We are heading into the heart of Dinaric massive, deep into the forests, one of the most mistic places in our Slovenian country, the Kolpa river gorge. Heavy forested land with more than 80% forest coverage, with brown bear, wolf and lynx population present, is perhaps the most neglected cycling area in our land.
Medio fondo Costella is relatively easy ride for the first half of course. It will be possible to ride in a big bunch for first 57km for majority in the group. And for more experienced riders drafting the group for first 65km, until main climb of the day, shouldn’t be a problem either. The start of the fondo is high on a plateau, aprox. 250vm above Kolpa river walley. First 15km are slightly uphill with few shallow drags, which might be a bit too much for weaker riders, but generaly most should be able to survive and stick with the blob until long descent into Kolpa gorge. Once we hit the bottom of the gorge, the road follows the river upstream and is twisty but mostly flat for almost 40km. However, there is a smal but very nasty drag somewhere around 57km where road doesn’t follow the river but does a short steep ascent to crest the natural bottle neck obstacle in the gorge. For the strongest riders, these first 65km won’t be hard at all, exept for the concentration on long descends to not loose the draft of the blob and fall of due lack of concentration. Everything else will be easy. Then comes the main objective of the day, Strma reber climb.
This climb is unbelivable scenic and is a real beast. About 30min long climb for 5wkg riders, is increasingly steep as it progres up the hill. In the middle part it is relentless for few kilometers with gradients constantly around 12% and more. This one is for pure climbers. They will enjoy it. And they can build minutes to less capable or heavier riders. And they will need those minutes for good, since it’s still fair amount of distance to cover until the end and heavier riders might find their mojo there to catch back escapee’s if the gap won’t be large enough.
It is expected for the fastest riders to cover the fondo in ~3h. For a bit slower riders there might be 3h30 or even 4h needed to complete the full ride.
New week, new runda course. From far north-east to the south-east of Slovenia. From Prekmurje to Dolenjska region. Into Novo Mesto city, the capital of happy people.
Might be something related with food they eat and drink. More probably with the latter, because they adore the sort of wine called “Cviček”. And just a sip of Cviček brings the smile on mans face. And these people smile most of the time…
Back to our Runda course. Flat and fast (but not straight!), out and back course, with turn-around at the top of Oštrc climb. With only 3.6% for almost 6km Oštrc is not particulary hard climb. It’s a type of a big ring climb where drafting still plays a major role, because speed never drops below 20kmh. But, it’s still 6km long, and there are still short ramps that might cause small splits within the line up the hill. Anyhow, for the strongest group of riders, the climb will be very likely to easy to fall apart. Thus the real racing will have to happen on flats. And as with any (too) flat course its always open until the end.
We are starting late winter/spring medio fondo series with the easiest course in entire series. Starting in Ljubljana (latin Emona), the capital of Slovenia, and finishing in Ljubljana a top of the Ljubljana castlle hill.
This is probably one of two opportunities in this series where sprinter/fast finisher can win. All the other courses are much harder and contain at least some serious climbing challenges.
The route starts in the city, then heads into Polhograjski dolomiti hills where first two climbs awaits, but they are easy to survive with the group. First Zaklanec climb is realy gentle one, while the 2nd Žažar climb is ~2km @5% drag. No particular fireworks is expected here, since what follow next is simply too long to be on someones own. After cresting second hill, we will be traveling for almost 40km in counter clockwise direction on the southern edge of Barje basin (Barje=swamp in english). A pan flat land with long straight roads, which are a bit boring to ride alone, so it’s very advisable to find nice working group and share the workload through this almost one hour long section of route. The last part of fondo becomes much more interesting. Aprox. 20k’s to go the road does one short but sharp 5-8min long Repče climb to cross from Barje flats to the other side of Ljubljana basin. This is the place where race will almost certainly explode. Climbers must take the advantage here, if they want to contest for the win, since final Ljubljana castle climb is not enough long to dislodge the punchier riders. But even if they manage to crest over the with a split, they will have to push very hard for some 10km of flat roads, before finishing climb to castle starts. Once on the Castlle climb, it’s all on pure power and how much juice has anyone left in the tank. It’s a big ring 2-3min long standing juice squeezer. If going for the win, expect some painfull sensations in your legs.
Heading from the west to the far north-east of Slovenia. We will visit Prekmurje region, already a part of huge Panonia basin flats, altho this runda does the clockwise circle mostly within Goričko hills. Goričko is a hilly lowland area with shallow hills and typical ridge setllement. Traditional old villages will be always on the top of the hill, with agricultural land on the upper parts and forest mostly in the walley. It’s a part of the world where time seams to beat less histericaly. Where people tend to be more calm. Litlle traffic you will find here, also no idiot will override you for riding more than 1m of the side, and a tractor might be sometimes more common on the road as a car.
The profile suggest a bumpy ride with quite some climbing along. Reality is different. These are beautifull roads, fast, rolling, slightly twisting along walleys, gently bumping over numerous small rises and never to be bored with never ending strights. IRL fastest times are usually around 1h30 and with well spirited field inlcuding nearby austrian riders, speeds can reach as high as 42kmh average. However, there is one sub 2min steep ramp wich usually splits the group apart. It’s called Trdkova climb. This is a nasty one, and is followed by some undulated terrain on the ridge of the hills which offers some buffering time for a attackers to build the lead. However, the second part of runda is mostly downhill on a very fast and rolling roads and a group working well together should be able to bring back home the breakaway as long it’s not too big. At the end, the road is flat, wide, pan straight to the line. A 60+km/h clash for big thights of fastmens. Who would love Runda like this?
Beautiful Vipavska walley is on the menü this week. The blossom of agricultural land, the garden of gods, loaded with fruits, vegetables, wineyards, pork. It’s an eden on earth with one and only exeption, the Burja wind!
Like with the land, so with cycling and cyclists. No where else in Slovenia, so many quality riders would be concentrated as in Vipavska region and nearby Kras. Actually there are so many cycling lunatics there, so many watts, we could export some power and be reach.
Palba runda is a fast and beutiful circular course around Vipava walley with only one climb long enough to split the group into pieces. Manče climb is ~2km long, @4.5% big ring climb, well suited for strong riders and puncheurs. It comes relatively early, only after some 10km into the ride and will split the group apart. Albeit there is enough of relatively straight and slowly descending ground afterwards, for many groups to rejoin again. But a group of three or four, working hard together, might succed in a breakaway attempt. Terain becomes more lumpy in the last 15km ofering many opurtunities for an ambush and bold attack. If not before, the race will most certainly explode in last 3.5km. Sprinters will have to bite through their handlebars to stay on the wheels there and contest the final sprint. But it’s possible, only there won’t be any big group sprinting at all. Only many small solo, duo, trio groups sprinting for the line.