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Belén Castelló
 

About Belén Castelló

For the longest time I thought bikes were only for racing, but when living in the Netherlands, I realised that bikes could also be for commuting. Now, I’ve discovered my favourite way of using bikes: for travelling!

Distance travelled

1,864 mi

Time in motion

248:05 h

Personal Collections
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Recent Activity
  1. Belén Castelló and 2 others planned a gravel ride.

    September 15, 2021

    44:00
    263 mi
    6.0 mph
    33,325 ft
    33,325 ft
  2. tristanbogaard and Belén Castelló went gravel riding.

    August 7, 2021

    00:38
    6.73 mi
    10.7 mph
    200 ft
    1,125 ft
    Ferenc, Matteo Bianchi and 8 others like this.
    1. tristanbogaard

      Day six of our Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop adventure... and the end! As mentioned in day five, we preferred to camp just outside of Kamnik, and therefor rolled into the town in the early morning of August 7th. This little cafe by the old town square is a great place to celebrate the finish of your loop tour! Additionally, if you don't want to cycle to another route in Slovenia, you can take a train from Kamnik station (not every day–ask a Slovene for the time table) to Ljubljana and further.This is it, enjoy the ride and see you on the road!

      • September 26, 2021

  3. tristanbogaard and Belén Castelló went gravel riding.

    August 6, 2021

    03:31
    29.1 mi
    8.3 mph
    2,050 ft
    4,850 ft
    Sijtse, isr4el and 3 others like this.
    1. tristanbogaard

      Day five of our Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop adventure. Today started sunny and blue, great weather to descend the plateau. Since we'd reached the top of the climb the day before, today was basically all downward until the flat southern stretch of the loop. After reaching a farm with a herd of cows, we moved down the mountain over a rough dirt track that transformed into a really rocky road. Belén had a puncture in her tube due to low tire pressure, which I quickly patched. Around 10 kilometers into the ride we reached asphalt and from there it was smooth sailing.The river gorge you descend into is a very nice sight to behold, and worth a little picnic spot. If, like ourselves, you're in need of a food fill-up, you can do so in Tržič. This town is also the point where you could transfer into the rest of the Trans-Karavanks route, that brings you back into the mountains all the way till Kranjska-Gora. See the description of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop collection for more information, or go to my planned tours to find the proposed 'Slovenia Best Loop' to find out more.We continued from Tržič, on little village roads, as well as wider more trafficked asphalt. The southern part of our loop was a bit challenging to design as flatter valleys can often get mundane because of all the development. We think we did a good job routing you through these flatter hills though, as there are a few sections of gravel and bike lane to be found. Near Kamnik you'll climb one last hill on a pretty steep road to get some nice views over the Ljubljana valley in the distance. And actually, this could perfectly be your last day on the loop as the southern part is quite easy to traverse. We didn't want to sleep in Kamnik but instead go there for breakfast, so we stopped prematurely. But you could perfectly call it a day and finish the loop in Kamnik on the same day as coming down from the Planina. See day six for one last recommendation :)

      • September 26, 2021

  4. tristanbogaard and Belén Castelló went gravel riding.

    August 5, 2021

    03:04
    13.5 mi
    4.4 mph
    3,350 ft
    2,425 ft
    Bastiaan Vernhout, Ferenc and 2 others like this.
    1. tristanbogaard

      Day four of our Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop adventure. As mentioned at the end of day three, the rain woke us up and kept on going until 1pm. So we had a very late start this day, yet managed to dry our tent which was nice.The following section is where a big challenge arises. It's a short one, but it'll take you a significant amount of time so make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. If it's raining, or rain is expected within two hours from starting this segment; wait by the mountain hut before trying to make your way through–you'll thank me later.Once you reach the top of the climb, you have a choice to make: either you take a lift, and enter a swampy, wet and barely visible path that will take you to the other side of the forest and connect to a dead-end road westward. Since it had rained so much, and we were not familiar with the area, this way was a no-go for us. Instead, as shown in the GPX and attached photos, we took the logger way: a slightly longer, steeper section of logging road that bleeds into singletrack which, after reaching a top, leads you down the mountain on fairly challenging terrain and possible tree debris on your way. The swamp and logger way link up just before reaching the dead-end gravel road, and turn into a more manageable hiking trail.We spoke to Neza, a native Slovenian girl who designed the Trans-Karavanks route, and she said the swampy way wasn't too long or bad. So you know, feel free to choose which way sounds most appealing to you!Having overcome this challenge, we set out to finish the day by reaching a plateau called Planina Pungart. So after a fine gravel descent from the hike-a-bike horror behind us, we started the climb at Medvodje and aimed to complete it before sunset. And we managed! We also found a really pleasant camp spot on top, where a herd of cows came to visit us to find out what we were doing there. Don't be afraid if they approach you, they're just curious and a bit like humble dogs. A firm clap in your hands and gesture of departure should be enough to send them on their way.

