Transilvania Bike Trails 2021

31 Aug

Or maybe rather the combination between old and new. TBT Race isn’t just a race, it’s a more than that. It’s about involving the local communities of the Saxon villages in the heart of Transylvania into a cool blend of sports with cultural, craftmanship and gastronomical traditions.

NoMad Team and Fundatia Adept, the organizers made this event possible for the 7th time this year. And it was even cooler than before. Simply because both racers, their families and other cyclists could taste a bit from the old Transylvanian Saxon traditions. Another great thing is that I had the chance to catch up with Gabi a good old friend of mine who’s living in Germany for long time now and who came to race at TBT. Nice side story is that him is also responsible for having the very first edition of Cluj Winter Race.

Now let’s talk about the race. The week prior to the race we had a lot of rain. Even the night before wasn’t very good so right before the start I’ve changed from my already “traditional” Schwalbe Thunder Burt to Racing Ray and Racing Ralph, the so-called mud wheels, expecting to have a slower, slipper race. The first part on the tarmac it was wet indeed and also the first part of dirt, but then the things changed and I had a regret that I didn’t trusted (this time) my guts and kept the tires I was into it. This didn’t stopped me to have a decent rhythm and power on the flats and descents but I couldn’t find a decent pace on the climbs. Before the KOM Climb I have lost the group I was into it (again with Georgian and Alex) loosing about a minute on a bumpy pasture. I have pushed pretty hard on the descend and the tarmac before Bunesti and caught them again before the climb from Crit, but I’ve spent so much energy into this that I couldn’t keep the pace much longer with them especially when Alex pushed harder. So I’ve entered into a safer mode, which I think it was a mental safe mode and I couldn’t focus much more on the race. I’ve also got lost for about 1 km and 150m of climbing when I’ve lost the trail but also when I’ve entered into the Saschiz fortress (standard feature in the previous editions) but now we were supposed to keep the road.

In the end I was 5th at Elite, catching the last spot of the extended podium. Happy about how I rode for the first 3h but the race was 3h50min… so I need to work and find a flow for that time frame.

➕ Good things:

  • a lot of activities for cyclists, their families (including kids) during the week prior the race
  • great area for cycling, a lot of trails and places to visit
  • temporary camping for those willing to stay in the tent or that couldn’t find accommodation
  • generous registration packages for the riders
  • amazing finisher medals
  • amazing trophies for the winners, hand made by the local crafters
  • good after race food and overall atmosphere
  • photographers in the key points of the course, I think that everyone has at least a photo from the race
  • bike wash – something that most of this year races didn’t had
  • amazing how the local community is involved in this event and how many volunteers they had

➖ Things to improve

  • some of the volunteers didn’t quite knew how to help, maybe it’s just me
  • at the start a special front row for elite riders would have been good in order to have safe start (although we didn’t had accidents)
  • a more careful marking of the course especially in the new area near the Saschiz fortress and on the trail where you might not be really focused and take the wrong turn (the others points had volunteers so it was good, but it only takes one tiny spot to ruin most of the work)
  • some of the trails weren’t cleaned enough having thick dangerous branches for the spokes or derailleurs or thorn bushes

✔ This year’s TBT gets a 9.5 out of 10 not only because of the race, but because of the whole atmosphere, the whole week and people around the event. Will come back again, it’s a must.

I hope that this weekend I will race at Lenzerheide World Cup, and I do everything I can to make it happen but I don’t know if the planets will align. There are way to many factors that I can not control and this kind of things bring me nightmares. I still hope but if I won’t make it, don’t pretend to be surprised.

After the rain comes sun. Cheers, Vlad

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