Herneacova MTB Challenge

16 Aug

This is for the second time this year when I was going at Herneacova, near Timisoara. The first time was the XCO National Championship. Herneacova MTB Challenge was a two days event with an XCO on Saturday and an XCM on Sunday, organized by Velocitas team.

Went there on Friday, just to do a quick check up of the course and make sure everything was ready for the races. Afterwards we head up to MJ’s house for some carbo-loading and good sleep.

It was more dusty than last time as the is facing a prolonged drought but the XCO course was cleaned much better and it was a bit wider than I already new.

The XCO

I didn’t knew what to expect because I was still feeling a bit tired after Triada MTB that I raced the previous week. Besides this the high temperatures didn’t helped. Instead having a fresh bottle of water ever lap was just on point because I knew I have to keep hydrated. I started decently and tried to keep a constant pace throughout the whole race and it paid off with a 3rd place @ Elite in our National XCO Cup + a 4th place overall @ Elite. Even better than this I have improved my XCO National Championships time with almost 6 minutes.

After that I’ve helped at the feedzone some of my friends that were racing in the Masters and Amateurs category, because I knew they need it.

The XCM

I don’t remember to see so much dust and cracks so big in the ground so far.

The race started at 10:00 and I knew that it will be a fast one. Even though it had over 70km with 1200m of climbing it was a fast one, with an elapsed time just a bit over 3h mark. Right from the beginning I tried to stay in group but I’ve lost the first one because of the thick dust cloud so I’ve waited for my friend Georgian Grec to partner up and see what we can do. Others joined so we have increased the pace and started to catch other ditched riders. We managed to have a high pace until the 3rd and last feedzone. Bottles were filled up but with over 22km to go it was way to far and I think everyone ended up without any fluids in their bottles. I think another feezone was needed in these 22 kilometers and I know that the organizers will think about this for the next edition. I also didn’t thought that we will have a push bike zone there 🤣 but … we did.

In my case with 12-15km to go I had to reduce the rhythm because I’ve felt is too hot for me and if I keep pushing it won’t end too well. Besides that with 2km to go I have hit a sharp rock (didn’t saw it) and cut the tire in two places. I’ve managed somehow to get to the end with almost no air in it but with a lot of sealant on the downtube. Ended up in 4th at Elite and with a lesson learned: never underestimate anything and anyone. Not even myself.

I think because of the conditions (high temperatures, dust, lack of water from the last point) it was a difficult race for both the racers and the organizers. So congrats to everyone for the organization, racers, group partners at the XCM and everyone else involved.

Many thanks also to my family, sponsors, Mihai and Tina for hosting us and everyone else who cheered up or helped at the feed zones. Your help is always very important.

➕ Good things:

  • Same great amenities that the Herneacova domain is offering for both racers and their families.
  • We had one racing number for both events and we could register up once for XCO and XCM.
  • Tidy organization and a lot of helpful volunteers.
  • Enough drinking water and food at the feedzones.
  • Fast volunteers at the feedzones.
  • Great food after the XCM.
  • Speeding up the award ceremony as the original schedule was with 4h after the finish after we tried to explain that we have to drive a lot back home.
  • Showers for the riders. I don’t know any other event that had this before.

➖ Things to improve:

  • Maybe a bikewash at the finish area.
  • The XCO course still needs to be wider and a bit more flowy.
  • Another one or a couple water points on the XCM course.

✔ My final grade for Herneacova MTB Challenge this year 9 out of 10 and I see improvements with every event they are hosting. Velocitas team and their chief Ovidiu, put up a great event. I look forward to come again next year.

See ya all at the next races, in my case will be TBT Race in Saschiz, two weekends from now.

Cheers,

Vlad

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