Preparations to conquer the highest mountain pass in Slovenia, Vršič Pass

Climbing Vršič Pass is something that I wanted to do for a long time. We actually had this planned for summer of 2013, in May, but it snowed! – mountains can really be unpredictable so this year the plan is to do it mid July.

Vršič Pass is the highest paved mountain pass in Slovenia with an elevation of 1,611 metres (5,285 ft). It is a demanding and difficult climb, but feasible for a fit cyclist. The reason why I want to do it is because it’s a challenge and I love challenges!

Vršič is our most famous mountain pass which must be conquered at least once by every cyclist. (source)

Vrsic Pass
Vrsic Pass

You can approach Vršič Pass from two sides and I plan to take on the easier side from Kranjska gora. Many people make Vrsic Pass part of their day trip but I don’t want to be already slightly tired when I start the climb so the plan for me is to start from Kranjska Gora, climb up and then go back the same way. Here is a detailed description of the route:

Now, the question is whether I am fit enough to do the whole climb. I actually feel slightly nervous about it as I am not sure how fit I am really and this is going to be an ultimate test for me. I believe I am quite fit, but can I conquer the Vršič Pass? I think I can and the only concern is a muscle fatigue which happened to me once in the past when I was climbing a long demanding hill, but at that time I wasn’t that fit so I should probably not worry about it.

My preparations

As part of my training to prepare me for this demanding climb I’ve been keeping active and in the last few months I started to cycle more. In May, me and my boyfriend went to Mallorca for a week and did quite a bit of cycling there. You can read all about our adventures here

I’ve also been trying to do more cycling in the UK and Cannock Chase has been the most popular cycle route for me since it’s pretty close to where I live. Getting to Cannock Chase from Cannock is a good workout on its own since you have to climb a few steep hills but it doesn’t take more than half an hour, even less I think. Anyhow, when I get to Cannock Chase I am already all sweaty with a face looking like a strawberry. Here is actually where I begin a traffic-free cycling route – I go for Blue trail which is around 20km long. The first part is quite easy, quite flat with some uphill but nothing too difficult. The second part is the one that is more difficult with much more climbing and some good hills which will keep your heart racing. I love it though, it’s really beautiful riding in the nature and it’s fun as well!

Cannock Chase - on the blue trail
Cannock Chase – on the blue trail

Apart from Cannock Chase, recently I’ve also cycled in the Stratford-upon-Avon area and the route I did was not too demanding apart from one challenging hill which was really long and quite steep, basically this part was a really good training for Vrsic Pass. The hill begins in Ilmington and the road’s name is Campden Hill in case you wanted to give it a go.

Beginning of Campden Hill in Ilmington
Beginning of Campden Hill in Ilmington

 I think we (me and my boyfriend) did around 45km on that day and that was in around 2 hours time. We could have done more if my boyfriend didn’t have to return his hire bike since he currently doesn’t have his own bike as his old one was stolen.

I think I’ve been doing a good amount of cycling and also to note is that I do the spin classes in the gym every week as well. Normally I would do 2 spin classes a week, unless the weather is good for cycling outdoors. Do you think I am fit enough to conquer the Vrsic Pass? I am still not sure but let’s have a look at what I am getting myself into:

Road to Vrsic Pass / Photo credit: Petar Milošević | CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It should be interesting! I just hope the weather will be good so I can actually do it. Once I get back from holiday I will let you know how I got on. If you don’t want to miss it subscribe to my blog updates here.

What’s your biggest cycling achievement ever?