My friend Catalin grew up 1,5 hours from Bucharest, in Pucioasa, and has been talking about showing me the place and what kind of biking there is. Today is the day! The town is located at 400 meters elevation on the southern slopes of the Carpathians.
Oil and gas is big in Romania and on the way there you pass the pumpjacks
We met up at some friends busy bleeding brakes and changing pads
Spring hasn’t reached as far as in the city but today is a perfect day for biking. We start off with some asphalt
Here everyone has to share the road. The one with super vision will spot the tall mountains in the background, reaching 2500 meters. Actually the idea was to go skiing this weekend, but but… There are still some weeks left for the backcountry skiing.
The climb starts, leaving the town behind
Special time of the year…
Catalin points out the favorite mountain Leaota and explains about the yearly race he is arranging where you reach up there doing 90 km and 3000 meters of climb… I should say he is a sponsored rider and finished number six in the Romanian championships last year. So now you get an idea of how much I had to push to keep up with him.
Now it’s more up and down. We actually stay between 400 and 800 meters of elevation all the time. Here is the view of ”Breast valley”. Yep, that’s the name!
We arrive in the village of Runcu and there is an intense smell of Țuică (plum brandy). We stop by a guy who is busy welding on a horse carriage and ask about the smell. And… this is what a horse carriage repair shop looks like
Oh yes, we are making Țuică. You want to have some? Marian, the guy, opens a Grolsch bottle and we have a couple of zips. Țuică is around 35% and the stronger version Palinka is double distilled and 50%. Accidentally I ask if he is making Palinka also. …So we got to drink also Palinka… And we were not allowed to leave with bottles of half a liter each with Țuică and Palinka. It’s not every day you go biking in the mountains with a lot of booze in the backpack. This little episode is so much Romania to me. The hospitality has no limits. Here is the master brewer Marian and Catalin
We continue up to a small collection of houses called the white river – Râu Alb.
Nice landscape and with mountain peaks in the background
Instead of the asphalt road we cross the road and pas through a small village
We depart from the ”main street” and pas the local joint
Up on a ridge we have to wait for a bunch of sheep to move and get to chat with this lady
After that there is a smooth downhill to Catalins parents place in Pucioasa.
We sum up the ride to 37km and 900 meters of climb and start digging into super tasty and traditional food that his mother has prepared.
The biking around Bucharest is ok, but can’t be compared with this. This was the first real ride of the year I’d say!