114 riders from Austria, Croatia and Slovenia successfully finished Sunday’s 10th edition of Black Hole Marathon.
44 of them on the longest 62km “Extreme” course with close to 3000 vertical meters of climbing, 29 on the most technical 44km “Enduro” course and 41 on the 29km “Classic” course. All the courses started from the town of Črna and returning there after climbing the ridges North of town once, twice or three times. And all of them also took the 6km section through the abandoned mines.
It is obivously not the largest participation mountain bike marathon event on the planet. But anyone who finished the ride across the many steep climbs, the singletrack traverses and technical descents, agrees it is beautiful and tough, and may return for more. That is just how the terrain is here in Koroška. Enduro riders love it once they are putting their knee pads on top of the mountain but for hardtails and skinnier tyres… it can be challenging when you point the bike down after the climb has taken so much out of you. And repeat. And repeat.
Calcit Bike Team’s Luka Tavčar, this year’s “Extreme marathon” winner and also the newly crowned Slovenian XCM National Champion, managed to reach the finish line in 3 hours, 49 minutes and 19 seconds which makes his average speed 16,22 kilometers per hour. A speed which can be hardly compared with some of the mellower marathon races with climbs not as steep and singletrack sections not as many or as long as they are here at the Black Hole.
Tavčar emerged as winner of the four man team battle also including Gregor Krajnc, local hero and currently strongest Slovenian XC racer Rok Naglič and Boštjan Hribovšek – all of Calcit Bike Team.
Hardly any of them hasn’t been slowed down by some technical issues on the way and the leaders changed on each of the three main climbs of the day. Finally, after one flat tyre and a quick fix, Tavčar took over close to the top of the last climb and held the lead to the finish line. It’s his first Black Hole Marathon win and first XCM title.
Hribovšek finished second 3 minutes and 9 seconds behind and Naglič third 8:11 down, winning the Under 23 category.
Tina Perše (also of Calcit) was the fastest woman in 5:12:07 in front of Natalija Anderluh (Bikerepublic) and Austrian Michaela Malej.
Jure Prešeren (KK Završnica) and Anja Plešnik – fourth overall! – were the fastest on the “Enduro” course and the young under 17 riders Teo Pečnik (KK Ravne) and Ana Janežič (Energijateam.com) took the “Classic” course race.
Cover photo by Polona Pečnik