      • September 26, 2021

  5. tristanbogaard and Belén Castelló went gravel riding.

    August 4, 2021

    02:31
    14.7 mi
    5.8 mph
    2,675 ft
    2,600 ft
    1. tristanbogaard

      The third day of our Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop adventure. Having not had enough sleep the night before due to stressful wild camp circumstances, climbing the switchbacks into Slovenia was tiring, but nice thanks to the smooth asphalt. We knew that rain might catch us on this day and set out to try and get as far as possible while we could. In the end, we got none in the day, which was nice!After having entered back into Slovenia we descended into Zgornje Jezersko, where we bought some food supplies in a really tiny (and expensive) Mercator. This town is the start of the Trans-Karavanks route as well, and from this point on we'd basically be following that one. However, at the time of riding this was not yet a published route, so our planning mainly came from the Trans-Slovenia 03 route.Headed out of Jezersko, we took a right into a nice valley, with sheep and donkeys freely walking behind a long fence. After we started climbing by the river, lots of raspberry bushes kept us distracted from making any real progress... but after having party ridden and partly pushed our bikes up the steep gravel climb for about three quarters of the way, we stumbled upon a mountain hut that would provide us all the shelter we needed for the oncoming rainstorm that would continue until 1pm the next day. It was probably the earliest we've ever set up camp, but when the rain burst loose later that night, continuing into the early afternoon of the next day, we were relieved to be cozy and dry instead of wet and miserable––especially with the challenging part of the route that was waiting for us just around the corner....

      • September 26, 2021

  6. tristanbogaard and Belén Castelló went gravel riding.

    August 3, 2021

    04:11
    30.2 mi
    7.2 mph
    3,725 ft
    4,700 ft
    1. tristanbogaard

      Day two of our Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop adventure. Waking up after a good night sleep, we caught just enough sunshine to warm up in the fresh air of the morning, with fog playfully rolling upon the hills and mountains all around us. From camp, a section of nice but rocky gravel roads with herds of cows alongside them led us through a couple more shepherd villages, after which it was time to descend from the plateau.The descend is really nice. Smooth gravel followed by even better asphalt leads you down into the valley, from where you start slowly climbing up to the town of Solčava. The climb is steady, on asphalt and with little traffic (when we were there). Arriving in town, you'll take a right and touch base with gravel again for a longer climb up to a scenic road that takes you away from main road, presenting some wonderful mountain scenery along the way. It'll transform into asphalt once it starts flattening out. Just before it did a rainstorm caught us in our tracks and forced us to seek refuge in a little hut just down the path, which is reflected in the GPX track (in case the rain also catches you!).If you're following exactly along this route, today is also the day you'll enter Austria from Slovenia. Crossing the border was easy for us as there wasn't anyone checking. In Covid times, you should be well prepared with a green pass or something similar in case you do get checked. Another note is that wild camping in this little stretch of Austria is REALLY difficult. So if you can, cycle back into Slovenia and make it to about 19km into our third day for a nice and calm spot in a valley rather than by a road, on a slope, in a ditch or in full view of passing traffic. You might get lucky and find a place we didn't, but now you know it's tricky.

      • September 26, 2021

  7. tristanbogaard and Belén Castelló went gravel riding.

