Porumbacu XCO

12 Sep

I have missed the XCO races feeling, but ever since my crash that I had before Alba Carolina Bike Race I was in doubt if I can push myself to the limit. Did my best to train as close as possible to normal. I wasn’t motivated at all to be honest, but I had to be disciplined. Motivation isn’t here every day.

As I did before, is better to travel with a (old) friend and Sebi took me with him. Arrived in Porumbacu on Saturday, just in time to validate our registrations and check the course.

In-the-room made dinner, brought our bikes to the room quietly because we weren’t allowed to (but we want it to sleep well and relaxed), streching, sleep, in-the-room made breakfast, activation and straight to the race venue.

The course

Has a lot of potential. The organizers and volunteers did a great job bringing modern features to it even though the “landscape” isn’t the most favorable. You can see my short IG reel here. A new rockgarden and a tree trunks sections were the main new attractions alongside the existing pumptrack and the steep hairpin climbs similar to Albstadt World Cup course. It had some sections that were a bit too narrow maybe, but it wasn’t very crowdy so most of us didn’t had any kind of troubles. The overall ascent of 110m/lap wasn’t quite reflected to the reality because the first part of the course had some short steep punchy climbs that I am quite sure that no GPS could record properly.

It was really dusty and I think that the soil is again quite similar to Albstadt and it would get really sticky and slippery if it would rain hard. It’s just a guess upon my experience. But now the conditions were great.

The Race

As the first turn was a 90 degrees from grass to loose gravel the goal was to be in front and then to find my own pace. I have just tried to because I think that the first two laps were a bit too hard, even thought I was feeling ok.

On the 3rd lap I’ve slowed down a bit, not to blow the engine but in the 4th lap I started my knee and elbow started to hurt, a sign that I am still not recovered after the fall. As I really want it to race the hardtail so I took the Cannondale Scalpel HT, with some fast Schwalbe Thunder Burt tires. A great choice for the course, but not quite for my physical condition. I have nothing to regret. Left everything out there and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I had also some to-notch help in the feedzone from Suzi H. and I would like to thank her for that, especially because she had so many other riders on her list. I am sure it wasn’t easy to follow every single one 🙏 (she also raced before).

With some luck, which is part of the game, I’ve somehow managed to get 2nd at the finish line. So right now the fight for the Romanian XCO Cup GC quite close and the 2nd and 3rd spot will be decided at the last stage, 2 weeks from now at Campulung. I am now 4th 4 points from 2nd place. So back to work, preparing this last race of the season.

Foto: Tibi Hila

There were also some things that quite shocked me. At least for me, for the first time in the last 20 years of mountain bike racing, no one from the podium, at any category (except the kids) didn’t get anything except a plastic medal. A plastic medal for all that effort. We couldn’t even recover the registration fee which wasn’t quite small. Even a chocolate bar to bring back to my older son would have been something… Most of us love to race and not doing it to get something back, that’s why I am doing it for 2 decades already, which is exactly 58.3% of my life. I hope the organizers will think and find a way to reward the people that ended or will end in the future on the podium. Anything, but to reward them somehow.

I am also quite sure that not many of us will have the guts to talk about this and some will hate me (even more maybe) for opening this topic. But I think that the Romanian Cycling Federations should or must establish a scale of prizes and fees for at least the National Cup races (even if it’s road, mtb or cx) similar to other race formats. Not for a Cup stage but at least for the Overall GC. Like that riders will start to appreciate the real value of the Cup and will start to race more even if one race or another will have a higher or lower budget. What do you think? Leave me a comment. Or you can even mail me about it, because I know it’s a sensitive topic but I am open for a discussion to find the best way to suit everyone. I am saying this because I wanna see a progression of our sport.

Just an example, if you know what I mean

Last, but not least I am also immensely thankful to my sponsors, family, and friends for their unwavering support.

See you soon. Cheers,


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