An epic day – Iezer, Romania

 

Most people talk very positive about where they come from, so does my friend Razvan.

He has always been keen on showing why his home town Câmpulung is such a fantastic place for biking. For some reason it took me 4 years to finally discover it and I’m glad I finally did!

It’s a two hour drive from Bucharest – here it is:

Going there was a bit of a last minute decision due to very unstable weather lately and with less good forecasts for biking at high elevation. Finally there seemed to be an opening with sun in the morning but probably some showers later on. Whatever would come we enjoyed the sunshine at the start – some 15 minutes north of the city. The crew: me, Razvan, Cosmin and Ștefan.

Well, hard to not enjoy the setting…

Approaching end of May I still receive fresh reports from friends skiing in the mountains, so we kind of knew that we wouldn’t be able to reach the peaks but worth seeing how far up the mountain we could get. We get going up one of the valleys

Razvans hang over from the party last night gets treatment

We make it above the tree line

Down there is Pitești, and close by Mioveni, home town of the car make Dacia.

Ștefan is struggling (far to the right) while we get our pictures taken. Cosmin with snowy Bucegi in the far distance:

Another pit stop

A long climb, pain killer and a small downhill and you feel this good:

First big climb on the new bike and it feels like cheating compared to the old one. Bigger wheels and lock-out on the suspension make it so much easier to go up the mountain

Happy dudes reaching the snow

At 2200 it’s too much snow to continue. We leave the peaks (at approx 2400) for next time and turn around

Gotta include this picture… I always get the laughs about “bending over” to set the self timer on the camera:

But it’s how we get a nice picture of the crew:

As we cannot get higher we continue along the mountain and get a nice view of the Făgăraș mountains.

It’s a steep hillside and still a lot of snow, but we manage to pass

Meditation…

At approximately 2000 meters elevation these flowers are just all over

The Iezer peaks in the background, as well as the dirt road with snow patches that we came down on

The downhill above the tree line is just too good to stop for picture taking but here’s a flat section

Into the forest, and onto an unfortunately destroyed dirt road, Ștefan takes a fall

He recovers and we continue down the valley

It’s some 7 or 8 hours since we started and the energy level is a bit low considering that we still have some climbing to be done. But as always in Romania there is a small shop in the most unexpected places and we get some new energy to keep moving

Romanian icons. Aro – the (in)famous jeep once produced in Câmpulung, Religion and Roman – the truck brand from Brașov.

We start the climb through the village Bratia

Iezer in the background

Some nice formations: Râpa Şoimului

We are now at the top of Ciocanu, the freeriders hangout in Câmpulung. There are something like 5 different built trails. The city in the background;

From here it’s full speed down this trail and then a sharp left into a section of awesome berms

Just that we managed to get two flat tires. And while helping each other, others are making fun out of it

What a blast. I make my first jumps since I broke my leg one year ago and get to push the 29’er through some gnarly stuff. We’re stoked. I’ve got the bike for the job, but Razvan goes full blast in spite of his hardcore XC bike. Amazing!

We then leave Cosmin and Ștefan and set off for some more downhill trails. It’s almost 9,5 hours since we started and we need our reward… And it’s right there:

All in all an epic day with some 73km and 2500 meters of climb:

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