The last dance of the XCO Cup

26 Sep

MTB Academy XCO Cup was the last round of this year XCO Romanian National Cup. I was laying 4th overall, 2 points away from 3rd place and 3 points from 2nd spot. So I knew I had to leave everything out there and don’t look back.

Campulung is not that far from Cluj, but we have to pass over the Carpathian mountains so overall is a 6-7h drive depending on traffic. A town that is really rich in history even though it deserves more attention. It has beautiful buildings with a specific style. I’ve arrived there with the usual suspect Sebi on Thursday evening as he want it to race the XCE National Championship on Friday. I’ve skipped it as my focus was on the Saturday XCO. I kinda knew the course from my last race here back in 2021 and they didn’t had to many modifications so it was more or less just an adjustment of the lines. I didn’t forgot how steep the course was but on uphills on descends, but also narrow.

Race Day

Everything went pretty smooth and we had a good warm up. The main issue was that we had the start 1 minute after the Cadet riders (both male and female) so we started to catch up the riders after just a few minutes into the race. But we all had this issue. But after the first lap everything went pretty smooth and passing a rider every now and then became easier. From the beginning I tried to keep my own pace, one that I could constantly keep until the end and not look after one or another. So the time difference was also constant on each lap +-10 seconds. I can be happy with that and learn from it. Especially because this course is so steep and pushing hard from the first lap can be dangerous.

Photo credit: Bogdan Alecu

As a statement is that I’ve been shifting the gears 528 times, with almost 33 shifts / km. Also the biggest two sprockets were used the most and the smallest two weren’t even touched. Great tool that Sram has for their AXS systems. Really helpful if you wanna set up your drive train perfectly.

Was a great fight with everyone from the Master category and I am grateful that somehow the planets aligned and I managed to with the category. This got me on the GC of the Romanian XCO Cup from 4th to 2nd but without any chance to win the overall. Huge congratulations to everyone who raced, especially the kids who had their National Championship, the Elite rider who also had the Balkan Championship but also to the organizers that tried to make everything for a successful event and I quite sure that now they have a great feedback about what they can do better in the future. Also a lot of spectators cheering for us, thing that brought me a big smile on my face.

Photo credit: Razvan Lupica / riders club

I’ve been racing my Scalpel-SE(nder) but with some minor adjustments: Tune Blackburner 28 wheels, Tune Turnstange Flatbar, Tune Komm-Vor saddle, Sram XO1 AXS drivetrain, Schwalbe Racing Ray/Ralph 2.35 tires. I had a rear disc rub (so a small drag too) after a rock hit it in the 2nd lap but I tried to mind my own business and kept pushing.

Many thanks to everyone supporting me: family, sponsors, friends. Means so much having you beside me, especially when the sea gets rough.

This might be the last XCO race of the season, but I keep working and see what opportunities will show. So until the next one, cheers to everyone.


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