Leaning our bikes on the tall road-parapets at 2145m with the high Parâng Mountains unfolding before our eyes, suddenly it became clear that there are only two key ingredients to a successful endeavor: a trust-worthy, knowledgeable companion and good, proper physical training. You need nothing else.
Yes, we do organize high-altitude mountain expeditions, thoroughly documenting, knowing and preparing each step of the journey from A to Z. However, sometimes we “blindly” accept a challenge without knowing or researching anything about it, such us cycling up Transalpina road, Romania’s highest road, abruptly snaking up the high Parâng Mountains to a dizzying 2145m.
Now, with the steep 1109m climb laying behind us, we can say that not knowing anything about the cycling route was probably our biggest advantage. Had we known at 06:00 AM early morning when we started pedaling, what lay ahead waiting for us, we might not have been so eager to take on the challenge of pedaling up 1109m positive altitude gain. It’s probably the same as deciding to join a high-altitude mountain expedition. The more one knows about what awaits, the more one’s mind starts imagining scenarios, and one’s fears begin to creep in drawing him back. Sometimes, one gives in, altogether rejecting the challenge lying ahead. Challenge that you could have managed to master, had you trusted the voice telling you „it’s ok! you will do it!” While taking a break at 2145m and looking down at the snaking road we had just climbed, those were exactly our thoughts! How glad we were we decided to embrace this cycling route like a blank sheet of paper, just waiting to be filled with the words of a new experience…
It would be a lie to say it was easy. But it would be an even greater lie to say it was impossible. Considering the number of mountain expeditions that we so far had the opportunity to experience, our minds developed a funny protective mechanism that inhibits remembering hardships, having a propensity to memorize only the good times. Consequently, any hardships encountered on our way up the steep slopes of Transalpina were soon forgotten, as we were captivated by the surrounding spectacular mountain views.
Feeling our leg muscles pumped, but still able, it became obvious that another very important ingredient to successfully achieving such a feat is to have proper training. Previous cycling sessions, 2-3 times per week, surely proved helpful to make the challenge more manageable, and also allowed room to enjoy the ride. It’s great to feel your body as your alleys, ready and prepared to handle whatever challenge may come along the way. It’s just like when climbing high mountains – with proper prior physical training, the challenges thrown in by the mountain environment can be overcome while still finding yourself in a reasonable state of spirit that allows you to enjoy the spectacular mountain views.
Of course, having a proper good bike helps :)) but don’t beat yourself down if you have a less equipped bike with “only” 7 pinions. Cycling up Transalpina road was manageable even with such a bike, considering you have proper physical training 🙂
Cycling up Transalpina road doesn’t have to be a race, unless you really want it to be 😉 Just like climbing up a mountain during a high-altitude expedition, the secret to success is a slow pace, synched with a deep and calm breath. As the wise sages used to say: be present and enjoy each step of the journey, the prize is in the process, not solely in the destination. Similarly, pedaling on a steep tarmac or climbing up a high mountain is a journey achievable by being present in each step, enjoying the beautiful surroundings while keeping a mindful slow pace and a deep breath, a real active meditation 🙂Tags: active, breath, challenge, cycling, deep, medidation, mindful, mountain, pace, road, slow, steep, trasalpina