MTB Cycling Trip across Alpine Meadows

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Slovenia is a beautiful country for mountain bike cycling. Terrain is very versatile and you have thousands of miles of forest roads. Autumn is the best time for mountain bike trips. Nature looks amazing and weather conditions are just perfect. According to the weather report it’s supposed to be the last warm day of the year so me and a friend decided to do a “King of the Mountain” stage for the end of the cycling season. Road took us across three mountain passes and for the desert we “climbed” on Dovska Baba, the hardest climb that I ever rode.

The course starts at my house and only the first two miles are flat, after that it is all about climbing (and suffering). First two miles of the climb are extremely steep, maximum grade reaches 20%. When you see the sign for cottage Pristava, the hardest part is over and grade is now between 5% and 10%.

On the way to Pristava

We continued past Pristava to the first mountain pass at the Great Crossing. Photo below is showing a lonely tree on the meadow.

Lonely Tree

Since I was constantly taking photographies, there were plenty of stops (I think I might have annoyed my friend a bit).

Resting

After about 45 minutes of riding we reached the first mountain pass, Great Crossing. It is a crossing between four roads and that is where the name originates from. We took the right road to Planina Pod Golico.

Great Crossing

Descent is pretty steep and with all the leaves on the road you have to be very careful.

On the descent

Road took us past an abandoned iron mine that was active from 14th until 19th century. Iron ore was taken to the town called Jesenice in the valley below, where they smelted it in the furnaces.

Abandoned Iron Mine

We soon reached the lowest point of our trip in Planina pod Golico and on the photo below is a typical house in this parts.

Typical village house

After the village we started ascending again to the second mountain pass. I couldn’t stop admiring these two  horses beside the road.

Brown and white Horse

Road took us past an abandoned cottage where sheppards used to live. In the past few years many people retreated to the valley.

Abandoned cottage

The last obstacle before reaching the second mountain pass was a small forest and after 2 hours of riding we reached the second pass.

Through the forest

Descent wouldn’t be worth mentioning if we didn’t almost crash into a small pack of donkeys. Before I could pull my camera out they started running away so I only caught a glimpse of them. A fun experience for sure.

Chasing the donkeys

At the bottom of the second descent we ran into this adorable cottage full of colorful flowers and a small imitation of Slovenian specialty, Kozolec (small wooden structure in front of the cottage that is used to hold hay).

Adorable cottage

Path to the third mountain pass runs past some really picturesque landscape filled with meadows, sheppard cottages and cattle. This was the most beautiful part of the trip since the road is not steep so you can really enjoy the view.

Cows on Alpine Meadow

Another cottage with Kozolec beside it, you can see the road leading to the third mountain pass just behind it.

Cottage and kozolec

After the third mountain pass there is a short descend and then the climb to Dovska Baba begins. This is a true monster of a climb, the hardest I have ever ridden. Last 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) have an average grade of almost 20%, the maximum reaching 27%. First kilometer is not really steep so you can still enjoy the views. Below is a photo of a fancy residence on the right of the road.

Fancy residence

And some neat small cottages on the left.

Small cottages

It is almost impossible to ride the whole climb without stepping down at least once, because the road is in a pretty bad condition and you get thrown off the bike. And as you can imagine it is almost impossible to start riding again since the grade of the road is over 20%. But at least I had the time to take some more photographies. Photo below is showing the flatest section where I was finally able to get back on the bike again.

Steep road to Dovska Baba

When I was taking one of the unwanted stops I found a retted stump and sunrays in the dark forest to be the perfect motives for some more photographies.

Retted stump

Gloomy forest

Man was I glad when I reached the summit. This was without a doubt the hardest cycling experience to date. There is an Alpine cottage at the summit where you can rest a bit and enjoy the view. The tour was approximately 40 kilometres long (30 miles) and had 2000 metres (6600 feet) height difference so you can imagine just how steep most sections are. The final riding time was almost five hours (including the ride back).

Cottage at the summit

When we were descending it was already late afternoon and I just had to take a photo of this interesting game of light.

Sun with beautiful sunrays

Trip was an amazing experience but I would only recommend it to the ones that are in great shape. It is extremely hard at the end and can even be a bit disheartening but the amazing landscape and other sights sure make up for it. If you ever visit Slovenia and you are a mountain bike cycling enthusiast then you really must not skip this tour.

You can see the profile of the tour and some other data on a Polar Data Grid below:

Polar Data

 

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