All mountain, all weather

trip report

Who would have thought that in the middle of July we would get rained on six days out of six! We had one day of nice weather, and that was on a Saturday, when we had to take a break, because our group was from Israel. Other then that, we were under constant rain. During the first days some serious showers, followed by steady rain the following days. At least it was warm.

The photos can be misleading, because they were taken solely on the first two days of our trip. After that, things got so humid, that I dared not take the camera out. At the beginning, our Israeli group was fascinated by the amount of water – they would stop at every rivet (looking temporarily menacing because of the heavy rains) and take photos of the brownish sludge, telling me that this much water would be enough for the whole of Israel. Finally, they got tired of it too. After all, they came to Romania to go cycling. In the mountains.

Actually, it was a bit unclear how they were planning to cycle. The organizer of the trip, a tourism agency who was our intermediary in Israel, warned us that this group was very though, and so we had to prepare consistent cross country rides, as per our declared style. When it came to it, it turned out that our group was mostly down hill, even if their bicycles were all mountain. The leader of the group dismissed my theory, “We’re not like that!” As if being a downhiller is some sort of shame. “We are all mountain, we like single trail!” Single trail indeed, just as long as it goes down. Truth be told they were very enthusiastic and some of them quite skilled on the descents. They would dive into trails that I was and still am rather cautious about.

It is also true that there were guys in our group of 14 who were closer to our cross country riding style, enjoying a good descent after a sweaty ride up. But the dissatisfied are always more vocal, and our program had to be adjusted slightly. So, instead of going up the Bugeci Mountains through Saua Dichiului, we took the cable car from Busteni (at least we got to ride to the Omu Peak, otherwise we would have stopped at Babele). Instead of taking the bikes from Predeal to Poarta, we hopped on the van that took us to the top of the Pestera village. And so, the classic tour of Piatra Mare got sliced in half. The last day in Postavaru was truly to their liking: cable car to the very top, and then down and down we went until we reached Brasov. It was also the day of their departure, and so obviously it was then the sun finally came out.

The heavy rain and the style differences didn’t keep us from having a good time. We did do some going up too: Baiului ridge is fairly difficult, the climb through the Zarnesti Keys and Poiana Brasov on the dirt road are no piece of cake either. And we went down: Baiului ridge again, the mega descent from Babele to Sinana, the Balaban ridge from Simon to Poarta, from Poiana Frumoasa to the Well of Botorog under Piatra Craiului – with a welcome lunch stop at Casa Folea. From Poiana Brasov over Tampa to Brasov, and through the river bed in Valea Poienii. Loads of good memories and many bruised legs, proof that going down is also a complicated business – especially on wet terrain. Here’s to more!

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