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Henri leaves the comfort zone

The Bohemian Border Bash Race 2021

It was once again so far. The 3rd edition of the Bohemia Border Bash was coming up!!! Ondrey from Chimpanzee did it again!

But what is the BBBR? The “Bohemia Border Bash Race” is a selection of Ondrey’s Gravel tours in Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic. Actually, the “Next Level Endgame” should take place individually in May, but due to the Corona requirements, the adventure was put on the week before the „ Bohemian Border Bash Camp“. And this decision I liked very much.

In addition to the usual routes of 80-300 km, there was now also an unsupported long-distance event. The facts: 1320 km total distance peppered with over 22000 altitude meters. All along the bohemian border. The tour led over bicycle lanes, trails, mountains, really steep mountains and incredible forests.

The preparation!

A preparation I had almost only in the form of determining the best setup. 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 saddle bag from Parsley Bags. On the bike was actually only the dropper post exchanged for a rigid post and the 2.4 trail tires exchanged for 2.25 cross country tires.

“Next-level training plan” – there was not. Just enjoy cycling as always. Short MTB rounds 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 far over 100 km I had this year not yet on the program. But on long distance you have time, was my philosophy. To get through in 7 days you have to ridee only about 190 km per day 🙂 ! At 6 days about 220 km per day.

The start!!

On Friday, arriving at the camp was kind of a familiar thing. Doing the registration, packing bars and other delicacies of Chimpanzee and testing the 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, but somehow that was very tightly calculated. Of course I was not on time at the starting line. Also, I had not expected that at a multi-day event is started on time. So I set of alone at 6.20 alone into the woods.

The first day….

My long-distance tactics were simple. About 200 km per day and in the darkness allow the body to regenerate. 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 at the beginning… but with two Kofolas the cheese filled my stomach well. Freshly refueled, the ride continued over the ridge of the “Erzgebirge” towards Klingenthal. A gas station to head to fill up some food supplies and on went the journey into the woods to find a place to spend the night. In a shelter I have then built my night camp and with a few licorice snacks was day 1 successfully rounded off.

255 km – 4650 am

Day 2:

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 it went but still quite well and with 225 km was even something more on the speedo than expected. In addition, I had a place to sleep that looked mega relaxed. A nice hut near Špičák including pizza for dinner should fill the batteries. But it should not be as I had imagined. First, three girls at the nearby parking lot thought they had to entertain the forest loudly. Secondly I was woken up half past two in the morning by another BBBR rider. The sorting of his stuff disturbed my sleep a bit. And thirdly, the traffic on the nearby road became heavier than expected from 4am onwards. Somewhat sleepy I got up shortly after 4 and got on my bike.

225 km – 4777 am

Day 3:

An “Early-Bird-Trail-Ride” made me awake  quickly after the somewhat short night. This was followed by a rather long uphill that turned dusk into 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 somehow my knees began to pinch and the first doubts arose.

With the help of Arnica ointment and globules the pinching was treated. The motivation was increased with ice cream, non-alcoholic bike beer and a shower at the Moldau reservoir. The road portion became more and more 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 underground, the temperature and my neighbor in the garbage can were the disturbing factors of my night’s rest.

265 km – 4250 am

Day 4:

Completely demoralized I have half asleep decided to book a hostel for the night after next. The goal today was Checkpoint 6 and I had the opportunity to sleep relaxed. Thus, the next two nights were secured. 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 and 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, my sleeping place was also secured in a bus stop. This sparse accommodation also brought for the first time a night without big disturbing moments.

265 km – 4000 am

Day 5:

“Early-Bird Uphill” – Yeah!!! Flat climbs are kind of cool. The first kilometers went really well this day. In addition, today’s stage to the hostel was under 200 km :-). But the tour had some real chunks on the plate towards the end. It got steeper and steeper and the climbs got longer. The crown got the last climb of this day – 5 km with an average gradient of 11% made the anticipation of the hostel huge. The descent to Vrchlabí was a relaxing finale. With some aggravated research I finally found the hostel. Shower, cheese and 5 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

Day 6:

An uphill party to the morning gets my engine running high. The legs ran, as the last few days also, quite pleasant. The knees were soaked in arnica, only the hands made themselves felt with numb fingertips. But 160 km is like a long marathon. Party mode! The route was now also with more trail share much more fun. So FUN FUN FUN mode on and just ride as fast as the legs give. The first day in race mode! I was transmitted from time to time the placements and thus I knew that I was well on the way. Of course, the fastest riders were already on the fifth day in the afternoon at the finish and I was on my last day in 6th place. The marathon engine ran well and I think I had really good speed on the track. Shortly before the finish I stopped at the consumption and filled The “Rvmble” supply bag with food to arrive in time for afternoon coffee at the camp. In the end I crossed the finish line in 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!