Video: From the Top of Veľký Choč

Aug 7, 2013
by Enduro Me  
Photo by Piotr Staro www.staronphoto.com
Views: 13,213    Faves: 24    Comments: 1

Photo by Piotr Staro www.staronphoto.com

Not far, yet so different
Out of all Polish neighbours Slovakia offers probably the best places to ride throughout the entire country. At the same time, their authorities seem to be much more open to tourists than in Poland – many things that are possible to do in Slovakia are unthinkable in Poland, and landscapes that are open to cycling there are totally closed to riders on the Polish side of the border. These factors have been fuelling our curiosity for our neighbour’s riding spots over the last few years. We simply love riding in Slovakia and apparently locals do as well – there are numerous Slovakian rider groups like great people from Presov called Am.En and their mountain bike athletes represent a very high level of riding skills. It is time to go for a ride around Veľký Choč.

Photo by Piotr Staro www.staronphoto.com

Doing new stuff in a well known place
The area surrounding Veľký Choč is not that new or unknown as it may seem – one of the most popular Slovakian bikeparks is located in nearby Ružomberok, it is also not so far from Jasna – one of the best places to ski in the area offering lots of pistes and great freeride spots in winter as well as a nice bikepark in summer. Once again and as usual – we are not interested in dancing to the music that someone else is playing – let’s go out and find our own lines down!

Photo by Piotr Staro www.staronphoto.com

Nice hill, no doubt!
Veľký Choč at 1611m AMSL is the biggest summit of the Choč Mountains range that is a part of Inner Western Carpathians. An interesting characteristic of these mountains is that they are mainly built of sedimentary rocks instead of igneous ones.

Photo by Piotr Staro www.staronphoto.com

As geeky at it sounds it translates to one key feature of the area – the mountain is as green as they get with huge areas of mountain pines, various types of trees and bushes and beautiful flowery meadows. This is a perfect area to ride with picturesque singletracks and forest lines. The rocks are overgrown with greenery and offer great places to have fun at – natural drops and tight switchbacks. We are in love!

Photo by Piotr Staro www.staronphoto.com

Straight to the top
The green and rocky terrain of Veľký Choč gets quite challenging in the upper part of the ride. At some point there is no other way than to carry the bike on your back. But, reality check! This is enduro, dude!

Photo by Piotr Staro www.staronphoto.com

As we are passing the level of mountain pines, stuff gets serious. We are entering the rockier part of the mountain and after a while we are at the summit. We spend some time watching the beautiful landscapes of the surrounding area, have some rest and grab a bite. After a while we buckle up and get ready for enduro’s crème de la crème – the downhill!

Photo by Piotr Staro www.staronphoto.com

Meadow wonderland
As we get down to the usual scheduled program we pass the rocky area of the mountaintop and drop into a picturesque forest. The smell of pine resin surrounds us as we rip through narrow lines between the trees. Moves get quick, decisions get risky. The flow is there and so are we, with big grins on our faces.

Photo by Piotr Staro www.staronphoto.com

It is as fun as it gets, but we soon leave the forest and ride out into a beautiful meadow. Is that bad – not at all! We get to ride for a while in the afternoon sun and once again feast our eyes with beautiful views. That is a great ride indeed and we are at its culminating point. We are slowly descending into the valley and getting our minds ready for the way back home. Boy, it was good!

Photo by Piotr Staro www.staronphoto.com

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence
Our trip to Slovakia seems to prove the point of this old saying. We spent a lot of riding time in our neighbours’ land and we still can’t get enough of it. Slovakian mountains are beautiful and accessible, people are friendly. We will be coming back for more for sure!

Photo by Piotr Staro www.staronphoto.com

• Riders: Mariusz Bryja & Tomek Dębiec
• Photos: Piotr Staroń, www.staronphoto.com
• Camera: Marcin Bukowski, www.rowerowepodhale.eu
• Video Editing: Mariusz Bryja
• Support: Ibis Cycles, Local Outerwear, Urge Bike, Cane Creek Cycling Components, Joystick Bicycle Components, Mozartt.com, ZEIT

