Length 29.7 km
Time needed
Time needed 02:00
Največja strmina vzpona[%]
Greatest slope of the ascent: 8 %
Greatest slope of the descent: 6 %
Average slope of the ascent: 6 %
Length of ascents above 5%: 4.40 km
The lowest point of the route: 660 m
The highest point of the route: 310 m
Difference in altitude: 625 m
Poraba kalorij
Consumption of energy for men: 4070 kJ (972 kcal)
Consumption of energy for women: 3316 kJ (792 kcal)
Difficulty: Very demanding
Quality of the surface
Quality of the surface: Mixture
Type of bike: Trek bike
Short description

After all the Hockenheim-, Hungaro-, Österreich- and other "rings", famous for Formula 1 races, which unfortunately are too far away, this time we decided to have some racing fun ourselves. We still don't have a ring (German), circuit (English) or obroč or krog (Slovenian) for racing, which is why we will have to create one on our own. This should not be so hard: you close your eyes, clap your hands – and it's already there! You know that advertisement: "It always works for me. Always − between meals ... I got this talent from my mother." Now you try. Did you make it? No? Then you will have to read this travelogue. We will create a ring in one way or another, and the only thing left is to find a suitable name for it. The name Kata, for example, is not so bad. It also has several meanings: in Greek it is an adverb meaning with, from, over, through, along, on... Written with a capital K, it is an abbreviation for the female name Katarina (there are more than 500 persons named Kata in Slovenia), in Japanese it means a pattern in martial arts where you are facing an imaginary opponent, and it also has other meanings. It is almost impossible to find a name which would better summarise today's route, which goes around the wider area of Katarina above Medvode. We will go with a bicycle from a plain, over meadows, through the forest, along a stream, on the ridge and come to the top, while battling with an imaginary opponent all this time and involve the name of our intermediate goal – Katarina above Medvode. Therefore – Kata-ring!
And one more thing! We will not go by a Formula 1 car, but with a bike.


Vižmarje – Šentvid – Glince – Toško Čelo – Topol pri Medvodah – Trnovec – Sora – Goričane – Vaše – Medno – Stanežiče – Dvor – Gunclje – Vižmarje

Pole position
The warm-up round is behind you. Now you are at the start/finish line in Vižmarje at the turnaround of the Ljubljana city bus line No 1 and you are waiting for the start signal. This is usually when the red light turns off. Watch the traffic lights and when the red light goes off (and the green light turns on) take the cycling track along Celovška cesta Road. Immediately switch to high RPMs and go past the OMV petrol station and under the motorway slip road towards the city. The next traffic lights would like to stop you, but you don't have to worry about it, because you will turn right to Šentviška ulica Street. From now on, there will be no traffic lights, although you will get really close to one at the end of the street. To avoid it, go to Podgorska cesta Road and stay on it until you get to Cesta Andreja Bitenca Road, which will take you above the motorway and to the end of the urban area. When the slope starts, you will see in the forest on the right the sign for the path leading to the Brezar Pit . Not far ahead is the crossing with Podutiška cesta Road. There you will go right and uphill, past the quarry to the next crossroads on Preval, where you again turn right towards the village of Toško Čelo.

The path is flat at first, but a rather steep slope starts after you pass the monument . You are pushing as hard as you can – the motor is giving its best, but the speed is nevertheless dropping. And this is not all. The hairpin turns make sure that you have an additional obstacle, completely eliminating the possibility for overtaking. When the hairpin turns end, the road becomes somewhat straight, so you will have to switch gears. Completely heated you get to Toško Čelo , where you will get the impression that spectators on stands are welcoming you. In reality, these are hikers who are having a stop there to have a drink. They are sipping their teas or beers and curiously, perhaps even smugly, watching you lose fluids in the form of sweat. Reduce your speed because the road is narrow and pass the support wall and further on to the end of the village, where you will be met by macadam. Asphalt was smooth, but difficult. This macadam, on the other hand, looks promising.

Before you even reach the end of asphalt, switch a gear higher to make use of the slight downhill section and gain momentum. It will come in handy right on the first slope that follows. You will have to go with full force, so you will not have time to watch the beautiful surroundings, which justifiably bear the name the Polhov Gradec Dolomites Landscape Park . You are competing against yourself. There are pros and cons of going fast downhill. It is good because you gain momentum, but it is not good because it makes the bicycle harder to control. It is not hard to slip on a sandy surface, not to mention the troubles with braking when you run into a sudden obstacle. Without a doubt, the optimal solution is a medium speed, but this varies from individual to individual. To determine the right speed, special skills are required. But you are doing good so far. You are overtaking others easily. You are conquering short, steep slopes with the energy you gathered during descents. You carefully reduce your speed before open turns and take them smoothly, but sharp and closed turns are a different story. Despite everything, try to keep to the right and do not wander across the entire width of the road. By the time you reach the ridge , the motor is fully heated. It is good that the road on the other side goes downhill, although you have to be more careful now. The slope enables high speeds, which can be dangerous on macadam. The turns are smooth and not too sandy, but your rear wheel with swerve nevertheless. At the end of the ridge, you will go across a meadow, from which a beautiful view of Katarina opens up. Asphalt appears when you reach the first houses in the village of Topol . Your tires grip better again, but the ride is rather difficult because of the slope. The seven-kilometre ascent has not left you indifferent. You are already somewhat exhausted when you arrive to the top, where you will refill the fuel and check your tires.

