Аll-inclusive for bikers above Borovets - the Deno peak trail
20 July 2017, Georgi Daskalov
One of the most memorable rides you can do in Bulgaria tops out right here, under Deno peak - about an hour and a half away from the top gondola station at Yastrebets peak. Put this one on your bucket lists, top-to-bottom epics starting from the high alpine doesn't get much better than this! It's truly all-inclusive! Getting yourself here after the gondola ride is a pretty good warm-up - there's a mellow climb from the top station that gets you to the Musala hut, after which the route veers off to the left and onto the slopes on the other side of the valley.
On that slope things geat sweatier - it's hike-a-bike time! You might even have to carry your bike up a really rocky traverse or two, but the views will surely make it all worth it! The trail reaches an altitude of 2500 meters, where it takes you on a wild tour through some of Rila's scariest couloirs (anybody ride those in the winter?) and offers amazing views towards the ridge you'll be following on your way down. This part is entirely above the treeline and the trail is typical of the high alpine areas of Rila.
The terrain is a mix of hairy point-n-shoot sections over loose big rocks and bits of chopped up trail making it's way through aggressive low vegetation. Be wary of both the rocks and the branches - they can easily catch you off guard and snag your bike or a body part, sending you over the bars. The trail is as technical as they come - remember speed is your friend here, as are good skils and a healthy level of confidence. Novice riders will struggle, but intermediate ot expert riders will rejoice as this kind of terrain rewards skill just as much as it requires it.
As you go down the vegetation will only become denser - at many places the trail feels like a tunnel through the alpine jungle - and the riding will get even wilder. The trail is often so worn in that it's basically a deep narrow rut - you'll often feel both of your legs drag along the sides of the rut, beware of pedal strikes!
If you are confident enough to let go of the brakes and work the terrain to go fast things suddenly become very intense here, as small drops or sudden chicanes often try to catch you off guard, popping up into view in the very last second. Visibility is really sub-optimal as dense grass and low branches often obsuce what's coming - if you wanna go fast here you better bring your jedi-like reflexes. You'll be approaching the Sitnyakovo area at this point - welcome back to the forest! The trail will gradually become quite a bit wider and less treacherous - you only need to look out for fallen trees here, as the storms often knock them down in this area. With a lot of speed, rhythm and flow the trail will soon take you to the top of Sitnyakovo Express - the main lift, servicing our bike-park area. Here you'll suddenly realise that your ride is far from over - from here you can choose any of the trails in Borovets Mountainbike Park. All I can say is that it's a real treat to ride one of the perfectly groomed bikepark trails after just surviving one of the hairiest tech-fests you've ever been on! This ride is truly all-inclusive. In about 4 hours you'll go through so many different types of terrain and overcome so many challenges that the memory of it will quite likely stick with you for a while. Like an itch that won't go away until you go back and scratch it, doing the same thing all over again.