    August 2, 2021

    01:27
    10.4 mi
    7.1 mph
    3,500 ft
    400 ft
    1. tristanbogaard

      It's day one of a new adventure! Those are always exciting. After having cycled from Ljubljana to Kamnik, @belletoscan and I found a nice spot in the old center of town to commence this new and self-made route; enter the Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop!We started relatively late in the day, as we usually do on day one of any route, and therefor this first part of the route might not go exactly the same for you. We recommend you take your time on this first part, so you can sleep near one of the absolute highlights of the whole loop: the Velika Planina plateau. You'll reach this after only 15km(!) so it's definitely not a good idea to start this route early in the day if you wish to sleep up on the plateau.Camp recommendations aside, after having cycled out of Kamnik over a fairly peaceful asphalt road that follows main road, you'll take a left into the valley that'll lead you to the cablecar parking lot. Here's the cablecar website as well as the timetable:Main website: velikaplanina.si/en/cultural-and-natural-sights/cable-carTimetable: velikaplanina.si/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/VOZNI-RED-2021_2_ang.pdfFrom here, depending on the time that you arrive, you'll quickly be able to take the cablecar three quarters up the mountain, from where you have a choice to make. Either you continue on the chairlift, which will bring you all the way up to Velika Planina, or you cycle the path that goes alongside the chairlift, which is rather steep. For the sake of fun and adventure, we absolutely recommend you take the chairlift! Some of the seats have two hooks, covered in rubber, where your bike can be carried. See the photos attached for an example. You might have to take your frame bag off if you're carrying one in order for the hooks to fit, and you might also be advised to hold on to your bike while in the chairlift just in case. Having arrived near the top (bikes can only go until the station just before the top, as there's no paths there) you can cycle right into the entrance of the first village at Velika Planina, where you'll be able to discover the beautiful cabin structures that are scattered all over the plateau. If you're as lucky as ourselves with fog accompanying you on your journey, this place will feel as mysterious as can be...! Shepherds have called this place home for centuries, although nowadays it's more for holiday-goers and the occasional farmer who wants their cows to eat up here. This makes for a busy summer season up here, and although we'd advise you to cycle this route in the summer season due to some high altitude, it might be worth it to ride the loop in the shoulder season instead, for a more peaceful experience and less risky wild-camp opportunities. Nevertheless, the end of this particular GPX track marks an excellent little camp spot that's hidden away in the hills, with a pleasant view towards the northern mountains that you'll be cycling later into the route.

      • September 26, 2021

  8. Belén Castelló and tristanbogaard went for a bike ride.

    July 31, 2021

    13:54
    105 mi
    7.6 mph
    15,375 ft
    15,375 ft
    Janek, Branko and 4 others like this.
    1. Belén Castelló

      During our journey covering the 'Slovenia West Loop' we were recommended by locals in various to visit the area of Kamnik—so we couldn't leave the country without doing so! The Kamnik-Savinja Alps is a mountain range in the north of Slovenia but South of the Karavanks range, which become the natural border between Austria and Slovenia. We created a circular loop from Kamnik since it's the closest train station in the area (although cycling there from the capital is very easy). The Esatern and Northern sections are the most spectacular in terms of views and challenging in terms of elevation and path conditions, whilst the West and South sections go through many villages where you can experience the local vibes. ADVICE:
      We completed the route in 5 days (can be done in 4 if you are fast and the weather is in your favour—we like to take our time!) and on the way there are plently of options to wild camp, stay at a campsite, or even sleep indoors every single night since most farms offer food and lodging. Water is available throughout the whole route so refilling your bottles at a fountain or stream shouldn't be a problem.
      The route can be tackled with a gravel bike although front suspension will help a lot on those rough descends. For tires we recommend to at least use 48mm of width to avoid sliding on the few loose gravel segments.HIGHLIGHTS:
      - V͟e͟l͟i͟k͟a͟ ͟P͟l͟a͟n͟i͟n͟a͟:͟ The biggest herdsmen settlement in Europe. You can't cycle up from the west side but it's possible to bring your bike along in the cable car and chairlift (if not heavily loaded). The landscape at the top transforms into a unique and mystical pasture with many wooden huts. Definitely a must visit!
      S͟o͟l͟č͟a͟v͟a͟ ͟P͟a͟n͟o͟r͟a͟m͟i͟c͟ ͟R͟o͟a͟d͟:͟ This road is surprisingly quiet given its name. Along it, you'll find breathtaking views of the many peaks and valleys in the area and you'll pass by Slovenian traditional highland farms.
      - T͟r͟a͟n͟s͟ ͟S͟l͟o͟v͟e͟n͟i͟a͟ ͟0͟3͟ ͟/͟ ͟T͟r͟a͟n͟s͟ ͟K͟a͟r͟a͟v͟a͟n͟k͟s͟:͟ This MTB route has been developed by the Slovenian Alpine Association with an idea to bring cycling tourism to the Karavanks cross-border area. We only covered a small section of it and enjoyed it very much since it runs mostly on gravel and single tracks and the views are mesmerizing.
      To see our day-to-day Kamink-Savinja Alps rides, check out Tristan's Collection: komoot.com/collection/1303865/-cycling-the-kamnik-savinja-alps-loop?ref=undefinedYOUTUBE:
      You can follow our journey on the video mini-series created on Tristan's Youtube Channel:
      Part 1:
      Part 2:
      You can also follow our adventures on Instagram:
      instagram.com/belletoscan
      instagram.com/tristanbogaard

      • September 1, 2021

  9. Belén Castelló and tristanbogaard went gravel riding.

    July 30, 2021

    33:34
    239 mi
    7.1 mph
    21,175 ft
    21,175 ft
    Andrea__dt, jeroen and 22 others like this.
    1. Belén Castelló

      The 'Slovenia West Loop' is a route create by Joe Cruz for bikepacking.com and probably one of their most cherished multi-day tracks in Europe.

