When planning a bike trip, it is easy to get tempted by the same old classic adventures, but sometimes it is cool to try something new. We catch up with our good friend and keen explorer, Jordi Bago, and hear more about his adventure to Pamporovo, in Bulgaria.
I recently took the plane to Bulgaria with my Saracen bikes ready for new adventures with my new Ariel 15x! This time we were going to ride and discover Pamporovo (south of Bulgaria with great terrain for Enduro riding). We rode in (Velo park Pamporovo) I had heard good things about it, so I was keen to see just what this bike park and the enduro trails were all about!
We landed in Sofia, where you can find discounted flights with several airlines. We took the road to Pamporovo which is 3h away, it was easy to get there, almost all highway driving and not many intersections! When we got there we found many options for accommodation, mostly huge hotels! Our favourite option is the Orlovetz hotel, for the facilities and features they have!
We started our ride from the low ski area and found some trails that took us up to the lift and middle point, where the bike park shop could be found,(with the bike wash and some good restaurants)! The lift pass is just 11 euros per day and we can enjoy 35km of enduro Trails! Not bad at all!
We rode with a new friend, one of the best enduro riders from Bulgaria, Dobrimir from Bike Venture. We checked our bikes and got ready to ride the Red line – Malina trail.
We came up with the lift to the top of the mountain for take the first enduro trail here in Pamporovo with lot of roots and wet zones! There was some step rock gardens that tested our skills, after that is a really flowy part with turns on really nice wood berms with a good view. We cross a fire road and keep riding the trail to a flat part with many lines to get to the low part of the ski station. We get ready for the upcoming fast zone with many natural berms and some rocks that will take us down to some really fast jumps till we get down to lift area! We take the same lift up to go take some other trails in the red line with some little wall rides and jumps!
Blue line (Small wall)
This was one of my favourite rides (such amazing view from the top with all the mountains on the horizon ) We crossed a new wooden part that was open a few weeks before with some technical turns, big rocks, and roots. This section was a little wet so we spoke with our local expert for advice to ride smooth! Next, we raced down a super fast, straight line grass hill! (Photo with me in front and Dakine rider back going out from top blue line) after this part we hit some table tops and some awesome double jumps that I enjoyed lot with my enduro Saracen! I had so much fun on these jumps!
After having some fun on the jumps we continued to a really nice part with a lot of flow and fast turns. There were really amazing switchbacks with a few lines to catch up with lots of table tops on the middle area! We have some grass turns and an easy, flat pedal that will take us to the low part, with nice wood features with rocks and lot of roots. It was very fun in dry conditions but would be tricky with mud! The finish area is fast between some big trees. We can’t get enough of this trail, time for another run!
At this point we stop for some lunch in the area, there are many restaurants with wifi. Now we can have a look at how everything is at home and make them jealous with some photos of the great views from the restaurant and the tower on top of the mountain.
After lunch we’re ready for some more rides on the red and blue lines! When we finished the first day of our weekend here in Pamporovo, we hit up the bike wash before heading back to the hotel Orlovetz to recharge the batteries for the next day of riding!
Second day of ride in the bike park
Lake line – Ezerata (The Flow)
We took the old lift to get to the top, it’s slow but the view is amazing so we just enjoy the ride and have nice time while we get to the top. The trail ran between trees all the way down with some off camber corners and roots, a solid 4 minutes of pure fun! The last part before the lake view is super fast and steep and we exit the trail with a lot of speed! Then we ride on the side of the lake for some time and pedal a little bit to the last part from the red line. We stop by the bike park shop to get some energy food from Powerbar and come back up for more runs.
This is one of the trails that everybody will enjoy because it is really smooth and flowing with nice turns on the grass. Additionally we could enjoy the beautiful view of the Pamporovo area! It is the perfect trail to ride with our friends and have some races between ourselves!
The long ride trail to Smyolan
After some pasta with my friends from Concept and some other local riders I got my backpack and all the tools from LEZYNE. We were ready to hit a very long trail! Over 20km and more than 1h riding enduro! I showed everyone my new crankset from Rotor, and explained that it helps me to pedal better because don’t have dead point. I hope that in some parts I can prove to them that is working well! The first part of the long way to Smyolan is between grass and trees with a lot of pedalling so Rotor made it easier for me! Next we passed through a wet zone where there was lot of mosquitos so I pedalled faster to pass this part! Finally we enter a deep forest, it was super rad, with lot of flow in the turns and berms. I had a blast on this part of the trail, I could tell every one of us was super stoked too! The grip from the forest dirt was amazing!
After this part we followed next to a little river and we take all the way down with some little turns and some rocks that we could jump. With the speed that we had it wasn’t hard! We hit a fire road with some natural big berms in the walls that lead to a trail that is really good with big trees and huge roots.
Leaving this part of the trail we will cross some fields that I ride carefully because the grass is high. I am just coming back from bad injury of my collarbone so I rode slowly on this part and just enjoy the view! Then it’s time for a little climb where I can recover drinking little bit and wait for some more action in few kilometres!
The last part of the trail was hard some really steep and rocky parts! There was a tricky section some of us couldn’t ride! I was so lucky that I had The DSP dropper seat post on my bike! After this section we came to a wonderful trail with some roots and good speed between turns! As I come to the end of this great trail I had to sprint past some crazy dogs, I didn’t want get in trouble so I rushed back to the village and wait for the other guys. They arrive and we just talk about how much fun this trail is, it has everything that we can look for in enduro trail!
I had so much fun this weekend riding in Bulgaria with the people from Concept Creative! I can’t wait until the next time I have the chance to ride in a great place like Pamporovo! Now it’s time to pack again my Saracen bike and get back to Barcelona!
Special thanks to Concept Creative, Velo park pamporovo and Dpx racing for the amazing tuned suspension that he just sent me! It made for smoother riding on these fantastic trails in Bulgaria!
Words and Photos: Jordi Bago