Pit stop
A series of "pit stops" (read: inns) are at your disposal. Three of them are to the right from the crossroads (a very steep slope), and one is on the left (no slope). Take the one that is free. The staff is already ready and waiting for you to offer you drink and fuel. You should also check your brakes – they will be your main weapon in the upcoming fight. It's not that you wouldn't be even faster without them – you would, but "fast is quickly too fast". While you are waiting for the sign that you can set off (to pay the bill, in other words), take a look at the beautiful surroundings. A majority of the Polhov Gradec Hills can be seen from here, and the view becomes really interesting towards the evening, when the dark outlines of Grmada and Tošč are being drawn on the orange painted sky. Just before you leave, check your helmet and, finally, leave the "pit stop".

Brezovica hairpin
Go down the slope past the primary school , direction: Medvode. There is a flat section of the road just after the school, where you can develop full speed. But pay attention! The Brezovica hairpin follows, where you have to press the brakes on time, so you don't swerve off the road. The hairpin is made of a sharp, 180-degree left turn called Brezovica, where sand likes to gather (be careful when braking), a 180-degree right turn, which allows somewhat higher speeds, and another, 90-degree left turn. After this combination, there will be no difficult turns.

The good asphalt road takes you down to the valley. Without the drive, you are flying like on a slide. The legs are resting, but the brakes now suffer that much more. You are approaching the village of Trnovec, of which Knapovže, a former mining village, is a part. Lead was first extracted here, later silver and mercury as well. You've just passed the entrances into the underground shafts , but you probably didn't even notice them. In Knapovže, there used to be an ore separation and pulverisation plant as well as a smelter and a mining settlement. In the time of the mine's biggest prosperity, some 500 years ago, as many as 300 miners worked here. They would be a welcome audience for our feats.

Flat land
After Trnovec, you are welcomed by a long section of almost flat road, which gently descends through the valley of the Ločnica Stream . Switch to the highest gear and make the engine work at the highest RPMs. It is possible to gain high speeds here and there are plenty of opportunities for overtaking. However, you need to concentrate in order to react correctly and timely in case you come across a sudden obstacle that might appear in front of you. Somewhat out of breath because of the fast cycling, you will pass through a small settlement along the road, which tells you that the racing pleasure is to end soon. Indeed, a good 500 metres ahead, the village of Sora appears, and you have to cycle more carefully and slowly. Turn right at the crossroads with the main road, after which you can go faster again. Past the Goričane Manor and Vaše, you will get to Medvode, where a short downhill section in Preska encourages you to increase the speed again; but take it easy, because you will encounter speed bumps... The track along the railway is perfect and you can gain high speeds there. Only at the turn at the lonely house, you have to start paying attention not to miss the left branch, which finally leads you over the bridge and double turn in the slope to Medno Hotel.

At the end of the climb go past Medno Hotel and after a short flat section into a very tricky right turn. It is not safe to overtake in this place. The road invites you to go straight down the slope. But this direction is wrong. The right thing is to turn right, to the narrower road towards the village of Medno. Turning in the last moment will not do here, because the turn is tilted outwards. If you miss the turn, you will find yourself on the main road Ljubljana–Medvode, which is full of cars. Such act can be suicidal, so you should avoid it! Our route gets narrow and remains such almost until the end. The quality of the surface is also poorer, which means lower speeds. The annoying speed bumps make sure that you don't go too fast; be careful when you go over them. In Stanežiče go straight towards the sand quarry and then, at the marked place, immediately turn right towards the Church of St. Jacob , to a very narrow path, which is above all additionally narrowed with concrete planters. The advantage you had previously gained is easily lost here. Shortly after the church, the narrow section fortunately becomes a (too)wide road towards Gunclje (turn left). Now you can again switch to the highest gear.

Oval stands
The road turns northwards, and you will get past the stands in full speed. The stands are not intended for you, but for spectators of rugby matches at the Oval field , but you can imagine how it would be if the stands were facing the road and were full of spectators. Wave them as you go by. A right turn comes immediately after the stands, and is followed by another one not far away. You will get to Gunclje. There you will be met by another obstacle in the form of a chapel in the middle of the crossroads. No-one knows for sure whether it should be passed on the right or on the left, but the feeling tells you that it is better to go right – as if you are in a roundabout. Passing the chapel on the left is therefore forbidden, and will be considered as a reason for disqualification if it happens.

