A Bike Ride to Vršič: Move on, Move on, an Old Pony!
It took the most skilled cyclists just less than an hour to win Vršič, while the majority of the participants spent much more time.
More than 600 cyclists took part in the ride to Vršič. It took the winner 45 minutes to overcome the whole distance. However, he used not a simple bike, but the legendary “Pony”.
Despite the bad weather, the cyclists took a ride to Vršič called “Goni Poni”. Only mini-bicycles with 20-inch wheels without gears — the famous “Pony” — took part in the event.
The rise height to Vršič is 801 meter above the sea level, while the cyclists had to overcome the distance of 13.5 kilometres. The competition was held in the men and women standings. The ride started at the track under the snow skiing run of the Kranjska Gora resort, on a special court for competitions at the Kompas Hotel.
The participants were preliminary “warmed up” with a tracking vehicle passing through the centre of Kranjska Gora to Vršiške Ceste, and the official start of the ride with time measurement took place at the Lek Hotel. The aim of the cyclists was the Vršič pass.
The organizers also introduced a definition for the athletes who used the above-mentioned type of bicycle to overcome the distance — “singlespeed”. The users of such bicycles even say that their bicycles have two gears: one for sitting and the other for standing.
In addition to strength, a cyclist also needs endurance. Only the most skilled cyclists can overcome the ascent to the Vršič pass for less than an hour, the rest need much more time. Practice has shown that it is possible to win Vršič with a “Pony” mini-bicycle without getting off it. A zigzagged manoeuvring across the whole width of the road is of best help.
“But in fact, the top can be reached much faster if you drive at full capacity, and then walk a little to accumulate strength for the next sprint,” experts say.
However, the normal running alongside a bicycle is prohibited.
The organizers also urged the participants to enter the start in a special uniform, respecting the rules of the retro style that was in vogue in the late 60’s – early 80’s of the twentieth century, in the era of the “Pony” mini-bicycle popularity.
Upon the end of the competition, the ride participants showed the key to success in their interview with RTV Slovenija: “Permanent pace and good “Pony” to withstand all the pressure up here.”