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The Star of South 2016 - the new star of MTB races


Przemysław Zieliński


MTB Marathon


Stryszawa, Makow Podhalanski, Zawoja/Poland


The race as a whole:


The catering:


The fitness level:


The technical level:




(Please see the movie footage as well:

Beautiful yet challenging tracks on the south of Poland. All possible weather conditions: summer heat, cold fogs and sudden cloudbursts. Almost 7 000 meters of elevations. This is the Star of South, 4-day long bike marathon organized by the Polish cycling master, Cezary Zamana.
An invitation from the winner of Tour de Pologne to come to southern Poland was answered by over 150 bikers across Poland. On the start of event-opening time trial there were representatives from Mazowsze, Silesia or even northern Mazury. They had all been attracted by truly mountainous adventure waiting for them. And on the fourth day, nobody was disappointed.

The silent stage
Serious racing started in Stryszawa, charming little village located between proud hills. The foretaste of emotions was Thursday’s time trial. On Friday, bikers had to face typical mountainous uphill tracks, racing in forest as well as surprisingly fast downhill tracks which ended with… another uphill roads. The difficulty scale surprised most of people, therefore the majority of stage was ridden in deep silence. It was necessary to save some strength and focus on very demanding track. Bikers were backed with Stryszawa village head, Mr. Rafal Lasek. He personally reached the highest point of track to cheer on passing event participants.

The force awakening
So hard stage did not discourage people. On contrary – it only stimulated their ambitions. All Friday evening was spent on bikes regulation and preparation, so everything could be absolutely perfect on Saturday start in Makow Podhalanski. Stage began on genuinely lovable market in Makow. Citizens, who gathered there, supported the impressive group of bikers with their clapping and friendly chants. And again, just like on Friday, right after start bikers were faced with steep, and long rigid uphill road. Next in line there were muddy tracks. Cyclists arrived at buffets with incredibly dirty bikes. Nonetheless, they were not bothered, but simply grabbed bottled water as well as energetic gel and rode further.
What’s interesting, the stage victory was decided on final downhill track, on which future winner managed to get safe and precious advantage over two chasing him rivals.

The longest day
The final stage of The Star of South was in Zawoja, the longest (in geographical meaning) Polish village. And for many bikers it was also an undoubtedly the longest day in their sport career. The tired muscles affected their bodies and souls. What’s worse, endless rain turned tracks into muddy torrents. But there was no choice but to hop on the saddle and to pedal. The local folk band was vigorously playing encouraging tunes just to pour some energy into cyclists’ hearts.
Eventually, it turned out that even modified and shortened in a last minute track was still a major challenge in such unfriendly conditions. However, modification was necessary – as it was for bikers’ safety.
Yet even despite the high level of Star of South, all bikers left with a feeling that in the next year they would try and face Polish mountains once again. And they will climb them even faster.

The exemplary partnership
It is worth mentioning that organization of such logistically complicated event, scattered in three villages and requiring the marking almost 200 kilometers of new tracks, would not be possible without tight cooperation with local authorities. Their professional approach as well as great hospitality proved that sport brings out only positive emotions.

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