Heading to charming Dolenjska region this weekend. The land of famous Cviček wine, the one that makes people happy and smiling. No where else you can get so much hospitality and warmth on countryside as in Dolenjska.
Back to our medio fondo course. It’s one of the easiest parcours’s in this serié. With just 850vm along the route, this isn’t particulary hard one, albeit it’s not that flat at all. Because of undulating terain all along the way, it’s actually very open type of race, where it’s hard to predict what type of rider will excell. Definetly sprinter won’t be in a big trouble by climbing on this one. The longest climb of the day, Oštrc climb, was already featured in wednesday Dolenjska runda few weeks ago, and has been proved to be easy to survive, since the average is only around 3-4% and there are no steep ramps at all. It is only last 15km that provides some short and steep ramps where puncheurs could attack and succeed, else where its simply open to a wide array of riders. All they need to do is, to manage to be in the break away of the day and finish over the line first.
New start time of fondo series on Saturdays is 10:00 CET!
Medio fondo “par excellence”. A true fondo style of course traveling around Celje basin, cresting into two distinct river walleys and finishing above Celje city at the picturesque ancient Celje castle.
The course it self is very demanding. With more than 1700vm of climbing in ~100km of distance is the second most hilly course in this 10 week long serié. Climbers will love it. There are five distinct climbs along the course and all are nice climbs with gradients between 5-9%. No extreme gradients here, almost no red colour indicating steep slopes on a profile, just regular nice roads, but with significant climbing volume.
The climbs acording to popular Strava segments runs in following order:
The first hour of the fondo is flat and provides many small launch pads for a break away to establish. If a non climber wants to take a win here, he has to go away early, build decend lead before first climb and than still have terribly good day on a bike.
After the hitting the lower slopes of first climb, the bunch will desintegrate into many dispersed one-two-three rider groups that will very likely stay appart for the rest of the fondo. Only the strongest group might stay together until penultimate climb, and if not before, even this group will fall apart on that climb. If, by some strange combination, a small group of two or three riders still come together into the Celje city, than there will be the last climb where the strongest rider will outclimb others. No chance of a sprint clash here. The course is simply too demanding for people to stay together until finish line.
This is essentialy a summer variation of Dolska runda, the oldest runda in Slovenia, with almost 40 years of history. Lately, it has become more popular, due almost impossible traffic situation around Ljubljana and the main road to Litija, where original Dolska runda is going. Thus, this course turns left on to the Vače hill only after some 15km of flats and with completely changed character of course. If original Dolska runda is very flat, extremly fast course, this variation is hilly, featuring two proper climbs. Vače climb and Trojane climb. Both climbs are proper nice climbs that will suit climbers very much. And both have long, fast downhill rolling descends where heavy riders can catch back those lightweight goats. Especialy last 20km from top of the Trojane hill is a real speed festival. As much as heavy riders hate those climbs, they do enjoy while hammering down the wide walley at 45-60kmh for almost half an hour. Lightweights need here at least 1min30 of a buffer if they want to escape those heavy “panzerwagens” behind them.
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.