December 7, 2009

A dream came true (Part 1)

Last year in the summer I was looking at pictures of the Merida 904 and some pictures of the Transfăgărăşan. I was dreaming of climbing this mountain and I wanted the bike. I bought the bike last year but I failed to conquer the mountain. I hoped to make my dream come true this year. But the summer passed and I gave up. Then I found out that there is a tradition, the forum from is organizing the "Last climb on Transfagarasan" each year in the first weekend of December. A friend was going with the car so I had a ride :D

"The Transfăgărăşan or DN7C is the highest and most dramatic paved road in Romania. Built as a strategic military route, the 90 km of twists and turns run North to South across the tallest sections of the Carpathian Mountains, between the highest peak in the country, Moldoveanu, and the second highest, Negoiu. The road connects the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia, and the cities of Sibiu and Piteşti.

The road climbs to 2,034 metres altitude. The most spectacular route is from the North. It is a winding road, dotted with steep hairpin turns, long S-curves, and sharp descents. The Transfăgărăşan is both an attraction and a challenge for hikers, cyclists, drivers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike. Due to the topography, the average speed is around 40 km/h. The road also provides access to Bâlea Lake and Bâlea Waterfall.
The road is usually closed from late October until late June because of snow. Depending on the weather, it may remain open until as late as November. It may also be closed, at times, because of weather conditions (it occasionally snows even in August). 

It has more tunnels (a total of 5) and viaducts than any other road in Romania. Near the highest point, at Bâlea Lake, the road passes through the longest road tunnel in Romania (884 m).

The northern section is used as a part of yearly cyclist competitions Tour of Romania . The difficulty of this section is considered to be very similar to Hors Categorie climb (literally beyond categorization) in Tour de France." (copy-pasted from Wikipedia)

Being the highest paved road in Romania it is biker heaven :) A lot of amateur and professional bikers climb this mountain every year. And with a little luck it can be climbed even in the winter when the road is closed. Top Gear visited Romania this year and rated it "The best road in the world" :)

The Adventure begun on Friday. We went to Cârţişoara were we met the others and were we had reserved a room. We had a few drinks and went to sleep early (@3am). On Sunday we met in the center of the village at 11am.

We had 19 km to our first pit stop at the Bâlea Waterfall. The climb started only after a few kilometers but is wasn't so special. It wasn't so hard, it was a little long. At first it was a road in the woods than some rocks appeared and the view got better and better.

Stats(Bâlea Waterfall):
    - time: 1:27:37
    - distance: 19,16 km
    - avg speed: 13,1 km/h

To be continued.......

Edit: Continued here.

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