"Protect Aoos" MTB Ultra 2018
Category: MTB Marathon
Description: Built in the green valley of Aoos, Vovoussa (Vovousa) is surrounded by high mountains and pine, beech and white-skinned pine forests, at the eastern Zagori border, Valia Calda National Park and at the center of the National Park of North Pindus, and it has linked its name to the River Aoos.
The risk of a new intervention in the river flow, following the operation of the Aoos Pipe Hydroelectric Power Plant in Politsies, Metsovo, in 1988, will be the final condemnation of the Aoos gorge up to Konitsa, while the consequences in the Albanian part of it (in Albania it is called Vjosa) and up to its estuary in the Adriatic Sea are still unpredictable. Therefore, through the need to address the problem of a future diversion and to find supporters in its effort to prevent it, a race of 100+ km of mountain biking embraced the Aoos and the surrounding mountains was born in 2013.
“Protect Aoos” MTB Ultra returns for the fifth consecutive year, beginning and ending at the village of Vovoussa on the last Sunday of August.
“The” Protect Aoos “MTB Ultra is indeed the most demanding MTB race in the country,” say the people who have run it. And this is because it requires not only physical endurance and proper power management for more than 118 kilometers, or the bike to cope without any mechanical problems. The greatest feature and the grandeur of the struggle are the soul and the will to impose on both the mind and the body, with the mere purpose of ending next to the Aoos River. The aims of the event are the communion of the protection of the Aoos River, the preservation of the environment of the region and the promotion of activities, such as the athleticism and the culture with emphasis, as far as the specific event is concerned, on mountain biking. The transformation of the area into a mountain bike preparation area will benefit athletes with the multitude and the variety of routes, while – at the same time – will benefit and upgrade the local community. After four years, the fruits of this endeavor are shown by the increase in biking tourism in Vovoussa. As for the race, this year comes with small changes in the field and the any changes will focus on improving the benefits for cyclists on the route and visitors.
«Protect Aoos» ΜΤΒ Ultra
The Ultra route will also be somewhat longer than 100 km (100+ km), with its altitudes at about 3,500m, passing three times the 1,600m of altidute (1,642m, 1,602m and 1,644m) and an asphalt road of approximately 8,5 km. For 2017, the Ultra route continues to the north-northwest of Vovoussa, passing through Laista and next to Perivoli of Grevena, retaining, however, several tracks of the previous years (2013, 2014 and 2015).
The particular event is the only one in Greece that covers a distance of 100 and more kilometers in a single, continuous route. It is marked along its length (per 50, 100 or 300 meters) while there are marker strips at 90% of the intersections, and red banned marking at 100% of the intersections. There are and signs of dangerous spots, as well. The race offers cyclists the opportunity to replenish during the race at more than 9 points / stations, where water, electrolytes, nuts, honey, fruit are offered; technical assistance is also offered at two of the stations, apart from the one in the Vovoussa Central Service (start and 25 km) that Shimano provided in 2016. Practically, cyclists are provided with service around 25 to 30 km. During the race, motorbikes (5 in 2016) are in the path, from the lead to the last athlete, while a 4×4 car is found throughout the race behind the last athlete. A rescue and first aid team is located in Vovoussa for the whole length of the race. The route passes within the boundaries and sometimes the settlements of the following communities: Vovoussa, Perivoli of Grevena, Elatochori, Gyftokampos, Laista. Cyclists are, for the biggest part of the race, mostly in the forest, (mainly black pine, beech, spruce) and there are spots where they follow the ridge.
At the same time, along with the 120 km race, the “small / fun” 30 km race is conducted, which constitutes an interesting opportunity for all participants to get to know the nature and the bike, whether they are hobbyists or not. The “Protect Aoos” route MTB Race shows alternations in its slopes and one of its features is that it is designed to pass twice just outside the village (600m from the main square), and once next to the bridge of Vovoussa in the center of the village.
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