ROLLING HILLS 2
Mood video by David Benkö.
After a successful event last year in the Northern Hills of Balaton, we decided to bring this year’s event a bit closer to Budapest and make it possible for people to ride from their doorstep directly to the start of the event.
The 3 day bank holiday weekend from 19-21st of May was a perfect excuse, to escape the city into the Duna-Ipoly National Park.
A group of 26 adventurous cyclist met at 8:00 for a morning coffee at Mesterbike & Coffee project. After a short briefing of the following next few days we split into two riding groups. The first group took the train to Nagymaros and continued their way on the northern side of Börzsöny, at Duna-Ipoly National Park towards the Pénzásás mountain hut. Second group left Budapest on their bikes toward Szentendre and climbed over Paprét to Visegrád, where they took the ferry to Nagymaros and continued their way through the national park. At the end of the day, both groups had the same challenge - to get to the ‘basecamp’ just in time for the dinner time at 7h.
First group - ‘The mud diggers’
Juli: ”We were heading to Nyugati Station right after the start and took the train to Nagymaros. Taking it easy, the moment we got there, we took our first rest at Piknik Manufaktúra to fuel for the ride. After getting ready for the 65km ride, we left and were riding along the Danube till Szob. The road was surprisingly beautiful, having the river on the left, and the hills of Börzsöny on the right. Soon we reached the turning point and took the road no.12 along the Ipoly. The route was slightly getting steeper and eventually arrived to the north-western side of Börzsöny, where the namegiver rolling hills arose in front of us. After the elevation started, the clouds were also getting closer and already from the distance we saw the black shower above the Börzsöny. I was sure the other group is already under attack now…
We were still trying to reach the next village to get some shelter until the shower moved on.
Luckily the first drop fall the moment we turned into the only open bar at Kemence. We were all safe and covered but we still had to wait almost an hour for the real storm.
We thought we were over on the exciting part, but surprise, the rain soaked the roads in the forest. The moment we reached the last 15kms, which we supposed to ride on gravel, we had to face with the truth: none of us had proper bikes for a deep-shit muddy route. I think it took 3kms until the first 3 players got stuck in the mud, including me. Mudguard most of the time can be an ass-saver, but this time it was the biggest hell…Step by step almost the whole team followed my steps and on top of the cake, the mosquito clouds took over the sludge. So, eaten by mosquitos and carrying the bikes in hand, we luckily reached the last steep elevation towards the mountain hut. The concrete road compensated for all the climbing. We arrive just in time 19:00 for the dinner. Best timing ever!
Second group - ‘The ice breakers’
Neza: ”I could call our first day ‘a journey’ since so many things happened during our trip and sometimes it felt like we are part of a video game where we had to overcome different challenges to be able to earn warm dinner at the end of the day. Everything went smooth after we left the city and we were collecting the kilometers relatively fast. After arriving down to Visegrád and boarding our ferry across Danube, we spotted a black cloud slowly approaching from South. It didn’t look nice, in fact it looked scary. I was keep on saying that I am sure it’s not going to reach us and so we just took it easy and lyed in the grass for a while, sipping on our lemonades any enjoying the summer weather. Not long after we left the place a drop of rain hit my forehead. Shortly after we began our ascent into the national park the storm hit us. For the next few hours we were riding in the cloud, rain, hail, wind you name it. The storm didn’t look like disappearing soon, so we kept on riding until we hit the blue sky. Although everyone soaked to the bones kept a good spirit and stick together until the end. At that point we had only few more kilometers left until the Pénzásási mountain hut. It soon turned out that was the most difficult 8km of the whole day. Loose gravel with steep ascent made it for a ‘last piece of energy sucker’ of the day. We arrived to the house around 6h, wet until bones, with lakes in our shoes and empty stomachs. We were more than ready for the big plate of Kristof’s famous pasta!
After the amazing dinner Kristof prepared for us, everyone was full and ready to tuck themselves into a warm blanket and listen to the sounds of the forest at night.
On Sunday we woke up to a beautiful sunny morning and a sunny-side up breakfast ‘alla Kristof’. After drinking hips of coffee we were ready to leave the basecamp and do a loop ride around the national park. Kristof prepared us a ‘lunch pack’ for the day, meaning we had all the time in the world to return around 7h for the dinner time.
We started with a steep downhill towards Nagyoroszi, where we continued our way towards Diósjenő, where we would cross the national park on a forest road all the way down to Kemence. There we stopped for a coffee break and few of us were already hamstering down their lunch pack. After some siesta time we hit the road again and continued our way towards Bernecebaráti where we would have to climb up again, towards the house. The swampy forest ahead was filled with mosquitos, making it for a not pleasant stop for a lunch break. We made a very short stop, but it mostly consisted out of slapping the blood suckers off our skin. We returned to the house quite early and it was a perfect weather to hang around the house, learn different skills (like how to set up tubeless tires - thanks Dave!), rice cooking competition or just having a beer or two before dinner.
Kristof lived up to his expectations and served us the best rice curry in the forest. We flushed down our swollen bellies with some home made grape spirit, pálinka and talked long into the night.
Monday morning didn’t disappoint. Warm, sunny weather made everyone happy and ready to roll. After packing our stuff, we rolled out on a difficult descent which didn’t end up lucky for everyone. Our friend Panna took it hard and unfortunate fall ended up in a hospital with few broken bones and flesh wounds - get well soon!! The rest of us we continued our way back to Nagymaros, where few of the riders said their goodbyes and left towards Budapest with train and the rest of the group went back on the same way as we came on Monday, riding all the way to Budapest.
Thank you all, you strong, amazing people for coming out and spending those 3 unforgettable days with us in the heart of Börzsöny.
Let the spirit of adventure and exploring lead you into doing more rides like this in the future.
We are grateful for getting to know you and sharing this experience with you!
Until next time!
Neza & Julia
PHOTOS: Rei, Neža & Juli