MTB Pelješac – St. Ilija

Country: Croatia
Region: Pelješac/ st. Ilija peak
Length: 26,5 km
Elevation gain: 1080 m
Maximum elevation:  961 m
Technical difficulty: 5/5
Download GPS TrackMTB Pelješac_st.Ilija_Cyclotrail
Date of ride: 17.06.2018
Suitable for E-bike: No

St. Ilija is the highest peak of peninsula Pelješac. Because of its distinguished position st. Ilija offers one of the best views in Croatia and is situated on hill known as Zmijino Brdo (Mons vipera) or Perun’s hill. I mentioned Perun when I was writing about my visit to Mostar and ascend to Velež ( in Slavic mythology Perun is the highest god of pantheon and the god of sky, thunder, lightning, storm, war, law, fertility and oak threes) Peak was named by chapel of st. Ilija.

For a long period of time, visit to Zmijino brdo by bike, was on my bucket list. And I was sure that this visit would be once in a time, because remoteness and distance of peninsula Pelješac from rest of Croatia, but as it shows, I was mistaken. During 2018. I visited st. Ilija three times, two times by bike, and one time while hiking with my friends, and every time I visited this isolated area I discovered another beautiful part, which was hidden from me before. If I wanted to live in a peaceful part of Croatia, far away from city noise, light pollution and smog I would definitely chose  Pelješac. As I’m writing this text, construction of bridge that connects Pelješac and mainland is in progress, and even though this move will ease access to Pelješac, it will also destroy islandish nature of Pelješac, I hope I’m wrong. On Pelješac for the first time I saw moufflons, jackals and the most venomous European snake vipera ammodytes. And when I saw them there, they seem so natural there, as if they were created for only purpose just to live on that harsh rock.

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MTB Gradac-st. Ilija-Drvenik

Country: Croatia
Mountain: Grabovica/ sv. Ilija peak
Length: 36 km
Elevation gain: 1350 m
Maximum elevation:  773 m
Technical difficulty: 5/5
Download GPS TrackGradac – sv. Ilija – Drvenik_Cyclotrail
Date of ride: 28.06.2018
Suitable for E-bike: No

Biokovo Nature Park is the most dominating presence on the southern Dalmatian coast and its whole massif stretches 36 km along the coast and is very popular hiking destination. When I was in Gradac, first thing that I saw was very very steep hill which rises up to 773 meters at a short distance. When I watched that beautiful creation from the sea, I imagined that climbing to its peak would be like walking on the edge. Later I found out that there is 4 km long trail from from the cemetery to the peak ( HPD Adrion maintains this trail) . At first I was suspicious that this trail could be ridden by bike, so my decision was to hike this ascent, and then decide if it could be “bike friendly”. I couldn’t ask local hikers for advice, because for them, most of the trails are not suitable for riding, our perception somehow differentiate. After hiking trip and refreshment in Adriatic sea I realized that this steep and at first sight unapproachable cliff could actually be visited by bike.

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Prenj – Velika Kapa

Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mountain: Prenj, Velika Kapa Peak
Length: 44,60 km
Elevation gain: 1870 m
Maximum elevation:  2007 m
Technical difficulty: 5/5
Download GPS Track: Prenj Velika Kapa
Date of ride: 20.05.2018.
Suitable for E-bike: No

Expedition to Velika Kapa peak was the day after XC ride to Borašnica. I was very excited because this was my first bike trip 2000 meters above sea level. In Croatia there are no mountains higher than 1850 meters, and just mountain Prenj has 11 peaks over 2000 meters (Velika Kapa is one of them). Usually, when I go alone, or with my friends on biking or hiking trip I study the route and collect all useful informations, but today I was going with experienced mountainbikers, hikers and skiers from BiH, so I only had to enjoy the panoramic views and nature. It is a nice feeling when you don’t have to worry about on where to turn right/left on next intersection.

When we started the route there was 20 of us, but only 7 of us (Đani, Ivo, Kevre and me with bikes and Emir, Dragan and Božo on foot) decided to go on Velika Kapa peak. The rest of the group went to visit Tisovica valley. I heard a lot about this valley, and after seeing it from above I decided that I will visit it once.

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