The first edition is in the bag. It kicked off without any ceremonial fanfare. Quite the opposite, it’s been rather a humble inaugural opening. I couldn’t help but having the notion that the majority of participants knew what was lurking in the days coming up. Knowing the race will take in the Sudety mountains, a typical area of the best marathons, was enough to make racers regard the event well. The Czechs had waited ages for their own first stage race and were compelled to satisfy their longing in races abroad.
The prologue, an uphill time trial for that matter, a knee-breaker technical crest, led us partially in a creek bed up to the stony Bischofstein. That was a benign race launch, just the gauge were we are at with our fitness and freshness. I had a grand sensation despite the fact that 2 days prior I raced the in the Hungarian Visegrad Marathon. A sophisticated recovery method showed its effect; however the uncertainty, as for what keep the following stages for me, was omnipresent.
Albeit, the forecast called for stable weather for the whole length of the event, the previous rainy period turned the tracks into in to a mud-bed. And so, the first stage presented itself as a decent challenge not only due to its remarkable terrain characteristics. I had heard a ton of tales about this province, and they were mostly intimidating with a lot of heads ups. Purposely, I didn’t go into details profoundly, and took my chances. Over caution never pays off with me, and I rather enter terra incognita than to over study the course and getting paranoid thereafter.
Truth be told, the designer of the route, Vena Hornych, who is as well accountable for track designing of venerable races like Beskydy Trophy and Bike Challenge, lived up totally to the expectations. His obsession with creating mind bogglingly challenging paths is just way too recognized. True to his mantra: Designed for genuine bikers, there was barely any fraction of the second to get distracted by the divine landscape, as this inattention would have meant to pay for it dearly. I expected some graduations of difficulties day by day. Though, the hallmark was true for every stage. The only variables were obviously the distance end elevation. The intention of the makers to fabricate a race that features terrible rough conditions, littered with seriously rocky and rooty trails, short power climbs in a mountainous wilderness, was unmistakable. Sure, to stand out by this isn’t an ill-meant target, and I for one can only applaud to this fact, since in my eyes, those conditions are really tailor made for genuine bikers seeking a so called honest race. There is no hiding, and drafting is next to nonexistent.
For me one of those attractive points to race in Czech Republic is the fact of high competitiveness. The battle goes down even for places of 200-ish. Its ridiculous on the one hand, that said, it works for me perfectly. What’s more, the field featured a couple of illustrious names of the international marathon scene. Just to name a few Jan Hruska, Tomas Vokrouhlik, Martin Horak, etc. all proven pro competitors. That encourages me in a big way.
This time though, the trend to move up in the GC has been negative. From 8th I slipped down to 10th in my category which I do chalk up to the fact of the insufficient recovery time between all those races I did this year. After all it’s been the 20th event I raced and the on-setting exhaustion is imminent. So pacing was the phenomenon I had to mind the most, and that meant at times to let go some of the small groups that upped the intensity. That being said, I don’t harbour any regrets for having conducted a rather conservative attitude and a measured race. It’s been mostly a huge unknown, with an unpredictable outcome. And second, no first edition of any race has an established, cemented history, proven track record, references or credentials in place. But after finishing the final stage, we were fairly in the know as far as the reference goes. And we can gauge on that, and put in place our expectations for the next edition.
Due to the components of the race, the Trilogy is just about to write a success story with regard to the next editions. And those components are first and foremost, the picturesque landscape of Broumovsko, scenic backcountry in the Czech/Polish frontier area. And, frankly, the course by no means suffers from lack of inspiring course trademark, that is, an eternal up-and down, treacherous trails, stair step-style drops, and on and on.
The latter, though, took its toll. Rarely did I see so many mechanicals, broken materials and desperate riders being forced to surrender for that reason. But that might be chalked up to unpreparedness too, even though, next-to none has been in the know in regard to deceptive course characteristic.
Worth mentioning is the proven, well established support given by the support crew. But, frankly no one really had expected anything else knowing the well-oiled management.
The first rank in the GC goes to Jan Hruska, followed by Vokrouhlik and Bubilek. They provided a great battle all along.
It would be a bold statement to deem it unanimously a flawlessly perfect first edition and established race. The demanding and severe route didn’t find only followers, and justly, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of contest. But those being fond of serious and true mountain bike stage race will be rubbing their hands for the next edition. Trilogy found its fans and it’s only a matter of time, this race will enjoy a more international flare.