As usual, difficult routes and demanding special tasks awaited the participants of Bergson Winter Challenge.
This year’s winter turned out to be not very cold and snowy. One could count on white powder only in the top parts of Beskid Sądecki. However, those who expected an easy competition were mistaken – to cross the finish line you had to give a lot of yourself.
The turn of February and March is the traditional date of the world’s biggest winter adventure racing competition – Bergson Winter Challenge. About 200 competitors from sixteen countries came to the picturesque town of Piwniczna-Zdrój. Two routes were waiting for them: MASTERS – 400 km and SPEED – 150 km. The longer route has been included in the prestigious Adventure Race Word Series for three years, and its winners get the right to start in the world championships.
This time the competition took place in Beskid Sądecki, Pieniny, Beskid Wyspowy and Rożnowskie Foothills. The prepared routes led through the most difficult mountain trails, the most interesting localities and the most spectacular terrain attractions. The competitors overcame sections and special tasks located in the Poprad Landscape Park, Ciężkowice-Rożnowski Landscape Park, Pieniny National Park and nature reserves Wąwóz Homole, Biała Woda and Skamieniałe Miasto.
Fifteen professional teams took up the challenge of over four hundred kilometers MASTERS route. Strong, international cast promised a fierce fight for victory. For most of the time the teams were alternating in the lead and it was difficult to point out a definite favourite. However, the longer the race lasted, the more difficult stages and, above all, exhausting special tasks (e.g. The dominance of two Polish teams was clearly visible. In sensational time of 67 hours and 4 minutes the first on the finish line came Navigator Suunto Poldim team consisting of Justyna Frączek, Mirosław Szczurek, Sławomir Łabuziński and Maciej Dubaj. In October, they will represent Poland at the World Championships in Brazil.
A record number of teams (62) competed on the SPEED route. Among experienced competitors there were many amateurs for whom the winter challenge is an adventure and an attempt to overcome their weaknesses. In advennture racing it is not only the fastest who counts. Every competitor who, after many hours of struggle, crosses the finish line deserves admiration and recognition. This time the best team was the Jasielskie Stowarzyszenie Cyklistów team composed of Łukasz Szumiec and Tomasz Leśniak, who covered the route in 19 hours and 21 minutes.