Nature once again made sure the Velorally DRAG Cherni Vrah cross country competition was a day to be enjoyed by all, with cloudless skies and summer temperatures on October 3rd. Over 180 competitors signed up to ride the 38 km route from the Boyana suburb of Sofia up the ‘Black Peak’ of Vitosha mountain and back down again. Despite a last minute change of route due to a ban by the local authorities on crossing the peat reserve by bike competitors were not put off and turned out full of enthusiasm for the new route. With a total climb and descent of 3300 metres the Cherni Vrah Velorally is one of the most gruelling cross country events in Bulgaria. This year the last-minute route change meant that cyclists had to go up and come down from the peak using the same path. Many expressed doubts that this would be possible bearing in mind this is a rocky path that is also used by the many mountain walkers who climb up the peak at this time of year. DRAG laid on an additional team of helpers and posts together with the Mountain Rescue Service and the Bulgarian Cycling Union judges.  This year’s winner, Emil Stoynev, finished with an astounding time of 2:28:40. Winner of the women’s category Hristina Kozareva, who  finished an hour and 10 minutes behind with 3:42:24.