Posted In:
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39 Comments

  • + 1
 Hi, Im heading there in few days and Im curious what way is best to ride... (I saw blue route??)
(Hope I get answer after 3 year Wink )
  • + 2
 We were here three weeks ago Smile great experience, look at photos www.adammojzisek.cz/fotogalerie/bike/#dsc0135-jpg1
  • + 2
 Great pics, great beer and food, great riding - only the legendary Czech babes are missing Smile Maybe we will stumble upon each other one day, who knows!
  • + 1
 No czech girls were not there: ( but the beer was:-D temperature was 30 too:-D I've seen your videos from Poland's Beskids, we drive in Czech and we meet on the border Smile
  • + 2
 We will be riding this weekend in Bukowina area.
  • + 2
 Enduro this enduro that ...... start being boring using this word , i m gonna call my dog a cat
  • + 5
 We have been doing enduro for 15 years now, not since it got popular last season. Seems legit Wink
  • + 4
 Correction
" We have been doing all moutain biking for over 15 years now, not since it got popular last season. Seems legit"
  • - 2
 Smile Seems legit, legit. But we have been calling that Enduro since 2005/6, I bielieve. That's still much longer than 2 years Smile
  • + 4
 I ve been doin this since the 80's and just call it mountain bike............. not that much marketing at this time......
  • + 2
 Seems tres-legit Wink
  • + 2
 that has to be the longest guitar wank ive heard on a biking edit! good show! tup
  • + 2
 hahaha, thanks, dude!
  • - 2
 Lol. These guys are so stupid. You are not allowed to be there on a bike. There is a reservat or something like this. They are proud because they broken slovakian law. Now Slovacs have all evidence and are free to punish these stupid polish guys.
  • + 7
 I can confirm that it is in fact not allowed to ride a bicycle in the Choc area. It is categorized as National Nature Reservation with 5th level of protection (highest) and biking is forbidden in such areas by law. There maybe some exceptions in parks "visitor order" but most likely it would be something like "Biking allowed only on marked cycling routes". You guys were probably lucky that you didn't get caught & fined.

As a general rule, Slovakia IS NOT more open for mountain bikers than Poland. Most like it is on pair if not worse. I don't agree with the current Slovak jurisdiction, I am merely correcting the facts from the article,
  • + 3
 Ignorantia iuris nocet - as the old Latin saying says. We were really not aware of the fact that we are entering a reservation area, however, our lack of knowledge does not make our wrong doing smaller. We are usually quite meticulous in restraining ourselves from off-limit riding - these protected areas are usually brought to really protect something... Velky Choc is one of the most important places to Slovakian people and we really hope that apart from doing something not 100% legal, haven't insulted anyone. We have seen numerous reports of cycling in Velky Choc area, but the fact itself that someone has done it does not mean that it is legal to do so.

In terms of Slovakia vs Poland in cycling, we were basing our opinion on the experiences we had there and the riders we have been riding with - Slovak people are the best to ride with we have ever met. Of course National Park guards are really strict in Slovakia, but so are they in Poland. At the same time Slovak administration is more ope to tourism, especially in respect to winter. Bottom line - actions depicted are most probably off-limit and we should be checking that stuff more carefully in the future, especially riding in a foreign land. That's what we are going to focus on from now on.
  • + 5
 As I said: I do not exactly agree with current laws and many other Slovaks don't do either (especially mountain bikers). It's just that the article left an impression of "Come to Slovakia, you can ride the mountains as much as you please." which may get potential visitors with mountain bikes into trouble. Smile
  • + 1
 Looks like fun, would love to make a trip to the old country to ride some day.
  • + 2
 Drop us a line if you do!
  • + 1
 Man that was wild! Super nice. You guys know any place in croatia thats good for enduro?
  • + 3
 Not bad. For clowns.
  • + 2
 Haha, Whistler's Clown Shoes is one of the most popular trails in the world for a reason!
  • + 2
 I am so craving some fruity pebbles and mint oreo cookies now...why??
  • + 1
 looks like a super fun trail to shred
  • + 3
 If you are ever visiting Europe, give Slovakia or Poland a try - super cheap compared to Western Europe yet wilder.
  • + 2
 Nice!
  • + 1
 I dig that striped jumper, so sick!
  • + 13
 Anybody else strongly disagree?
  • + 2
 wally jersey??
  • + 1
 Hmmm... home sweet home! cant wait riding it.
  • + 1
 Wow looks a nice trail and the photos are epic
  • + 1
 nieźle żeście podkoloryzowali , nie tylko zdjęcia Razz
  • + 1
 Is this guy with the striped jacket in a video from a week or two ago?
  • + 3
 Yep
  • + 1
 Dude, lose the stripes.
  • + 2
 Sorry, the stripes make the camera catch focus faster Wink
  • + 6
 Or at least the socks...
  • + 4
 please lose the stripes, not cool at all!!
  • + 0
 That guys jumper WOW

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