The magical atmosphere of the Hungarian mountains will serve yet another time as the backdrop of the Hungarian Divide, an ultra-endurance bicycle challenge with epic landscapes, joy, camaraderie and tense competition on two wheels.
Although the Hungarian Divide has a short history, it already provided an impressive list of long lasting memories for many riders all over Europe and beyond. Who could have forgotten the “sprint finish” between Levente Bagoly and Zoltán Zóka-Újhelyi that lasted over a few hundred kilometers and saw Levente finishing first by a mere hour or so; or the drama when Zsolt Boruzs just after passing the halfway mark, Budapest, had to rest for about 30 hours following a miscalculation of his energy and food intake, but still arrived in the top 10 at the finish a few days later; and the laughter and joyful times that many of the riders enjoyed while pedaling through the Hungarian countryside.
The route of the 2021 Hungarian Divide will start in the heart of the Zemplén mountains at the eastern border of the country. This year, the 2020 finish area, the beautiful Smaragdvölgy Recreation Park will serve as the gathering and starting point of the event.
Riders can enter the 2021 Hungarian Divide in two categories. The TOUR category is dialed towards the fun aspects of bikepacking, while the SOLO category is for those riders who have a competitive edge.
Once the riders leave Smaragdvölgy, the route will take them through the most epic mountainous regions of Hungary. Although these mountains are relatively small compared to the other mountains in Europe, the route will provide enough possibilities for the riders to test their stamina. The highest peak the riders have to climb is Kékestető of Mátra, situated in the North Hungarian Mountains, reaching just above 1000 meters.
After riding 730 km and climbing 13500 meters, riders will reach Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. A small celebration and party will wait for those TOUR participants, who chose to enter the half-distance. However, for full-distance TOUR and SOLO riders, the challenge continues and another 700 km awaits from here.
Leaving the lights of the city behind, riders will dive into the Transdanubia Mountains. Further down the route, riders will have the chance to enjoy some of the culinary and wine offers of the Northern Balaton region and even have a refreshing splash in the lake.
Following the 1400 km ride with about a 24000 meter elevation gain, riders will arrive to the Hársas lake of the Őrség region in the western part of the country. Those riders who endured all the challenges and joy of the Hungarian Divide, will have the chance to celebrate and share their experiences and stories with fellow riders who arrive here.
The organizers can proudly say that the Hungarian Divide not only provides a physical and mental challenge for the riders who participate, but it forges new friendships and builds a community of two-wheel and outdoor enthusiasts, while offering a peek into the Hungarian countryside, culture and culinary joys.
Believe the hype and join us this summer, on the 13th of August at Smaragdvölgy, where about 150 riders will roll into the Hungarian wilderness to tackle and enjoy what the route of the 2021 Hungarian Divide will bring onto them.
You can read the 2020 Hungarian Divide event report on bikepacking.com, and you can watch the tracker replay here.
Written and edited by Tivadar Domaniczky