When I was a child and was hiking “Sniezka” mountain I had a dream to uphill the mountain on a bike. After many years, hours of preparation and liters of sweat lost I made my child’s dream come true.
Sniezka is the peak that towers over Karkonosze and Sudety range, located on the border between the Czech Republic and Poland. It rises 1602,25 meters above the sea level. Twice a year the Karkonosze National Park opens its gates and allows to get the highest peak Sniezka on the bike. Although the route is only 14 km (8.7 miles), there is ca. 1 000 meters (620 miles) difference in the vertical direction. Number of participants is limited to 350, so if you want to take part in the race you have to book place right after their open the registration – places are disappearing like hot cakes!
I missed the first race which takes place in August but I managed to sign in for the second in September. I booked the place in January – 8 months before the start date! I started thinking about preparation for this deadly race. I searched the Internet very deep in order to find the appropriate program for the beginner (I have been mountain biking since many years but so far I have done it for a pure pleasure not for racing or uphilling ). It was harsh winter in January so I could not ride a bike outside – had to attend indoor cycling training sessions which were really cool as you ride in the rhythm of the music. In addition to indoor cycling I was running and doing all kinds of leg workouts. All of these 3-4 times a week. With the advent of spring I intensified my training to 5 days a week.
Defeat yourself, help others – sounded the motto of the event organized by Rotary International Club. The funds from the race were collected to support the treatment and rehabilitation of children with Down Syndrome from Jelenia Gora City. I woke up at 8:00 am – 3 hours before the start, ate delicious breakfast and checked my bike (if everything was held on place). The weather was beautiful that day – warm and sunny. I filled my bottle with powerade drink (blue is the best for me) and set off to the start line. First 4 kilometers were easy – piece of cake, smooth asphalt winding up. Unfortunately, what a beautiful come to an end, and uneven 13% incline rocky path initiated the real race. What a torment! You don’t even have time to have a drink because you have to keep your handlebar straight – the stones make you turn right or left. You have to watch out for other participants as many of them are falling down! if you fall down you will have problems to start pedaling on the inclination and accelerate.
The trail was opened for tourists so they were also my motivator to push forward. It was real funny when they realized I am a girl and began cheering me even louder (in the race, there were total 13 or 15 women out of 350 people). The most demanding part of the race was the final 2 kilometers long uphill track when you feel tired and have to face with your last weakness. Finally I made it, I was on the finishing line, time 1:53h -> maybe it does not break your ass but I was not race against time but race for child’s dream! Next time I will beat the time.