania for some time now. I guess it must have been a few years back since he first brought up the subject. Then this year we finally went to Romania, “we” that’s Bart, Erik, and Reli. The travel arrangements were a bit of a puzzle in the beginning. But we had a good plan. As Reli intended to stay a bit longer in Romania, Bart and Erik had to travel separately. Comparing all the options, going by plane was the easiest (and cheapest) for us. As for the bikes, Reli borrowed Erik’s bike stand for the car so then all was settled. Romania here we come!
In the morning we drove to Dortmund Airport to fly to Romania with our bikes packed in big bags.
Van with our bags at Dortmund Airport
We flew with the cheapest airline of all times (WiZZ) and it was actually a good flight and, most remarkably, also a brand new Airbus A320 aircraft.
After a trip of about 6 hours we finally reached Romania and landed at Cluj Napoca airport where we met our Mountain Hopper Reli and Andy, a local friend of Reli, who was going to guide us for the MTB trips around Cluj Napoca.
The first thing we had to do was to put our bikes back together after the flight, with 4 people this was quickly done.
Erik assembling his bike
We went to the apartment of Reli in a suburb of Cluj and left our stuff there.
Left to right, Andy, Bart, and Reli.
In the evening we went for a diner in Cluj at the “irish pub” not real Romania food, but we will have enough of romania food in the rest of the holiday 🙂