Sisters in the Wild Slovenia 2021
Following the success of last year’s debut event, Sisters in the Wild set off to Triglav National Park in Slovenia for a three-day hut-to-hut bikepacking trip. Find a recap and a beautiful gallery of photos from organizer Neža Peterca here…
We received loads of interest after last year’s debut event in Slovenia, and the plan was to expand the event Europe-wide, but the pandemic disrupted our plans again, so we just decided to throw a last-minute event in Slovenia.
Due to travel limitations, our group of women was a bit smaller than last year’s, and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to do a three-day bikepacking trip in the style of a hut-to-hut adventure.
We had an interesting mix of women coming from Sweden, Germany, Austria, and Italy and a couple of us from Slovenia. Those of us who’ve already ridden in Slovenia know our riding in the mountains goes in two directions: either up or down. There are no endless gravel roads without some decent amount of elevation, but the mountains offer some stunning riding. For the rest of the crew, the amount of climbing was a bit of a shock to the system.
We all gathered at Lake Bled again, in the heart of Triglav National Park and surrounded by the Julian Alps. After a slow morning of setting up the bikes and few last mechanical checks, we set out on the three-day journey covering more than 150 kilometers and including a somewhat gruesome 5,500 meters of climbing.
This trip was about facing our fears. Specifically, those that are stopping us from getting out on adventures on our own or in a group of friends. It was about stepping out of our comfort zones, whether that was the amount of climbing, riding on rougher surfaces, being in a group of unknown people, or handling mechanical problems in the middle of nowhere. We hadn’t set out with the intention of conquering those fears, but perhaps that’s the beauty of bikepacking: we simply had to deal with the situations that arose. And of course, the problems always materialized at the most inappropriate times, just when the hanger had kicked in.
Sometimes the moods on the trip were like a stormy sea. The moments of low morale and, staring at another climb, many of us would be questioning what the hell were we doing there. But then spirits would rise when we could finally catch our breath on a downhill. The days were long, and we spent more than nine hours in the saddle each day with plenty of snack stops, mixing weird flavours, such as honey waffles with sausage and olives with peanut M&Ms.
The best part of the day was always reaching the mountain hut, just as the sun was setting and we could enjoy our hearty dinner while watching nature do its evening show.
There were times when this event was definitely type two fun, the type you don’t particularly love when you’re doing it, but it feels so amazing when you reflect back and give yourself a pat on the back. It taught us all how amazingly strong we are if we set our mind to it!
P.S. Next year’s event is going to be moved to lower altitudes.
A Reflection from Anna Weichselbraun
This year was my second time participating in Sisters in the Wild bikepacking meetup at Lake Bled in Slovenia, so I already knew I was going to have a fabulous time riding, eating, and laughing with incredible women in a beautiful place. When Neza wrote to ask if we would be up for an actual bikepacking trip (instead of the day rides we had done last year) I was thrilled. When she sent the GPX tracks I gulped a bit but quickly grew excited to challenge myself in a supportive group. A feature of the route was that each day, at the end of the day, we had to ascend with tired legs to mountain huts located up steep, rocky, rutted roads.
If I’d been alone, I might have given up, annoyed or depleted, and content to sleep under a bush. But seeing others push on burnished my spirit: we were committed to doing it together. This was the spirit that allowed me to feel comfortable last year when I tended to be the last of the group. This weekend, I was pleased to notice the progress I’d made. No longer was I gripping my brakes and gritting my teeth on gravelly descents. In a mountain bike course, I learned the skills to confidently ride most descents and finally enjoy it!
I’m a bit tired of narratives in which a bikepacking trip challenges the narrator to overcome their fears and become a new more confident person. I’m mostly out here to have fun. But it certainly feels good to notice that I have gotten better at this. In part, due to the support of other women. Can’t wait for next year.
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