Beskidy MTB Trophy stage 1, the opener, the introduction, done! What an introduction it was, so many great trails and stunning views along the 62 kilometre route.
The first stage of the Beskidy MTB Trophy led the riders through the climbs of Wielki Stożek, Mała Czantoria and Wielka Czantoria. At 10am we rolled out of town towards the mountains and the Czech Republic border. A steady gradient on tarmac turned into gravel after 10 minutes, enough time to spread the bunch out safely. The gravel road hit the first few hairpins and then the real offroad started. Bumpy rocky loose tracks, just what we’d expected from the event. The gradient pitched up steeply towards the top which is where the lead group split. It wasn’t my intention to force the pace but I felt good and figured a couple of people would probably catch me on the next descent or climb. Ryan Sherlock and Torsten Mutziltz from Scott Generation Bike24 MTB Team were the chasers.
The pubs, restaurants and cafes on top of the mountains were packed with tourists. There were plenty of people out walking the footpaths or using the chair lifts. They all seemed pretty happy to move out of the way and cheer as the race passed by.
There were some fantastic trails on the route today, from wide open rock strewn trails to narrow twisty singletracks. The climbs were pretty technical in places too, the full suspension Scott Spark definitely helped keep traction as the gradient got steep.
The race through the mountains ended up being a solo time trial for me. Behind it was all going on with Ryan and Torsten swapping places and several others loosing contention as mechanicals took their toll.
The podium of classic distance was taken by the riders from three different countries. I completed the race in 3:06:53, Ryan the Irish National Marathon Champion was 2nd and Torsten from Germany was third. The fastest Pole today was Jarosław Hałas in 4th place.
Dutch racer Laura Turpijn won the women’s long distance.The shorter distance (48km) was won by Łukasz Chalastra from Rafako MTB Team. The Polish rider took 2 hours and 27 minutes to cross the finish line. The podium was completed by Marcin Paprocki and a German rider Mirko Kloppenburg. I wanted to hold on to the head of the Classic distance as long as possible. This tactics paid off as, after the routes of the distances split, I managed to cover the rest of the race on my own. The course of the stage suited me very much. It had all a proper MTB race should have: singletracks, short and long climbs and technical descents. The form is good and I hope to sustain it for the rest of the race”
Beskidy MTB Trophy has just begun. Tomorrow’s stage is a very long day in the saddle as riders cover 85 km (Classic) or 67 km (Mega), including a strenuous climb to Rysianka mountaintop.