Borovets Chronicles / before we say goodbye to summer 2018
12 September 2018, Georgi Daskalov
OK, so how did we get to the season closing weekend so fast? What a tease of a season, it feels like true summer only arrived yesterday. Naturally, after the lifts shut down we'll all be left wanting more. More of those cool summer vibes up in the mountain; more of the fun times with friends, both old and new, doing laps in the park on some of the best trails in Bulgaria. After suffering through all the rain earlier on in the year it feels as if we deserve it, but sadly we can't avoid the inevitable. The lifts will soon spin down for the last time before their seasonal profilactics. Life is unfair, but at least the bikepark kept on evolving all the way into it's last active days of 2018 - the trails have never been this good! The bikepark crew continuously improved the trail network, creating a bunch of new features and trails - let's check out what they've been up to during the peak summer days.
There's no avoiding the fact that Rila is the highest mountain between the Alps and Caucasus. The silhouette of Musala is always a prominent feature on the horizon as you start to approach Borovets.
During peak season bikes often get abused and neglected, but riding in Borovets is always a good enough reason to load up your car in a hurry, bike still dirty from yesterdays' ride.
One of the biggest updates this season are the new jumps down by the road at the bottom
These jumps were old - they've been lining this road for years, but now it was time to give them a touch-over.
When you have these guys dreaming up new features you're guaranteed a good end result.
Bikepark crew members share a love for big, bold, fast lines with airtime and good rhythm.
Deciding on the jumps' size and shape is no easy task, but in the end it still boils down to some good old-fashioned muscle power.
Bulding trails for a living turns you into a monster!
Some final fine tuning...
...and it's time to put down the first tire marks on the new lip!
Meanwhile, down on the family trail... Borovets is not all about gravity-fed adrenaline-boosting bikepark trails.
Sometimes it's about heading out in the forest for a mellow XC loop.
Guiding and instructing clients is another way the boys from the bikepark crew spend their time working. Following their advice is always a good idea.
The lower slopes may be littered with fireroads and trails, but true adventure can only be found at a much higher altitude.
Riding the gondola takes you to 2369m above sea level and offers you great views. The photo above shows the Ivanov kamak peak with the city of Samokov in the background
The gondola lets you reach much higher and further out into the mountain - from up here the Yastrebets Express chairlift seems like a distant part of the scenery.
From the top gondola station riders have numerous options.
You can simply bomb down the Musala pathway, which leads back to the resort, and enjoy stunning views.
Or you can go for a true alpine epic, leading back down towards the top of the bikepark area and some of the best food in Borovets.
The Downhill Snack & Grill restaurant at the Sitnyakovo rock is located right at the start of the bikepark trails and should be a must-do while you're here.
Let's not get too distracted though - the bikepark crew have been busy creating a brand new trail!
It's called Tom& Jerry and it starts off with this ramp from the fireroad after the upper part of the trails.
Just as it's name suggests, this trail is all fun & games!
The trail crew have upped the ante this year with significantly improved flow on all trails, but this one is something special...
This section almost feels like riding a rollercoaster!
At the time this photo was taken the trail was too soft, but by now this section should be firm enough to ride at top speed. This roller begs to be scrubbed!
What follows is a section of heavenly linked turns.
Steep and twisty, they spit you out going full speed into this section, which will surely turn into one of the park's highlights.
What kind of feature requires a landing this steep, long and wide enough to land a plane on?
Well, it's a step-down huck of potentially epic proportions! It's like a ski jump where you can go as big as you dare in relative safety.
Can this trail turn into a true classic, like the Tom&Jerry animated series? With the crew's tireless efforts we have no doubts about that.
Dirty, sweaty, with our bikes loaded back onto our cars, we reluctantly head back into our everyday lives.
And just like this warm summer sunset marks the end of another epic day in the mountains, the summer season in Borovets will soon end.
The truth is that we can bitch and moan about how summer has just started all day, but we'll be missing the point. The trail crew put in a huge effort this season and their hard work is a legacy we'll enjoy for years to come. Is that a new kicker or am I seeing things?