Finish line
You can make up for what you failed to do so far in the last 600 metres of the route, which lead through Gunclje . You will want to push the pedal to the metal, but you will be discouraged from overtaking by speed bumps. Whether you go straight over them or bypass them through the narrow opening along the curb, you are not able to develop good speed without risking an uncomfortable bump to your backside, or hitting the curb. Overtaking is possible, of course, in the short sections between the speed bumps. You will pass the finish line at the end of the flat section. It is right before the crossroads, only a couple of metres away from the start. Of course, go slowly and carefully until you get there.

This is the end of the race. You have just covered more than 29 kilometres. What was your time? Solid recreationists need an hour and ten minutes, average cyclists need an hour and a half to an hour and forty five minutes, while the time you are after is less than an hour. Have you managed to achieve such a time? No? You will probably have to train some more and make some more trips along the route... For others, who rather enjoy themselves than suffer and who don't care about their times, we have prepared a description of landmarks and other tourist offering along the route. For that you will have to take some more time.

Brezar Pit
In the forest along Cesta Andreja Bitenca Road, not far from Podutik, you can visit a monument at the Brezar Pit, the site of the most massive post-WWII extrajudicial execution in the Ljubljana area. More than a hundred members of the Slovenian and Croatian home guards, who were executed there in May 1945, are today buried in the Kucja Valley cemetery, some 130 meters southwest.

Katarina is a popular name for the wider surroundings of the village of Topol pri Medvodah. The name Topol has been used officially since 1955; before that the village was called Sv. Katarina nad Medvodami. The old name remained so firmly anchored in memory that it is still widely used today. The name originates from the Church of St. Catherine, which was mentioned for the first time in written sources in 1554. The name Topol also has a long history, as it was used in a military map from 1763. To the east from the village is the Church of St. Catherine, above which the characteristically sharp peak Rog rises, while Jeterbenk Hill with the remains of a former castle is not far away.

Knapovže is a place near the village of Trnovec, where miners working in a former lead, silver and mercury mine used to live. The mine is said to be operable already in the Roman times. The mining became very intensive between the 14th and 16th centuries, in the time of Protestantism. Up to 300 miners worked on the extraction of ore at the time. The mining later died out, only to be revived at the transition of the 18th into the 19th century. The mine was disused during the time of the Illyrian Provinces, but it was reopened later. The exploitation of ore lasted the entire 19th century with some interruptions, and continued into the 20th century, to be finally discontinued after the end of the Second World War. The mine was known for layers of massive galena (the richest lead ore), up to 60 centimetres thick, which used to be found in several metres thick lodes.

Goričane Manor
According to some sources, a castle stood on the nearby high ground above the present-day manor already in the 10th century, but it was first mentioned in documents only in 1178. The Counts of Sternberg, Ortenburg, Celje and Habsburg were among its more important owners. They gave it to the then newly-established Ljubljana Diocese. The castle was badly damaged in a disastrous earthquake in 1511, and it was burned down about a hundred years later as it was struck by lightning. It was not repaired thereafter, but a new manor was built down the hill, which has been preserved until the present time. The material from the demolished old castle was used in the construction, which took place between 1641 and 1644. The manor remained in ownership of the Ljubljana Archdiocese until the end of the Second World War, when it was nationalised. Before it was turned into the Museum of Non-European Cultures in 1962, it served as an apartment building. The museum was moved out in 2001, and the manor was returned to the Ljubljana Archdiocese as part of the denationalisation procedure. The Archdiocese has reconstructed it thoroughly.

Church of St. Jacob, Stanežiče
The Baroque Church of St. Jacob, with its architecture and interior equipment, represents a nice example of the Gorenjska school of Baroque architecture from the mid-18th century. The main features of the church are exterior decorated with statues and richly equipped altar, which is the work of Slovenian masters.

Stare Gunclje
It used to be an independent village, which was first mentioned in written sources in the 15th century, and today it is a part of the Municipality of Ljubljana. There are two interesting houses from the 16th century there - Krvin House (house No 37) and Rajšp House (house No 45), which are richly decorated.

Kačji log Inn, Podutiška cesta 225, Ljubljana
Type: inn, pizzeria. Gastronomic offer: home-made dishes, barbecue, fish dishes, international cuisine, pizzas from a wood-fired oven. Distinguishing features: accommodation, playground.

Pri Bitencu Inn, Toško Čelo
Type: inn. Gastronomic offer: home-made dishes, barbecue, snacks, Sunday lunches. Distinguishing features: a terrace with a view.

