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.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!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.
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!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!
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!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.
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!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!
• 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