Mountain Bike Event – The Road To Nowhere: Audio Interview

Jun 15, 2009 8 Comments by

James Hughes In future years  MTB (Mountain Bike) enthusiasts will look back to 2009 as the year it all started for Bansko’s mountain biking. The region, and Bulgaria, are now set to be placed on the MTB world map of destinations…

I recently caught up with mountain bike enthusiast, James Hughes. James is the mastermind behind the MTB Bansko event, “The Road To Nowhere” on 24th to 26th July. Take a listen here:

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James, an expat in Bansko of some six years, talks to me about his personal journey to Bansko. And how an initial factory search leads to a Bansko hotel purchase, James convinces that he’s here to stay for the long haul.

Listen to the event plan … and the ROUTE details – the Dead Dog and Perfect Day routes:

Day 1 / Race 1:  Dead Dog       – 23km

Day 2 / Race2: Perfect Day   – 30km

Day3 / Race 3:  Free4All     -  Fun Downhill (Dobrinishte)

We talk about general entertainment,  1 leva for a large beer, live bands and DJ in the main square. With a big turn out guranteed from Bulgaria’s mountain bike clubs – a good party atmosphere is on the cards.

A demo session on the 26th so you can try out the best bikes. wrap up some of the fun for three days. This is a NON PROFIT MAKING event… Just 20 leva entry fee or 50 leva including three night accommodation.

James then shares his thoughts… from the Ian Woosnam Golf Course… https://banskoblog.com/pirin-golf-club-events/

… to the long term future of Bansko as a mountain destination in general.

The energy, not to say time, James has put into getting routes marked up, is already huge.  Working with the municipalities, James is achieving more and more.

MTB enthusiasts in Bulgaria are right behind him, and James is sure of Bansko’s world class MTB credentials.

Bansko MTB - The Road To Nowhere"

On a personal note, like James, I have witnessed what can be achieved in Bulgaria. In Sopot, near Karlovo, just two hours east of Sofia lies the world class paragliding centre – nestling at the foot of the Stara Planina range.

Take off and MTB start are accessed by a chair lift that runs, on demand, for paraglider pilots and MTB’ers. The first stage giving you a 900 metre height gain. There is a really good vibe here around take off and in the landing field attracting regular summer events… I digress. I went there enjoying paragliding there two years ago.

Its a site on the paragliding World Cup (PWC) and deservedly so. Even then, Sopot was attracting serious MTB’ers to its top downhill track.

This is one of my favourite areas of Bulgaria — and well worth visiting, whether you are a mountain biker, paraglider pilot, hiker or just enjoy soaking up sublime scenery. Oh… and I recommend the small boutique mountain hotel, Almond Hotel in Karlovo.

Back to the interview: James and I spoke about Dobrinishte, just down the road from Bansko – and its potential. The Bezbog chair lift above Dobrinishte is the destination for day 3′s fun downhill “race” . He describes the future MTB possibilities around the Chalin Valog lift…  a potential world class course… for the hardcore downhill fanatics.

If you’re more like me, a cross country mountain biker – then the region also has so much to offer from day trips to four day tours of the Pirin. Bike hire is available in Bansko – BUT be warned bikes are not top of the range and its not hard to bring your own on the plane. Check out this for the best airline deals: https://banskoblog.com/cheapest-flights-sofia/

If you haven’t done so, just click on play below to listen:

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and then book yourself into this fun MTB rally 24th – 26th July: go to www.bansko-mtb.com.

If the free event accommodation is full — or you’re thinking of a summer trip then check out the value accommodation options here:  https://banskoblog.com/bansko-accommodation/.

For  a warm welcome from Vania and James do also check out their hotel  www.avalonhotel-bulgaria — and also their Thursday night curry evenings. The Avalon Hotel’s policy of low local prices is appreciated – and thoroughly deserves its popularity.

For other curry fans –here’s my Bansko Indian recipe:  https://banskoblog.com/does-bansko-have-a-curry-or-indian-restaurant/

What do you think of this event? Please comment below.

Have you completed MTB or cycle routes in Bulgaria that you have enjoyed? If so, then please contact me – especially if you can share your experiences.

