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TransDinara MTB 2016 – three day adventure through forgotten vast lands of Croatian mountains

The most demanding mountain bike marathon in Croatia and in the region which has in its 2014 edition attracted the attention of both the media and passionate cyclists from 9 different countries. This year it shows its true identity and a place under the sun, not hiding from the potential of becoming one of the most interesting MTB events in this part of Europe. A confirmation of this has already come in the form of a team participation of Ivonne Kraft and Peter Vesel, the winners of last year’s Absa Cape Epic!

Even with the showing of the first photographs taken when the organizers of this epic marathon loaded with heavy backpacks went for days long exploration of vast lands of Dinara mountain, the teaser to all those who spend more time looking at the screens of their GPS than mobile phones has been launched. For the experienced eye the atmospheric display of wilderness on the border between the two countries was enough to make it shine with curiosity, and when the concept of this competition led the event to the limits of endurance –  for those selected few it was point of no return.

photo 1 / research 2013 / author: TDM team

Dinara, a mountain giant, which reigns over the highest peaks in Croatia, has been almost forgotten since the war for Croatian independence, and those times when it stood under the rumbling tanks, trucks and military boots, being shy, like an elephant behind a twig, hiding her beauty from the public eye, throwing Cetina river and its miraculous spring Glavas as baits, in the hope that no one will look up. Years of war have shaped the Dinara in a deserted mountain, dotted with hundreds of kilometers of steep, rough “roads”, on which the ravages of time have left some barely visible forgotten trails. By the way, Dinara is one of the last mountains where you can come across all three large European carnivores: a bear, a wolf and a lynx. The organizers hope that there won’t be any close encounters with these animals, but will just in case they will pay an insurance policy on your behalf … just so you could have a colorful paper to show to the three-member welcome committee. J

photo 2 / research 2013 / author: TDM team

Even though it had given it best to make things difficult for the organizers to master some of its endless, winding paths, in its first edition of the marathon held in September 2014, Dinara was friendly and good to all those who have decided to get to know it. A huge role in the organization had the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, a strategic partner of the marathon since its inception, whose teams and  vehicles were in charge of the safety of competitors in all those hard to reach areas. It should be also noted that TransDinara marathon was introduced as a pilot project of strategic national Tour de Croactive project by Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (systematic development of active tourism in the service of sustainable and balanced development of the Republic of Croatia). The Ministry of Interior  took care of the legality of the border crossing between Croatia and Bosnia, as well as for a secure and safe passage of competitors through populated areas. Croatian Air Force was also involved, with their helicopter crew put on call at a nearby helipad. The last but not the least are the host cities Trilj, Sinj, Vrlika and Knin, which have ensured accommodation for the weary competitors, as well as food and friendly entertainment in the evening. The  hospitality of the town of Vrlika needs to be mentioned, too, as it was particularly remembered by everyone. The people of this wonderful, small town in the shadow of Svilaja have offered everything they had, and had even closed the traffic through the town for the the perfect atmosphere of the warm summer evening.

The best input on how it all looked in 2014 is available in this promo video on the official marathon website:, where you can also find a photo gallery.

photo 3 / the group at the beginning of stage 2. of TDM 2014 / author: Denis Peroš

A look at this year’s edition reveals the continuation of the aspirations and wishes of the organizers to lead this marathon in a direction of being a real mountain bike adventure for a limited number of individuals and two-member teams.

TransDinara MTB 2016 specifications:
– 3 days / 3 stages/ September 2-4, 2016.
– 226km of trails with 6500m of overall ascent
– number of participants limited at 100
– 5 categories/ individuals (male and female), two member teams (male, female, mixed)
– obligatory stand alone GPS device  (even though, the trails will be marked)
– shared accomondation in gyms, food, and transportation provided
– substantial prize money fund (8.500 EUR)

The event starts on Thursday, September 1st, in Trilj were the arrival of the participants is scheduled, followed by dinner and good night’s sleep. The next morning after breakfast, on Friday, September 2nd, the show starts!

Stage 1: Trilj – Kamešnica – Sinj (Vrdovo) / Friday 02.09.
Warm-up day, 82 kilometers with about 2600 meters altitude difference, beneath the peaks of the Kamešnica mountain. A rough dirt road cut up with a demanding singletrack descent, steep climbs, abandoned villages, shepherds and sheep. It’s getting a taste of everything that follows in the second day. Competitors finish the stage away from civilization, on the mountain plateau Vrdovo, where the camp with all necessary infrastructure will be set up. A calm night under the stars ensures not only an unforgettable experience and a good quality night’s sleep, but also the minimum number of kilometers of asphalt on the second day of competition.

photo 4 / under the clouds, stage 1 TDM 2014/ author: Matej Posavec

Stage 2: Sinj (Vrdovo) – Dinara – Vrlika (Peruča)
Royal stage. The essence of this marathon is presented with this stage! The first year, this stage of the marathon had to be changed practically at the last minute due to the extremely rainy summer and evidently unrecognizable trails, so this year it was changed from the ground up. To present it in figures, it consists of 3000 meters of altitude difference in 94 kilometers of pure MTB experience, with all seasons combined, and all kinds of land and terrain; from the Alpine forests to the lunar surface. Halfway of the stage is located only a few meters below the Lišanjski summit, the second highest peak in Croatia, after which the partcipants are awarded with a singletrack descent into the heart of Dinara. After the adrenaline rush, you are left to struggle with Dinara, its steep gradients that force you to ponder over some of your recent life decisions, the vastness which brings a sense of solitude and smallness of our own existence. Fortunately, this stage does not offer a single tree where you could  hang yourself, but after 40 kilometers of ego festival there is a view of Peručko lake before you, to which you’re guided by an endless descent, helping you to leave a painfully accumulated 1000 meters of altitude in one breath.

photo 5 / the beginning of the stage 2 descent of TDM 2014 / author: Matej Posavec


Stage 3: Vrlika – Dinara – Knin
After the second day of masochism and pleasant atmosphere in Vrlika, the third day brings all the natural beauty of the foothills of Dinara in meager 50 kilometers with 1000 meters of ascent. The amazing sights available are:  abysslike spring of the Cetina river, the river Krčić, the waterfall Krčić, and Knin fortress. A steep climb to this thousand year old fort takes you to the finish line… just like a cherry on top! After you cross the finish line the gala lunch awaits you, followed by an awards ceremony, lying on the grass, hanging out, having a cold beer with a view of all mountain peaks which you’ve passed, your marathon mates saying they’re sorry if they made some mistakes, you shake hands and say “all good, I can’t wait to come back again!” …
Registrations are opened from April 1st on: There you can also find all the relevent information about this unique marathon, and for daily updates go to our Facebook page:

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