Na Vihri Inn, Topol pri Medvodah 10, Medvode
Type: inn. Gastronomic offer: home-made dishes, Slovenian cuisine, pork sausages, lunches. Distinguishing features: a large car park.

Pr Jur Inn, Topol pri Medvodah 14, Medvode
Type: inn. Gastronomic offer: home-made Slovenian dishes, game meat dishes, Sunday lunches.

Dobnikar Inn, Topol pri Medvodah 1, Medvode
Type: inn. Gastronomic offer: home-made Slovenian dishes, pork sausages.

Legastja Tourist Farm, Trnovec 9, Medvode
Type: tourist farm. Gastronomic offer: Slovenian cuisine, regional specialties, vegetarian food, a la carte dishes, desserts. Distinguishing features: a visit by bus is possible; it is known for dry-cured meat products and pork sausages.

It is possible that mining in Knapovže started already in the Roman times. In any case, the intensity of mining strongly increased in the time of Protestantism. When Protestants had to leave Carniola because of the Counter-Reformation, mining died out as well. This is what history says. The people's oral tradition tells a different story, however. Mining was allegedly discontinued because the pits were filled up with earth by a powerful storm, which was a consequence of the wrath of God. God was angry because the miners killed a poor shepherd by hanging him upside down and putting his head in an ant nest. Whatever the true story might be, the truth is that no reliable data about the mine's operation were available before 1716. New serious attempts at mining started only in 1797, when Jožef Žerovec, a former mining engineer from Idrija, tried his luck in the abandoned shafts. In 1804, the mine was inspected at his initiative by an expert commission, which established that the ore is of good quality, only that its exploitation is insufficient. Encouraged by this conclusion, Žerovec found a partner with whom he set up plants for sorting, pulverisation and smelting of ore. The mine's operation was however halted by the French occupation during the time of the Illyrian Provinces. Only in 1840, a former official of the Imperial and Royal Mining Commissariat, Mr Kavčič, examined the abandoned and flooded mine again and talked Austro-Hungarian Army captain Watzel into opening a joint stock mining company with an initial capital of 100 shares. The mining started in March 1841, but the effort was futile for the first two years because the digging was limited to the old mine shafts. The company ran out of money and was on the verge of bankruptcy. Around half of the shareholders sold their shares, while the remaining ones insisted that the company continue the mining. But there was no success. The desperate shareholders turned to Mr Lürzer, a renown prospector from Klagenfurt. He took a look at the mine and said that the ore should be looked for deeper and in the opposite direction. The mining continued, but the ore was not to be found. They were running out of hope and money quickly. Their fortunes reversed only in 1851, when a miner, who was digging by himself on the eve of St. Barbara's name day, saw under his pickaxe a glittering peace of galena, the ore richest with lead. He immediately left the pit to tell the good news to the attendant of the mine. The latter called three more miners, after which they together returned to the pit. When they were some 30-40 metres away from the site of the discovery, a loud bang was heard in the pit. This was the sound of a part of the ceiling collapsing, which was followed by water rushing into the shaft. The pit was flooding rapidly, but all the miners nevertheless managed to escape to the surface. Although the flooding stopped after some two hours, they did not dare to return into the pit on that day. On the following day (the name day of St. Barbara, the patron saint of miners) everything seemed to be fine, and the men gathered their courage and returned into the pit in the afternoon. They encountered the devastation left by the water immediately after they entered the shaft. It was filled up with more than 100 tonnes of rocks, mixed with ore and mine timber. A lot of hard work was needed to remove the debris. But it paid off, as an open, 80-centimetre thick lode of massive galena showed up behind the rubble. Its lead content was at 70-73%. The discovery was a turnaround in the mine's operation. The number of miners increased to 160, and the ore was dug in five shafts. New plants for separation, pulverisation and smelting were set up. Around 2,000 tonnes of lead was extracted in the following twenty years, but then the activity slowed down and the mine was closed in 1874. The mine was revived in 1913, when the owners again obtained their mining rights, but the capacity was very limited because of the First World War (1914–1918). The number of miners fell below 20. The mining continued after the end of the war. Works took place only in two shafts, where the mercury and silver ores were extracted in addition to lead ore. Since the stock was already rather exhausted, the search for new ore deposits begun in 1929. Research lasted for five years, but new stock of ore was not found. Despite this, the mine was operable until 1946, when it was finally closed.

At weekends, the road towards Toško Čelo is full of pedestrians, so be careful.
After heavy showers, the road between Toško Čelo and Topol pri Medvodah gets rather damaged, but it also gets repaired quickly every time.
There are usually many roller-skaters on the cycling track going under the motorway link of the Šentvid Tunnel, which is why extra caution is necessary.