So this started out as a kind of a joke that didn’t seem that serious at first. Vašek and I agreed that we would try the first JEROBOAM ride here in the Czech Republic, which is organized all over Europe by 3T bikes from Italy. As the days started to get closer to the start of the ride I started to realize that it wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought. The route look pretty good on a map but it was really hard to get a feel for it how it can be on a bike. Anyhow, we were determined to give it a go. What can possibly go wrong?
Start was early on Friday morning and we had to ride 300 km long route with 7000 m of elevation gain by Sunday. The route is given and whether we do it all at once or split it up is entirely up to us. The plan was to split it in half, but plans do change… and so it begins.
The night before the start a thunder storm with lots of rain came over right before the morning, which made the drumming of drops on the roof of the car where I slept not pleasant at all. Not exactly what I expected for a nice morning.
We started at exactly 8am. Hills were covered in mist and fog. Grass was wet form the rain and everything was just moist. As the temperature rose, the clouds gradually lifted from the treetops and stripped away the cloudy hills. It wasn’t long before the sun was beating down on our backs.
CLIMBS AND DESCENTS
The climbs progressively increased in intensity and with it the difficulty of some of the descents. Wet rocks and roots or strips of gravel and dirt washed up on the roads after the storm gave us all a hard time.
COFFEE AND CAKE
From the start, our group stuck together. I was pleasantly surprised that there was no one who wanted to race brake off the bunch. Riding was pretty good, and we were able to get to know each other more, talk and tell stories. So it became kind of social ride.
After more than 60 kilometers, everyone’s bidons are almost empty so searched for a nearest water refill. We found patisserie/coffee shop where did have coffee and cake and the owners were nice enough to refill our water bottles to the tops.
Coming up was a long flat stretch of asphalt road. On the one hand, this flat part ahead of us has the advantage of simply cutting quite a few kilometers off the route. But on the other hand, there’s a crosswind and that’s not easy to pedal in.
BACK IN THE HILLS
I have to admit that the flat asphalt stretch got me quite cooked and I think I was not alone. The wind was brutal and unrelenting. Good thing we’re back in the hills and forests where the wind can’t get to us. Plus a nice bonus in the form of a small well where spent a good 15 minutes recovering from the wind battle.
1/2 THERE (150 TO GO)
We are close to 150 kilometers, halfway through the route, where the first pit stop is. Food, water and all other goodies are waiting for us at the local gym in Vápenná. We could also spend night here if we wanted.
Our original plan with Vašek, was to sleep here in the gym and finish the remaining 150 kilometers the next day but we decided that the group would stay together and try to reach the 209th kilometer to Hynčice, where we would sleep and have fewer kilometers to cover the following day.
We took a long break, ate, checked our bikes, chains, recharged our phones and computers and restocked with goodies for upcoming climbs. We leave Vápenná before 18:00 and we have less than 60 km to go. Adam estimates that we will reach the second checkpoint around 22:00, by then it will be dark.
The sun drops lower to the horizon and darkness is rapidly approaching.
The last 15 kilometres, we are riding in almost complete darkness. Tired, thirsty and hungry.
THE 300 SPLIT
At the second checkpoint, our group breaks apart. David and Filip are feeling strong and have decided keep going. They going to try the do route in one go. The rest of the group goes to sleep and will continue in the morning. We say goodbye and wish the boys good luck.
The night wasn’t very good, I didn’t sleep well at all. I was rolling around and my legs were sore. At the same time, I couldn’t wait to go again in the morning, I was a bit excited. We hit the road a little after 8:00 in the morning. We check the radar and the rain before we left. It shouldn’t rain.
As soon as we crossed the second valley to Dolní Morava the downpour started out of nowhere. Weather forecast was lying to us. Soon we were too wet and frozen that we had to stop for hot soup to warm up a bit. We waited inside to dry. When the rain stopped we visited the guys at the third checkpoint to have some more hot tea and have a chat. Another check of the weather forecast–clouds are going away, finally. Mikhail leaves our group here at the checkpoint. He was too cold that he didn’t want to continue.
THE HOPE IS HIGH
Just like the first morning, the clouds are lifting from the forests and the temperature is rising. We’re slowly getting dryer. I’m starting to see smiles on our faces and it doesn’t look as miserable as it did two hours ago when we found ourselves in the rain totally soaked.
WE DID IT!
The rest of the route was quite fast. Sun was finally out, our energy was low but we driven forward by desire to get it done. We reach the finish line with a big smiles and a great joy that we all made it together, safe and sound. I never thought I would meet such a great group of people and ride 300 kilometers with them. Jeroboam is a great event and I’m so glad I took part in it. I did push my limits that I didn’t even know I had.
Thanks to everyone involved!
Filip, David and Mikhail are missing on the final photo but they were part of the group as well!
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