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2016

Spring critical mass (Prague, April)

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This time the event was more cozy. We did it on Saturday afternoon when traffic is lowest. There were merely several hundreds of participants and delay on crossroads ranged from 5 to 10 minutes. The weather brought in some fun: it started to rain shortly after we took off and ended just before the finish. But good cyclist is a rainproof one and quick to dry, so we didn't get deterred.

200 km brevet (Brno, April)

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Brevet (a.k.a. audax or randonnée) is something between a bike tour and a race: you get a predefined course with several checkpoints along the way and your goal is to visit them all within a time limit. Everyone to finish in time wins (regardless of the actual finishing order - the list is sorted alphabetically). Brnobent, a group of recumbent riders from Brno, has organized a series of experimental brevets before. Now they got a nod from Audax Club Parisien, so this year's opening double century was fully official.

The 200 km circuit started at half past seven in Brno. First part was a lowland warm-up to Dolní Věstonice where the first checkpoint was. Then we got some exercise in highlands around Hustopeče and reached second checkpoint in Újezd u Brna. Third check was at a petrol station near Střílky, after a beautiful and exhausting span of Ždánický les ridge. The course continued westwards to Viničné Šumice which I reached five minutes before the limit. After the last crazy uphill after Pozořice, there came a sweet reward: long descent to Svitava river and back to the start. Fortunately a fellow who knows the route perfectly rode in front of me, so we were blasting at full speed without getting lost and hit the finish line several minutes before the final limit of 13.5 h. Hooray!

A litre of water, a sandwich and several oaty bars proved to work just fine, more food and water can be bought at checkpoints. After 150 kilometres my engine started its favourite evergreen of aching Achilles' tendon, but it survived till the end. I have two things to improve for the next run: the navigation (to stop getting lost on every other crossroad) and the bike (to climb steep uphills by pedaling instead of pushing). See you next year!

Recumbent championship (Moravský Žižkov, May)

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Last year's championship went well, so we did it again. The event took place in and around Moravský Žižkov, base camp was at a local brewery's backyard. Friday was dominated by trikes: sprint on grass, slalom and drag on asphalt. There was an uphill race and a thirty-kilometre road circuit on Saturday. I missed a closed circuit of Hodonín a little, but had a good time even without it. The racers were sorted into groups based on vehicle type and rider's age and gender, so in the end almost everyone won some medal.

My journey to the event began with a Railjet ride to Brno and continued on pedal power. A map with the recent brevet course helped a lot - cycle paths of Brno are beautiful, but rather hard to find. My Mule got a new home on the way back; I'm going to build a new, better machine for next year's championship. And to win, of course :-).

K24 bike marathon (Újezd u Brna, June)

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This time I enjoyed the race from the organizers' ranks. It was nice - you don't need to cycle all the time and there's more time to sleep, talk and take pictures. I also did a few laps just for fun. First one about half hour after the start, playing broom wagon (fortunately nobody needed any help). Second one later in the afternoon in the opposite direction to make it less boring (due to strong wind in Rajhradice → Otmarov direction, it was much easier this way). And third one after midnight when my kitchen shift was over. Of course I was showing off among the tired racers and made my legs ache for the whole Saturday :-).

If everything goes according to plans, I'll try racing next year and maybe breaking my current record. If not, no problem - there are never enough volunteers for organization.

Velorex rally (Louny, July)

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A meeting of legendary motor trikes and their owners was based near the town's outdoor swimming pool. There was also a navigation race with funny tasks along the way. One of them was riding a rear-steered modified bicycle, where I played a "metrology officer" (aka the guy who brought a tape measure). After a test ride, I know why this geometry doesn't work :-).

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