View Full Version : Bulgaria

12-13-2011, 12:19 AM
Dear ladies, I am so happy to become part of Team Estrogen! I want to introduce myself and tell you my story so you will see biking in Bulgaria through my eyes.

It all started three years ago when I got on a friend’s bike and after 30 meters I decided that I should get one. I bought a brand new entry level class “mountain bike” but now that I see it, it looks more like a hybrid. It cost about $ 150. Its brand is Drag (http://www.dragbicycles.com/): one of Bulgaria’s most famous brands. I bought a cheap bike because I wasn’t sure whether I would ride at all or just buy it, ride it a couple of times and put it in the basement.

After some thousands of kilometers, which I fully enjoyed, I realized that this is the thing I want to do. Meanwhile my husband also got infected by the cycling disease and bought a more expensive bike and I borrowed it to take part in my first race. So, this was the moment to buy a more suitable bike for the mountain. I spent about $ 1 000 on more like all mountain bike, than real XC racing bike. The brand is RAM (http://www.ram-bikes.com/eng/index.php): another Bulgarian brand which is very successful and the bikes are really good. They use SRAM, while Drag uses Shimano. Another Bulgarian company for bicycles worth mentioning is Vivelo (http://www.vivelo-bikes.com/). They have a team mainly consisting of road races and they are really good.

So I was really happy with my new Ram bike and I started traveling a lot, racing and going to the mountains. Mountain biking in Bulgaria was not very popular and only few women participated in races. So it was not very difficult to win races. Still, I rode a lot and even if I did not train (I mean no HRM, no logs of ridden miles, no training program), I just had fun with lots of riding. My friends made fun of me because I was timid on the downhill so I decided to work on my weakness. I chose challenging tracks to train on. After a year, I became a lot better and everybody noticed that.

My advancement in the downhill was greatly aided by an event called Perpendicular Universe (PU) organized by a Bulgarian Cycling club Kriva Spitza (Twisted Spoke). My husband and I were invited to take part in the PU 2009 edition and since then, we go to the beautiful mountain called the Rhodopes where the organizers select challenging tracks. At first the event was “secret” and only selected bikers could participate in it. We were happy to be part of it because it meant that we have a certain level of preparation: technical, endurance, skills and etiquette. The event usually last between 4 and 5 days and we load our luggage on a truck which carries it from camp to camp. We sleep in uninhabited places so we need tents and sleeping bags and food all prepared in advance for 4 or 5 days. The number of people in this event is between 70 and 100. It’s impossible to describe the beauty of the mountain so I offer you to see some pictures. I am sorry that articles are in Bulgarian but you can see the pictures:
PU 2009 (http://mtb-bg.com/index.php/trails/travel/449-travel042)
PU 2010 (http://mtb-bg.com/index.php/trails/travel/1188-travel052-pu4)
PU 2011 (http://mtb-bg.com/index.php/trails/travel/1548-travel062-pu5)
The good thing about this event is that it is not a race and everybody can fully enjoy the mountain at their own pace and ride without beating their bodies into exhaustion. The downhill sections are really good to improve your skills.

Meanwhile I took part in many races in Bulgaria and I noticed that with every race the people are more, they are better equipped and with better bikes. This meant only one: the popularity of mountain biking in Bulgaria has increased. I also bought a new bike, this time it is an XC racing bike and:
here it is my beauty (https://picasaweb.google.com/107958122404071196571/ThassosMTBCup2011#5602071386989777170) Again it is the Bulgarian made Ram XC 1. Here is the built (http://www.ram-bikes.com/eng/xc_one.php)

Every year different cycling clubs or communities organize XC races: laps or marathons. We have a 24 hour marathon and in 2010 I became the first from the women. I was solo and it was a very interesting experience for me. The weather was awful, especially during the night. It rained, there was fog and if it is difficult to see where you are going in the dark, you can imagine the visibility of the combination darkness+fog. The rain was not heavy but it was enough to make the track slippery on the downhill and difficult on the climb. The organizers had chosen a very interesting track and I should say that even if I did 13 laps, I never got bored! Here you can see me on a downhill section with slippery roots and sideway slope: Annie 24 h solo (http://www.mtb-bg.com/images/stories/events_BGraces/events-bg-100919_33.jpg). On my left there is a deep gully where you can fall. I was a little upset because I could not race in 24hours again in 2011 because I was recovering from a serious injury (my brake’s lever stabbed me near the stomach).

In 2010 I was invited to become part of a cycling team near my place. The team is called Alexy Nikolov. Here’s how we look like (http://www.ccvarna.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/team_2011.jpg) I am very happy to be part of my team because the atmosphere is very friendly, the coach does his best to help all the kids on the team develop not only as athletes but as personalities, too.

Our team has a road section, an XC section and a DH section. As I mentioned DH, I will tell about this discipline in Bulgaria.
There are two bigger tracks where one can ride DH and many smaller ones. One is in Sopot (http://www.mtb-bg.com/index.php/gallery/photos/Shambhala-Open-Cup-2011) and the other one is in the resort Borovetz. This year the National Championships both for DH and XC were in Borovetz and I am happy to be again the National Champion in XCO. You can see pictures from the Nationals here (http://www.bikepornmag.com/?p=424).

The National Championship XC Marathon was at another place and it was the most difficult race for this year for me. Pictures of our team’s participation in the Murgash Marathon (http://www.ccvarna.com/?p=813).
The town where I live is called Shumen and I organized a cycling club. We do not have a racing team but we are more like a community to ride for fun and also socialize on a pint of beer. Last year we organized a race with laps but this year we decided to upgrade and we made a marathon. The track was not very long: only 40 km and about 1000m ascend but the participants said that it was extremely interesting because of the varying terrain. You can see some pictures here (https://picasaweb.google.com/107958122404071196571/2011). We have a beautiful plateau around Shumen. It’s not very high but it’s very close to the town and very convenient for a quick ride. The conditions are suitable for XC riding, for road riding (not a lot of traffic and a good road) and some boys found steep hills for downhill.

My story became very long; however I sure miss a lot of things but it is impossible to describe all the joy that riding a bike brings me here in Bulgaria. We have 4 seasons, beautiful mountains in every season and precious friend to share the joy with.

12-13-2011, 07:19 AM
Welcome! It looks so beautiful in Bulgaria! I loved the photos. Thank you for sharing and look forward to learning more.

12-13-2011, 09:03 AM
Great pictures - I wish I still had some Russian left in my brain from studying it all those years in college. :rolleyes:

12-23-2011, 10:48 AM
Welcome to TE; I'm eager to hear more about cycling in your country!

03-11-2012, 03:06 PM
I wish I still had some Russian left in my brain from studying it all those years in college. :rolleyes:

It's a shame I don't know Russian. My Dad was born there. I really must change that and get even a little of the language. :o

03-11-2012, 05:05 PM
I'm glad you made your story long because it is delightful! Thanks for telling it here.

06-08-2012, 12:51 PM
I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing, Anelia!

08-11-2012, 10:19 PM
Thank you for the appreciation :)
This year the event Perpendicular Universe took place again. It's been only a few days since we returned home after 5 days in the mountains.
Some really nice pictures (http://mtb-bg.com/index.php/gallery/photos/pu6)
my pictures (https://picasaweb.google.com/107958122404071196571/6?authkey=Gv1sRgCLi_4_jfj_a6Yg#)
and my friend's pictures (http://www.facebook.com/antonia95eneva#!/media/set/?set=a.471108936241729.111949.100000278806839&type=1)