Story by Henri Walter
Picture by Robert Krügel | @hagbardcel
Henri leaves his comfort zone | Lesen Sie es hier auf Deutsch.
The Bohemian Border Bash Race 2021
Once again, it is the time of the year. Ondrej from Chimpanzee Nutrition delivers the 3rd edition of the Bohemian Border Bash Camp.
But what is the BBBR? The "Bohemia Border Bash Race" is a selection of Ondrej's Gravel tours in Bohemian Switzerland and beyond in the Czech Republic. The "Next Level Game" should have started end of May, but the adventure was postponed a week before the "Bohemian Border Bash Camp "due to the Corona requirements. And this decision I liked very much.
In addition to the usual 80-300 km routes, there was also an unsupported long-distance event. The facts: 1320 km total distance peppered with over 22000 altitude meters. All along the Bohemian Border. The route led over bicycle ways, trails, mountains, really steep mountains, and incredible forests.
Not having time for proper training, I decided to focus on determining the best setup. Finally, in June, I had time to ride a weekend in the "Erzgebirge. "This was the only test to get a first feeling of the bike and packing system. It quickly became clear that some adjustments needed to be made to the setup, but the Pasta Party was going to be the bike of choice. My Purple Haze would probably have liked the tour, but with the Haze, I had this year just too few miles in the saddle.
For the right setup, however, I still needed a frame bag. Fortunately, I had support for this from Marie. So my equipment consisted of the Pasta Party with an Evoc Handlebar Bag, Marie's custom frame bag, and a saddlebag from Parsley Bags. Only the dropper post was exchanged for a rigid post, and the 2.4 trail tires were swapped for 2.25 cross country tires on the bike.
"Next-level training plan" – there was not. Just enjoy cycling as always. Short MTB tours with a lot of trails are rocking just the most. Also a few relaxed routes with 70-90 kilometers I could ride from time to time. But over 100 km ride? I did not have time so far. But during the long-distance race, you have time to get in shape, was my philosophy. So to finish in 7 days, you have to ride only about 190 km per day 🙂 ! Or 220 km per day if you want to finish in six days.
On Friday, arriving at the camp was kind of a familiar thing. Registering, packing bars and other delicacies from Chimpanzee Nutrition, and drinking Czech beer. The beer tasted so good that evening that there were a few more: the campfire and relaxed conversation made for a short night. Although I was well prepared and got up shortly before half-past five, somehow that was very tightly calculated. Of course, I was not on time at the starting line. Also, I had not expected that a multi-day event would start on time. So I set off alone at 6.20, alone into the woods.
The first day
My long-distance tactics were simple. Ride about 200 km per day and regenerate in the darkness. A little bit battered from the evening before and with some stomach problems, the journey started. Food intake was rather unpleasant so that I arrived after 200 km completely exhausted in a restaurant in Bozi Dar. The Smažený Sýr was a bit difficult initially, but I washed it down with two Kofolas and, my full tummy felt nice. Freshly refueled, the ride continued over the ridge of the "Erzgebirge" towards Klingenthal. I headed for a gas station to fill up on some food supplies, and on I went into the woods to find a place to spend the night. I have then built my night camp in a shelter, and with a few licorice snacks, day one successfully rounded off.
255 km – 4650 am
Pack up, get dressed, and off we go for the second day along the Bavarian border. "Rollercoaster stage" describes this day best. Again and again, it went steeply downhill and steeply uphill! The gradients and the luggage made some ramps even with MTB gears no longer rideable. Somehow my day went quite well. I was happy with 225 km. I covered a longer distance than I expected. In addition, I had a place to sleep that looked mega relaxed. I found a nice hut near Špičák, including pizza for dinner. That should fill the batteries. However, the night did not go as I imagined. First, three girls at the nearby parking lot thought they had to entertain the whole forest. Second, I was woken up for the second time, half-past two in the morning, by another BBBR rider. His rummaging through his stuff disturbed my sleep a bit. And thirdly, the traffic on the nearby road became heavier than expected from 4 am onwards. Somewhat sleepy, I got up shortly after four and got on my bike.
225 km – 4777 am
An "Early-Bird-Trail-Ride" made me wake up quickly after a somewhat short night's sleep. This was followed by a rather long uphill that turned dusk into the day. After about 40 kilometers, I reached the Šumava National Park and could greet the sunrise with fresh morning air. So a day three can start. But my knees began to pinch, and the first doubts crept in.
With the help of Arnica ointment and globules, the pinching subsided. My motivation went up with ice cream, non-alcoholic bike beer, and a shower at the Moldau reservoir. After that, there was more of a nice road, and the kilometers flew away. At the end of the day, I was already at Checkpoint 5 at the northernmost point of Austria! But my shelter was again a bit poor. This time, the ground, the temperature, and my neighbor in the garbage can were the disturbing factors of my night's rest.
265 km – 4250 am
Wholly demoralised, I have half-asleep decided to book a hostel for the night after next. The goal today was Checkpoint 6, where I had the opportunity to sleep indoors. So, as usual, off on the bike, and let's go! A tough day was ahead. The checkpoint was 215 km away, and the route was not very demanding. Boredom was inevitable, and music was the only entertainment. But just before checkpoint 6, there was finally some fun fun fun. A nice trail and the forest gave me wings, so I arrived sooner than expected at Checkpoint 6. After a shower and some small talk, I left the safe place to sleep and decided to ride into the twilight. I would find a place to sleep on the next 20 km climb somewhere on the mountain. A short stop at a gas station gave me even a pleasant supper. After the first 5 km of easy uphill, I found the perfect camping spot at a bus stop shelter—this sparse accommodation produced for the first time a night without big disturbing moments.
265 km – 4000 am
"Early-Bird Uphill" – Yeah!!! Flat climbs are kind of cool. The first kilometers went well this day. In addition, today's stage to the hostel was under 200 km :-). But the tour had some real s*** coming towards the end. It got steeper and steeper, and the climbs got longer. The ridge was the last climb of this day – 5 km with an average gradient of 11% made the anticipation of the hostel huge. The descent to town Vrchlabí was a relaxing finale. After some complicated search, I finally found the hostel. Shower, cheese, and five non-alcoholic beers completely rounded out the evening. Somehow I am ahead of schedule. The destination was only 160 km away!!! So quickly fall asleep and look forward to the probably last stage!
177 km – 4530 am
"An uphill party" into the morning gets my engine running high. The legs spin with ease. I soaked my knees in arnica; only my hands bothered me with numb fingertips. But hey! 160 km is like a long marathon. Party mode! The route was now with more trail to tarmac ratio. So FUN FUN FUN mode on and just ride as fast as the legs allow. The first day in race mode! The fastest riders finished already but, I was doing well, being in the sixth position. And this was my last day. My marathon engine ran well, and I think I had really good speed. Shortly before the finish, I stopped at a store and filled The "Rumble" supply bag with food to arrive in time for afternoon coffee at the camp. In the end, I crossed the finish line in the fifth position! What a great result! Completely happy with the first good coffee from the mocha pot and a shower, the relaxed camp weekend can start. Campvibes begin noowwww.
165 km – 3300 am
Thank you to everyone who supported me at this event!!! It was something very special!