NO ONE SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY,
The HARD CRO 2017 is over. 21 starters from Austria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia and United Kingdom spreaded across country from Molunat in attempt to finish in Ilok under 110h or 120h, with approximately 1400 kilometers in their legs. With no route defined and without external support riders were completely self supported. Extreme and tough ride under hot Sun made second edition of the race hard and yet amazing.
After start on South in Molunat, almost all riders went after Ploče to inland, towards Dalmatian hinterland, Vrgorac and city of Knin. At the early stage of the race Ian To placed himself far away ahead leaving riders behind to battle for their positions. Ares Buršić and Bela Kuzler were good with excellent time but due to mechanic difficulties Bela had to withdraw. Unfortunate end of the race for one of the favourites of the race.
Ares Buršić scratched due health issues, which preceded before the race, and started not fully recovered.
Zvonimir Knežević decided to reach Savudrija also without sleep. After rest he beat all racers on RUSJAN UČKA CLIMB with fastest time, climbing 7 kilometers segment on steeper side of Učka in 54 minutes, 3 minutes faster than Ian To, who wins GIANT TT CHALLENGE, riding 237 km in 8h 49m.
Dragan Mladenović was very strong and managed to reach first mandatory point in Savudrija, and return second time over the mountain of Učka without sleep. He progressed further taking second position overall at the moment, under 80 hours. Unfortunately he was disqualified because of crossing red traffic light which is violation of rule #11
Tanja Hacker was very confused in navigation and decided to return from inland on the coast where reached Savudrija completely by the coast through city of Pula and avoided first climb over mountain Učka. However, she did longest ride (around 1700km) and win the race as first woman. Caroline Item mostly followed her plan of sleeping around 3 hours per day and finished successfully the race as last.
Zdenko Grgurić won in 2B category, thanks to determination and believe he can do it, encouraged by his friends, colleagues and mentors, well known Croatian randonneurs Ino Cvitešić and Siniša Babić who participated on the first edition of the race. Aleksandar Đurović had agenda to finish the race under 80 hours to qualify for RAAM and the plan progressed well until he had to scratch around city of Zagreb due health issues. Darko Kos was tough, finishing the race 23 hours faster than last year. He prepared well and learned a lot from previous edition and secured 4th position overall.
Alen Moše slept only in Savudrija and Lifeclass terme Sveti Martin, gradually progressed and managed to finish the race on third position overall.
Max Kraus this time wasn’t confused and lost, although he started the race without navigation.
He arrived at the start after riding 1000km from Vienna and went completely in adventure mode, with proper sleep of 12 hours and chilling when he could, while enjoyed lot of ice creams. After second check point he had mechanical difficulties when rear hub broke. That didn’t stopped him till the end when he finished with smile, the only way Max can. Already known as spirit of the race, Max was cheered by many, including entire HC crew.
All riders that continued after second check point successfully finished the race under time limit, that includes Tomislav Bermanec, Danijel Horvat, Goran Livada, Zoltán Járfás and Miran Reberc. Some of them returned this year due “unfinished business” from last year. Unfortunately Darko Dominić had to withdraw near city of Čakovec due health issues, and Negomir Gajinov, only rider in 2C category scratched in city of Opatija because of exhaustion.
HARD CRO is the race yet to be discovered by many ultra cyclist, it’s already recognised and acknowledged by RAAM executives. Maintaining competitive level demands serious dedication and strict rules, it’s a lot of hard work ahead of us.
The race organizers invests tremendous efforts to make the race fair and transparent. Performing an impartial trial in the given framework is the basis and every unpopular decision is undermined by facts and solid proofs. All in order to raise the race to a higher level thanks to consistency and transparency, providing all contestants the same conditions.
Supporters and “dotwatchers” bring this event to action. Race is transferred dynamically through digital dots to viewers, who cheer and motivate racers in unique way. People engaged helps us in creation of healthy and positive community where individuals arise and dare to try and succeed. To move their limits and eventually cross it.
And this time, man of the race was arguably Ian To. Man broke his own record when crossed finish line under 60 hours, and succeeded in his agenda. He left us all jaw-dropped with a result that is hard and extreme challenge for all future racers, including himself. If he return on third edition on 18th June 2018. we will have a chance to witness again what does it take to go further with human possibilities. Maybe next time he will not sleep hour and half as he did now, no matter what, the challenge is here and he dares all ultra cyclist to get closer to this number, until eventually someone break it.