In future yearsÂ 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:
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:Â Dead DogÂ Â Â Â – 23km
Day 2 / Race2: Perfect DayÂ Â – 30km
Day3 / Race 3:Â Free4AllÂ Â Â Â -Â Fun Downhill (Dobrinishte)
We talk about general entertainment,Â 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… http://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.Â 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.
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 describesÂ the future MTB possibilities around the Chalin Valog lift…Â 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: http://banskoblog.com/cheapest-flights-sofia/
If you haven’t done so, just click on play below to listen:
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:Â http://banskoblog.com/bansko-accommodation/.
ForÂ a warm welcome from Vania and James do also check out their hotelÂ 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:Â http://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.
If you enjoyed this audio interview and article, then why not receive more like this? Just add you name and email below and you’ll receive occasional updates direct to your email inbox.
You will never receive any spam, nor will your details be disclosed to any third party.