      Before starting, we had gone through the route's comments on their website and noticed that many people had been recommended by locals to follow the Soča river on the most western side of the loop instead of heading off into the mountains on forest tracks. We thought this made sense since one of Slovenia's superstar attractions is indeed this emerald blue, characteristic cold river. And... Since there was no set track for this variant... We just decided to draw it ourselves.

      As bikepacking.com says, the route can be completed in 6-8 days and from our experience, this is very realistic. It took us a little longer since we stop a lot for documenting and also had to call it off a couple of days due to bad weather. In general, this is not a tough track and with no time stress, can be completed by any level cyclists. Only a couple of stretches are a little tricky since these require a small hike-a-bike (see images to know where these are). We amended the route at a couple points too where the track got off on a no-longer-existent track.

      MY HONEST THOUGHTS ABOUT THE ROUTE:
      The northern part of the route felt the nicest, but of course, its also where most of the tourists go to. This made the southern section seem a little "lame", but still charming enough to cycle through. If we were to repeat, I'd cycle from Ljubljana to Most na Soči along the northern section and then turn east and pedal back to the capital through Bohinj Lake. We like mountains the most (not a big fan of forests), so it makes sense for our preferences to stay up there.

      ADVICE:
      Do take into account that the weather in the mountains can change fast and summer storms are pretty common. Be prepared to ride in the rain or to have enough time to stop for half a day to stay away from the downpours.

      Wild camping in Slovenia is not permitted and we don't recommend to try it out within Bled, the Soča river or Triglav National Park (unless you are extremely discreet) since locals are a bit tired of tourists trashing the places, there's plenty of other options (like campsites for about 15€ per person and tent) and these areas are also patrolled by rangers who could give you a fine or, if in a good mood, ask you to move during the night.

      To see our day-to-day Slovenia West Loop rides, check out Tristan's Collection (or read the picture captions to see how far we got each day): komoot.nl/collection/1220462/-cycling-the-slovenia-west-loop

      IMPORTANT:
      After uploading I realized there is a weird mistake by Nova Gorica and the route has a little dent coming in and out of the city to Ajševica. If you follow my gpx track, please remove or ignore this as it's a glitch. Sorry for that!

      YOUTUBE:
      You can follow our journey on the video mini-series created on Tristan's Youtube Channel:

      Part 1:


      Part 2:


      Part 3:


      You can also follow our adventures on Instagram:
      instagram.com/belletoscan
      instagram.com/tristanbogaard

      • August 9, 2021

  10. tristanbogaard and Belén Castelló went gravel riding.

    July 26, 2021

    03:35
    33.4 mi
    9.3 mph
    2,050 ft
    2,850 ft
    Leonardo, Cmg and 14 others like this.
    1. tristanbogaard

      Day 10! The final day of our West Loop adventure. We woke up in the grasslands near Cerknica and rode into town early that day, did some groceries and rode the last climb of the West Loop. There's something incredibly gratifying about a last climb, and it was on asphalt too! Where Joe Cruz, the designer of this route, would put you on some more singletrack before coming down to Iška after your last descend, we decided to ride the last downhill on the main road as it was super quiet and smooth. Sometimes singletrack just doesn't make any sense.

      From Iška you'll find yourself cycling through pastures and farmfields on your way to Ljubljana, and just before town there's a short section of road with pretty heavy traffic. Fortunately we cycled into quiet neighbourhoods right after, alongside the river into the centre of town, where we concluded our time on the West Loop. What a ride it's been...!

      Now, if you prefer to stick exactly to the routes we cycled and our daily schedules, feel free to do so knowing that we stopped for video and photos all the time as our goal for this route (and any, in fact) was to document it as properly as possible. On the other hand, if you prefer to decide where you'll stop for your nights and how much you'll cycle each day, you can download the GPX file of Belén's 'West Loop, Soča Variant' route that you can find in this Komoot collection or on her profile.

      We absolutely loved cycling this route and think it's the best way to discover Slovenia! The route also leads you through some of the country's most popular sights but does so in a good way, providing trails and easy ins-and-outs of those places. We thank Joe Cruz for designing it and hope that our personal route documentation helps you improve your experience out on the West Loop. And remember, if you don't feel like doing the two climbs on the Slovenian-Italian border area, just download Belén's Soča Variant of the West Loop to follow along the river instead.

      Thanks for coming along and see you on the road!

      • August 12, 2021

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