Malcolm and I left Anchorage on the afternoon of the 20th and arrived the evening of the 21st in Prague. We unpacked the bikes in the airport and headed into the heart of the city, following a GPX track that Nic had emailed to us. We eventually waded our way through the crowded streets to Lubamir’s house (a friend of a friend of a friend), where Nic had arranged for us to stay. Lubamir took us out for our first Czech beer before we crashed after a long day of traveling.
The next day we boarded a train headed to Leberic to meet up with Nic. Nic was waiting with pastries in hand. We dropped into town to grab some food and then headed into the mountains.
For the next 3 days, I got my ass handed to me trying to keep up with these guys.
I have been pretty stagnant for the last couple months. Biking maybe 20 miles a week and occasionally getting out on a hike, but generally a lot of time wasting with little physical activity. Starting out of Leberic, we were in the mountains almost immediately. Pedaling a 60 to 75 pound rig up and down the mountains was a rude awakening for my body. Those first 2 nights on the trail I rolled into camp completely destroyed. Since those first few days, I have felt my legs get stronger and even enjoyed a couple of the longer climbs.
Malcolm headed back to Alaska several days ago to go back to work and keep time open for future adventures. He was generous to take some extra gear I had brought along and did not need. Carrying extra, unusable weight just makes life harder. I had a bit of a hard time trying to figure out what to pack for a trip of unknown length to a place I have never been, so naturally i brought too much stuff. The trip has so far been a bit of an apprenticeship in bikepacking. I am learning where to pack gear on the bike, how to fit more food and beer on the bike, and how to keep grinding uphill when your legs are screaming.
Two nights night ago, we dropped out of the mountains and camped on the edge of a reservoir. It was nice to get in a quick swim before eating some sausages on the edge of the water.
Yesterday we pedaled mostly pavement through farm country to Opava. We decided to take a bit of a rest here and grabbed a $40 hotel room.
It is nice to get in a shower and wash my clothes with some hot water. Our hotel is attached to the local soccer stadium, you can walk out of our room, across the hall, and straight into the stadium. If only there was a game tonight.
Everyday so far has felt like two or three. We travel through such varied trails and terrain that it is hard to remember where we have gone. We are eating huge meals when we can and drinking plenty of beer to power our legs onward.
From Opava we will head generally east into the through Poland heading towards the corner of Poland, Ukraine, and Slovakia.
If you want some more eye candy and insightful writing head over to Nic’s site at https://gypsybytrade.wordpress.com/