Is there good mountain biking in Poland?
Turns out the answer is YES! The Sudety Challenge is one of the longest standing stage races in Europe. The 6 day stage race takes place along the Poland and Czech Republic border. Each day boasts over 6,000′ of climbing on forest roads and technical singletrack. There was even some soul-crushing hike a bikes! I was able to dominate the race with 6 wins/6 days. I even won a timed descent ahead of ALL the men, including the pro men. It was a nice surprise because my training going into the event was sub-par from burnout, taking on too many projects, and being sick.
I didn’t know what to expect with this race. I was told that it had great trails, but I have had mixed opinions about stage races in Europe due to insane course traffic or very little singletrack. Most stages outside North America are heavy on the dirt road riding and light on the fun trails.
Poland was A BLAST! The right balance of people on trails and people were courteous on singletrack. The climbs were SO hard. My climbing wasn’t where I wanted it to be due to lack of training. I got passed by so many men on the climbs and it was frustrating. The best part was being able to make up the time in almost every case on the descents! In Poland, the trails go straight up and straight down.
The race had 3 race villages, all with 8000 people or less. We really got the authentic rural Poland experience!
This podcast episode I recorded with Matt goes into the details of the race in terms of both my experience and also Matt. We talk about traveling in Czech Republic and Poland, what it was like in Krakow and Prague, and some history of the area.
Topics Discussed in the Podcast
- Why we chose to go to Poland
- Road tripping in Poland/Czech Republic
- The experience of racing the Sudety Challenge
- Is there good mountain biking in Poland?
- How to put the ego away and have more self compassion
- travel in Krakow and Prague
- Impressions of visiting Auschwitz
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