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Third try. My new couch is ridable, but my knees are not very fond of it, so I'll leave it for next time. Going with the same bike twice would be boring, so I picked my old Stadion. Three gears are not enough for a course like this, I had to get off and push on most uphills and the only way to accelerate over 40 km/h on descents was to lay low over the handlebars. I saved time by minimizing pauses on checkpoints and only stopped every 20 km to snack and drink. Navigation also improved a bit, I remember most of the track and the rest was taken care of by cue sheet redrawn to one page and folded to pocket size.
The weather was rather cold (4..12 °C). Headwind was the same direction as last time, but luckily weaker and not blowing from the very morning. Due to the date shift from April to March and the previous frosty end of winter, none of the five participants had had much training, but in the end we all finished successfully. Recently bought warm cycling trousers combined with thick socks and knee sleeves worked very well, my worn Achilles tendons were fine until a few kilometres before finish (which means cold is the biggest enemy of tendons). Fortunately, the bike worked flawlessly as well: any repairs would have cost me exceeding the time limit.
My new 'bent is finally finished and tuned, has clocked about 800 km with a longest continuous trip of 85. Let's call it training and go for a race!
This marathon (and various other events) is organized by a group called Rozhoupej město (Rock the town). Racers ride back and forth on a road between Ústí nad Orlicí and Dlouhá Třebová, one lap is 9 km long, organizers count bikes and control traffic at the turning points. There are categories for single riders and relays of two or three, bikes and scooters. Of course, the event calls for a comparison with K24 (which was cancelled this year due to facilities being rebuilt). The track is slightly faster: better asphalt (only two bumpy spots), less hills (one is steep and short, the other is not worth mentioning), less wind, no railway crossings and always closer to the paddock. On the other hand, the U-turns slow you down, as well as buses and other vehicles which you have to share the road with (when there are almost continuous streams of bikes in both directions, there's not much passing space left). The event is generally smaller-scale, number of racers is limited to 50, organizers are few and you need to bring your own food. Start is on Saturday at 10 o'clock in the morning, lodging at the place is only possible during the race. Monotony of the short track is not a concern, traffic never stops giving you unique, unforgettable moments :-).
First lap was slow and easy until our bunch spread out a bit. Then I just tried to keep some indefinitely survivable speed and stop to stretch and snack every two or three laps. The weather was partially cloudy and not very hot. First 100 km went away quickly, after 150 my butt started to ache, after 200 whole legs joined it, after 270 I made a warm-up pause in a sleeping bag (the night was outright cold) and finished the last kilometres in the morning up to the total of 322. Objectively nothing special (the winner did much over 700, even most of the scooters beat me), but subjectively a big success: at last I've found a bike only muscles complain about, not tendons and joints! And muscles can be trained into not complaining. Other possible improvements are at food (hands-free Python was unbeatable at eating during ride), clothes (cycling trousers with warm membrane at the front are half useless in laidback position) and maybe seat shape and angle.
International laidback rally was held from Thursday to Sunday. We made several group rides around nearby places of interest and had unorganized fun the rest of the time. Builders were sharing experience, bikes were being test-ridden, foreign languages were being practiced, Azub brought a vanful of bike parts for sale, and more. There's no point in posting pictures of well-known historic buildings (Červená Lhota castle and towns of Tábor and Třeboň) or yet another dozen of 'bent peloton views, so I trimmed my photo harvest to just a few technically-oriented details and unusual sights. More descriptions are accessible by hovering your mouse over a picture or clicking the eye symbol, as usual.
Cargo bike meeting was summonned by Bajkazyl of Hradec Králové at the former port of Holešovice where Altenburg 1964, a multipurpose party ship, is anchored these days. Weather was nice, the rainy front moved southeast in the morning and stayed there the whole day. Several cargo-oriented races had been planned, but in the end, all we did was one obstacle course (I managed to navigate two obstacles out of seven with my 'bent) and then happily spent rest of the day chatting without any plan.
Michael Polák who recently finished the Sun Trip shared his photos and memories in the evening. 12000 kilometres from France to China on solar-powered bikes - whew. Some of the takeaways were even the sturdiest machine can fall apart under such extreme conditions, and the most important thing to pack is duct tape :-).
All in all, a pleasant event. It was nice to meet old and new friends, test-ride unusual bicycles and find inspiration.