Dorna CX – a frozen fairytale

25 Jan

It’s been a while since I’ve raced in Vatra Dornei, when actually I was on the both sides of the tape: as an organizer and a racer at Dorna XCO, a great event back in 2016 that I’ve put up with Petru Grigoras two years in a row.

Times have changed and a new generation of people came stronger to put Dorna again on the national cycling map. Dorna CX was also the host of the first ever Balkan Cyclocross Championship. That’s a great thing for both Romanian and Balkan cycling community.

But let’s get to my journey. My whole family came to Vatra Dornei so a break car is always a bit of a puzzle and a choice about what to take and what to leave at home. I took Felix’s bike too just in case + my bike, spare wheels, etc.

Because of the old infrastructure a 230km journey from Cluj takes about 3 1/2 to 4h and just about 30 before the destination it started to snow pretty heavily. ASAP I went straight on the bike and tried to clear a few laps on the course just to see how it goes. The fresh snow was a combo between mud and sand. And the long steady climb wasn’t quite helping. But the good thing is that we didn’t got dirty.

I’ve found a decent tire pressure and gain some confidence. I knew that the conditions will change as the forecast was predicting really low temperatures. But I knew what I have, and as mentioned before, I was confident. Than we went straight back to the cabin.

The race day was a bit different. With a -15C temperature during the night and a -10C during the day (that felt a bit warmer because of the sun) it was all frosty. The previous categories took their tools so the course had sections that were pretty sketchy. I didn’t had a roller for the warm up but it was a good decision because I had a couple of laps just before the start and it helped.

A fast start just in the front of the old Casino, which was nicely restored, straight into a narrow icy path with some elbows from right and left. I was 2nd and had a constant lap time during the whole race, except the last couple of laps when Paul, the new National Champion got behind me. Some shoulders here and there and I could stand in front of him until the last lap when I’ve made a few mistakes, he got in front pushing hard. Did more mistakes, mostly because of the fatigue and I knew at that moment that this was my limit.

Finished 3rd, again. The same place overall in the Romanian Cyclocross Cup. I would say that is a decent result, considering the circumstances. And considering that cyclocross involves mud and bad weather, two things that I don’t quite like or enjoy. Another tiny joy was that Felix was able to get used with the podium even though we both target the top spot.

But so far was a great way to spice up the winter training and get out the base miles routing. But now that everything is over I have to face these things too in order to prepare for the MTB season.

In the end, I can say that I’ve “enjoyed” the CX season and we’ll see what opportunities the future will bring.

I am grateful to my family, sponsors and friends for their continuous support, but also to Cristi Stan that adjusted the specific training for this discipline and pointed me some important things. Thumbs up!

Thank you everyone.

See y’all soon at the races.

Cheers, Vlad

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