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About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.

8 Responses to “Mountain Bike Event – The Road To Nowhere: Audio Interview”

  1. Johnny says:

    With regards to the comment about the bikes in Bansko not being the best in terms of Standard. You can now hire Diamondback response hard tails shipped in ffrom the UK and only 25 lv per day:
    https://www.banskotouristinformation.com/index.php

  2. LanceNelson says:

    Hi Johnny,

    thanks for the update on Diamond Back hire bikes…

    Anyone renting out full suspension bikes?

    Lance

  3. Johnny says:

    Hi Lance,
    Sorry only the lower range full suspension bikes on offer at the minute. Good value for money i suppose but i would not fancy heading down some of the trails here on them. Rather heavy and lacking good quality equipment !

  4. Barry says:

    Hey Lance,

    I had the pleasure of staying at James' hotel (Avalon – which I can highly recommend by the way!) in Bansko last week and he chatted enthusiastically about the Bansko MTB event. James has a very clear vision for this project, which is clearly a labour of love for him. I can see this becoming a big deal event in Bansko over the coming years. This will be a great event!

    Enjoy!

  5. LanceNelson says:

    Hello Barry,

    Thank you for your comment and your endorsement of James. Well deserved recognition for all he has done to get this event together!

    I will be bringing more photos ,and more mtb stories, from the Bansko event and MTB in Bulgaria in general.

    If enthusiasts and/or party lovers are too late this year to make plans – or to grab super cheap flights — then do sign up and you'll get event details like this sent straight to your inbox.

    Lance

  6. Bansko Jazz Festival 2009 Programme | Banksoblog says:

    [...] mountain biking? Then listen to local enthusiast James Hughes here: https://banskoblog.com/mountain-bike-event/. Day time swimming at Bansko Royal Towers or in the spa pool at Dobrinishte just 10 minutes away [...]

  7. Johnny says:

    Hi Guys, essential news regards the M Bike comp, i have listed the revised itinerary below:

    You choose between 2 days of cross country or 2 days downhill, yes you can mix it up as well !!!
    REGISTRATION FROM 3PM IN THE PARK ON 24TH JULY
    50lv/25 euro per person entry fee
    (numbers are limited so 1st come 1st served).
    20lv/10 euro fee if you have your own accommodation.
    The event will start at 3pm each day from the church in town then finish in the Bansko park !

    Cross country day one: 2 laps of the dead dog course
    Cross country day two: One lap of the perfect day course.
    Two days of Downhill at Dobrinishte, including free unlimited use of the chairlift…..

    "The Road to Nowhere" is a series of personal challenge rides held over 2 days. The races will be timed for your personal information, but are not “races” as such. We hope you will come to enjoy yourself and our mountains.
    Music, food and beverages in the square each evening.

    Party on Friday 24th with DJ – TBC
    Party on Saturday 25th gets fresh & funky in the square with DJ Emil Prize aka Boro (from Sofia's famous Camp Sessions at Yalta Club), and then at midnight will move on to Base Camp.

  8. Johnny says:

    Hi Lance, Important news on some changes to the M Bike event as the format has changed :

    You now choose between 2 days of cross country or 2 days downhill, yes you can mix it up as well !!!
    REGISTRATION FROM 3PM IN THE PARK ON 24TH JULY
    50lv/25 euro per person entry fee
    (numbers are limited so 1st come 1st served).
    20lv/10 euro fee if you have your own accommodation.
    The event will start at 3pm each day from the church in town then finish in the Bansko park !

    Cross country day one: 2 laps of the dead dog course
    Cross country day two: One lap of the perfect day course.
    Two days of Downhill at Dobrinishte, including free unlimited use of the chairlift…..

    "The Road to Nowhere" is a series of personal challenge rides held over 2 days. The races will be timed for your personal information, but are not “races” as such. We hope you will come to enjoy yourself and our mountains.
    Music, food and beverages in the square each evening.

    Party on Friday 24th with DJ – TBC
    Party on Saturday 25th gets fresh & funky in the square with DJ Emil Prize aka Boro (from Sofia's famous Camp Sessions at Yalta Club), and then at midnight will move on to Base Camp.

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