On the 4th of June the legendary Beskidy MTB Trophy begins. I’m told the race is an absolute must. The organiser claim it’s “the hardest bike race held in this part of Europe and one of the most demanding ones worldwide”. This race has been on my raider for a number of years but never before has the calendar allowed me to travel to Poland for this or any other event. It’s a new country to explore and a proper mountain bike race with technical trails; this excites me.
Each year the organiser tries to broaden the area the race covers but all stages start and finish in Istebna to keep logistics simple. Trails through Czantoria, Stożek and the queen climb of Rycerzowa are said to be defining moments of the race. For those not just focusing on the wheel in front it’s possible to experience the breathtaking views over the Tatra mountains – the highest mountain range in Poland.
The event now offers 2 distances. The Classic distance will cover 285 km and over 10,000 m of elevation. For the less experienced riders, who feel a bit overwhelmed by the Classic Trophy’s statistics there is the shortened Mega distance that will cover 200 km and 7,200 m of climbing. Racers choosing the Mega distance will not miss out but this distance is designed to encourage more people to taste “the Beskidy ride” without pushing their limits too far.
Stage 1 doesn’t offer much of an easy warm up with 2400 metres of climbing in just 62 kilometres! The course will cover the well known trails of the Wielki Stożek area. The first uphill is a classic Beskidy climb with some roots, loose rocks, and a touch of mud to get racers into their rhythm. A downhill and later a wide forest road leads the race to Wielka Czantoria. At 21 kilometres the Mega distance splits off towards the finish line, the Classic distance contestants race a demanding 14km loop containing two solid climbs and a very technical Red Trail singletrack. The first climb on this loop (Mała Czantoria) begins with gravel road before later turns into a tricky uphill singletrack. Then the Black Trail leads the race towards the loop’s second climb (Wielka Czantoria). From the top of the climb the race takes the Red Trail again, this time going downhill, to meet with the MEGA distance course. Then it’s time for another, sometimes very steep, climb (Soszów Wielki) and a visit to Czech Republic. As the race heads towards the finish line racers will ride through a well-known singletrack by the river. After that it’s only a few kilometres of tarmac to the finish.
I’ll be using the event as part of my build up to World Marathon Championships at the end of June. After a busy May racing Tiliment Bike Marathon in Italy, British National Marathon Champs, European Marathon Champs in Italy, then 2 hard weeks of training i’ve just taken a well earned recovery week. Hopefully after a weekend of good training my legs will be back up to speed for 4 days of suffering.
We hope to bring you daily updates from the Beskidy MTB Trophy covering all the excitement from what looks like a thrilling 4 days of racing.