«Protect Aoos» ΜΤΒ Ultra: For one river, one day in August
26 Απριλίου 2017

Built in the green valley of Aoos, Vovoussa (Vovousa)  is surrounded by high mountains and pine, beech and white-skinned pine forests, at the eastern Zagori border, Valia Calda National Park and at the center of the National Park of North Pindus, and it has linked its name to the River Aoos.

The risk of a new intervention in the river flow, following the operation of the Aoos Pipe Hydroelectric Power Plant in Politsies, Metsovo, in 1988, will be the final condemnation of the Aoos gorge up to Konitsa, while the consequences in the Albanian part of it (in Albania it is called Vjosa) and up to its estuary in the Adriatic Sea are still unpredictable. Therefore, through the need to address the problem of a future diversion and to find supporters in its effort to prevent it, a race of 100+ km of mountain biking embraced the Aoos and the surrounding mountains was born in 2013.

“Protect Aoos” MTB Ultra returns for the fifth consecutive year, beginning and ending at the village of Vovoussa on the last Sunday of August (27/08/2017).

“The” Protect Aoos “MTB Ultra is indeed the most demanding MTB race in the country,” say the people who have run it. And this is because it requires not only physical endurance and proper power management for more than 100 kilometers, or the bike to cope without any mechanical problems. The greatest feature and the grandeur of the struggle are the soul and the will to impose on both the mind and the body, with the mere purpose of ending next to the Aoos River. The aims of the event are the communion of the protection of the Aoos River, the preservation of the environment of the region and the promotion of activities, such as the athleticism and the culture with emphasis, as far as the specific event is concerned, on mountain biking. The transformation of the area into a mountain bike preparation area will benefit athletes with the multitude and the variety of routes, while – at the same time – will benefit and upgrade the local community. After four years, the fruits of this endeavor are shown by the increase in biking tourism in Vovoussa. As for the race, this year comes with small changes in the field and the any changes will focus on improving the benefits for cyclists on the route and visitors.

«Protect Aoos» ΜΤΒ Ultra

The Ultra route will also be somewhat longer than 100 km (100+ km), with its altitudes at about 3,500m, passing three times the 1,600m of altidute (1,642m, 1,602m and 1,644m) and an asphalt road of approximately 8,5 km. For 2017, the Ultra route continues to the north-northwest of Vovoussa, passing through Laista and next to Perivoli of Grevena, retaining, however, several tracks of the previous years (2013, 2014 and 2015).
The particular event is the only one in Greece that covers a distance of 100 and more kilometers in a single, continuous route. It is marked along its length (per 50, 100 or 300 meters) while there are marker strips at 90% of the intersections, and red banned marking at 100% of the intersections. There are and signs of dangerous spots, as well. The race offers cyclists the opportunity to replenish during the race at more than 9 points / stations, where water, electrolytes, nuts, honey, fruit are offered; technical assistance is also offered at two of the stations, apart from the one in the Vovoussa Central Service (start and 25 km) that Shimano provided in 2016. Practically, cyclists are provided with service around 25 to 30 km. During the race, motorbikes (5 in 2016) are in the path, from the lead to the last athlete, while a 4×4 car is found throughout the race behind the last athlete. A rescue and first aid team is located in Vovoussa for the whole length of the race. The route passes within the boundaries and sometimes the settlements of the following communities: Vovoussa, Perivoli of Grevena, Elatochori, Gyftokampos, Laista. Cyclists are, for the biggest part of the race, mostly in the forest, (mainly black pine, beech, spruce) and there are spots where they follow the ridge.

Details about the 2016 ultra race here



-For videos about «Protect Aoos» ΜΤΒ Ultra & Race visit us in YouTube and in Vimeo

-For more images about «Protect Aoos» ΜΤΒ Ultra & Race visit us at www.flickr.com

«Protect Aoos» ΜΤΒ Race

At the same time, along with the 100+ km race, the “small / fun” 30 km race is conducted, which constitutes an interesting opportunity for all participants to get to know the nature and the bike, whether they are hobbyists or not. The “Protect Aoos” route MTB Race shows alternations in its slopes and one of its features is that it is designed to pass twice just outside the village (600m from the main square), and once next to the bridge of Vovoussa in the center of the village.

-For more details about «Protect Aoos» ΜΤΒ Race visit us at www.aoosmtbultra.gr














 -For more images about «Protect Aoos» ΜΤΒ Ultra & Race visit us at www.flickr.com


«Protect Aoos» ΜΤΒ Race-Rellay

For the second year, there will also be couples being able to run the Ultra route. Couples will fight on the route of “Protect Aoos” MTB Ultra. The first he-cyclist or she-cyclist will run the b and after returning to the start, the other member will continue for the remaining 75+ miles of the route.

Details are posted on the race site.

On the previous day of the race, on Saturday afternoon,…

…the kid cross3athlon (children’s triathlon) begins, during which the little friends of the race will swim 50m in  Aoos, then run 1500m and, finally, will ride 700m before finishing on the Vovoussa stone bridge. Afterwards, there is a briefing for the bikers on the routes of the following day. The evening closes with a meal of pasta, cheese and salad offered by the organizers, while, after the end of the race,
juices and remedial beverages are offered to cyclists as well as local dishes. When athletes attend for their registration and their number receipt, gifts are offered, such as souvenirs, t-shirts, energy bars, jellies, maps of the area and the race, rehabilitation products. The passage of Aoos at the end of both routes, which was added in 2015,
remains as well as the possibility that the Ultra race bikers will be personally refueled to whichever station they want for the third year. Considering the number of athletes in such a demanding event (attended by 90 riders and 80
finished) and the high level of participation (with the first dozen, from 2013 to 2016, consisting of: Periklis Ilias, George Dantos, Anastasios Kourmpetis, Theodore Petrides, Ioannis Skordas, Costas Symelidis, Simon Cole, Manos Skaros, Christos Mylonas, ​​Constantinos Orphanoudakis, Charry Papounidis, Chronis Drougias, Nikos Tachopoulos, Emmanuel Ntegiannis, Dimitris Papanikos, Alexander Vrochidis, Gregory Kalogeropoulos).

We think that this year our it is our obligation to offer the athletes of all routes and their viewers a worthy race in quality and facilities. In this endeavor, we would like you to be next to us.

For more details visit us at www.aoosmtbultra.gr

In the heart of North Pindos National Park

The area where the “Protect Aoos MTB Ultra” takes place is located in the heart of the North Pindos National Park, the largest protected land area in Greece. The creation of the North Pindos National Park with the unification of these areas has got the main purpose of preserving, protecting and promoting the natural and cultural heritage of the area. The special ecological value of the North Pindos National Park, which is recognized at national, European and global level, is derived from the fact that it includes: two national parks, Pindos National Park (Valia Calda) and the National Park of Vikos-Aoos, eleven sites belonging to the Pan-European Network of Protected Areas: NATURA 2000, a terittory designated as a Biogenetic Reserve at the core of Valia Calda, eleven Wildlife Shelters, and an important part of the Geopark Vikos – Aoos, which is a member of UNESCO’s European and World Geoparks Network.

For more details visit us at http://pindosnationalpark.gr