AREA: Mărișel, Cluj county, at ~ 60 km from Cluj Napoca, Gilău Mountains
ACTIVITY: Enduro mountain biking (MTB)
PLACE: Mărișel Bike Resort (Mărișel ski resort, in the winter)
ROUTES: 4 , with different levels of difficulty:
- Family - blue (lightest)
- Lambada - blue
- Off Camber - red
- 4 (I don't know his name, I haven't been on it) - black (the most difficult)
Manufacturer Ghost, model EBS, year 2016, Shimano XT equipment, hardtail (without rear suspension, rigid), fork with rockshox suspension 100 mm, wheels 29 x 2.2 (tire size), pedals with SPD, a cross country bike (XC ), optimized for pedaling, rather than for technical descents.
We left Cluj, quite late on Saturday, around 11 o'clock, with Cătălin Grigoriu and Dora, but we had plenty of time to enjoy the resort because it's close to Cluj. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience.
I really like to ride the bike, but so far I have been on forest roads, trails and mountain trails (XC and trail), never on technical trails designed strictly for descents, until now.
Basically in a resort like the one in Mărișel, what you do in winter on skis, you do in summer on a bicycle. You pay for a number of climbs with the chairlift, or you buy a season ticket and go downhill as mutch as you can. After 2-3 km descent you put the bike on the chairlift, you get in another chairlift and you start over.
Although the forecast announced sun until noon and rain starting at 3 pm, we were lucky and it did not rain at all. There were enough people in such a way that you would not feel in an abandoned resort, but a functional one and at the same time it was not crowded, we did not bump into each other on the trails, which is was very good.
The routes are interesting. My first time on an enduro trail, and I still liked it even do my bike. is clearly not suitable for this. Imagine a narrow path with some wide beautiful turns, others tight, with roots, stones, steep, but also areas where you could go smoothly, with a nice flow, at a considerable speed.
The first route we went down on was Family, being the easiest, but I confess that especially on the first descent I was not impressed, on the contrary. I liked Off Camber instead, for its diversity. It is the longest of them (3 km) and has long sections with flow, more technical passages, steep descents with roots, short turns, water crossings and at the end, 300 meters in which you have to pedal. Ah how nice it was to finally move. I had a super nice feeling! I felt the need to unwind my knees, to move.
Of course you also make an effort on downhills, but different from cycling, where you move a lot, here you have tense muscles. I didn't get tired physically, instead mentally, yes. After 8 descents I didn't had the same ability to concentrate (neither the patience) and I think the chances of making mistakes that cause accidents increase, so we stopped. We washed the bikes, because there is a hose and water for that, up at the chairlift (which I really liked) and you can clean them before transporting them home.
- Did I liked it? Yes
- Would I go again? Yes
- Am I switching to enduro/downhill? No!
I am glad that there are such resorts for mountain bike lovers.. It is close to Cluj and very suitable for training. After 8 descents, I got to know better my reactions, the bike, I understood the limitations, the physics of the descent, the differences and the utilities of the different types of bikes, aspects that on the routes I did so far, it's harder for me to observe.
It's nice to go down, but I also like to ride, to cover longer distances, to make an effort and then to enjoy a nice descent, for which I worked, on a path who knows where... For now, I'll stick to XC and Trail MTB
More details on the Bike Resort Marisel Facebook page including pictures and videos of the trails.