A hazy memory of gondola and DH trails in the capital city of Ljubljana, taking a few days for a bit of Slovenian style relaxation seemed like a pretty good idea, my loose plan was falling together nicely…
LOOSE PLANNING IN LJUBLJANA
Words by Victor Lucas. Photos by Victor Lucas.
If there is ever a historic graffiti wall dedicated to DH racing, the name ‘Maribor’ (Slovenia) will certainly be sprayed all over it. Seasons have come down to the wire in this small Slovenian town and titles have been won and lost over a few fractions in its dark rooty forest. The course has got a bit of everything and will reward a racer who’s willing to take a few risks. Especially the bad–bastard rock garden, it makes the safe–players weak at the knees and brings a wheel building mechanic out in a cold sweat. The big names have been raging down this hill for many years, usually followed by some serious mayhem in the local bars and clubs. Most people truck in just for the race and then blast out again with a cheap hangover and hoping not to get fined for the motorway toll sticker they didn’t buy on the way in.
On one of these trips, heading west towards Italy in a fog of energy drinks and low–grade vodka, we made a short stop in the other popular bike park at Kranjska Gora, the endlessly stunning alpine scenery left a mark on my ‘places to explore’ list.
So a couple of years later, and after some hasty web trawling, it turns out that Slovenia is a fairly small country – about 2 million people scattered over a place the size of Wales but with half of it up in the mountains. It’s also the third most forested country in Europe after Finland and Sweden. The Mediterranean is close by too, with borders to Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary. Plus the weather is nice. There was also a hazy memory of someone telling me there was a gondola and some DH trails in the capital city of Ljubljana (sounds like Lube–Lee–Yana). So combine all this with the fact that the dust was just settling after the Maribor (2010) race and we had 1500 miles between us and the next one in Fort William, taking a few days for a bit of Slovenian style relaxation seemed like a pretty good idea, my loose plan was falling together nicely.>>