Race 1000 Miles Adventure, day #1 – How it all started
1000 Miles Adventure is a 1600 kilometres long race for bikes, feet or kickbikes through Slovak and Czech mountains. Everyone is on their own – you have to carry your own food and drinks, find a place to rest and sleep. Racers have to follow a GPS path and have to hand all tracked data to the organisers at the end of the race, so they can check that they didn’t cheat. And this is my story of how I struggled on the road and faced a lot of challenges and dangers.
It is weird how fast the time can be. I registered for 1000 Miles Adventure on the first of January, paid big money for the starting fee and suddenly I was finishing my last preparations. Yes, it was half a year, but the passage of time can be tricky. I bought a bike at the end of April and I had to learn how to use it really fast. Disc brakes, hydraulics or suspension fork were as close to me as pizza to conservative aborigines.
My desperate efforts to take care of my bike were more ridiculous than they were helpful. But I did make some progress. On the 17th of May I have biked more than a 100 kilometres for the first time in my life. It was on a nice road without any rough terrain. A lot of work was still ahead of me.
When I biked 250 kilometres in two days for the first time, I wasn’t able to sit on the bike again for several days. It was one month before the start of the race and I was in big trouble.
The last moment, the best moment
I started buying bike equipment and clothes like the desperate man I was. Literally in the last minute. For example, I tried the shoes I used during the race twice and didn’t try my light jacket even once. Let’s just say that I did everything in the way it shouldn’t have been done. I’d rather not tell you about how I bought something on the day I was leaving.
I had to prepare the bike first and make sure that it isn’t going to get damaged during transport. I didn’t have any emotional connection to this bike so I basically didn’t care. I just used a little bit of bubble wrap and threw my bike onto the overloaded train.
The loading of bikes was in the afternoon and us, cyclists, got on the train at night. A long journey was ahead of us. People were drinking in coupés and discussing how they upgraded their bikes. I could only say how I bought it…
A group of germans got bamboozled so hard that we had doubts if they will manage it to the start of the race. They needed to get a lot of calm sleep. I can say I did. Not because I drank a lot, but because the bed in the sleeping car was very comfortable and I slept til late morning. It was for the last time, because during the race, there will be no time for such a thing as nice sleep.
The start of 1000 Miles Adventure is closing
All of us were late for start, because we took Czech Railways and they are always late. It’s some kind of a national thing. And because 80% of racers took that train, the start of the race was delayed by one hour. We had plenty of time to unpack our bikes, load equipment on them and register ourselves. We got an indispensable part of equipment – a bell – against bears. They made a photo of us so they can identify our dead bodies later…
We were getting instructions shortly before the race – you are racing on your own responsibility … blah blah blah … be afraid of bears, gipsies and woodsmen … blah blah blah … be careful … blah blah blah … no, the safety was really important. No one wanted dead bodies on the track.
Racers were prepared on start, they listened to some epic music for a bit, then BANG and we could get on track. First, we had to cross a very narrow bridge where only one racer can get through. I almost fell into a brook there, but I managed it somehow. It would be a shame…
I was biking. It was a nice road, down from a hill, no need to use legs … I couldn’t appreciate it at that time. Everything changed after about 15 kilometres. The downhill turned to steep uphill and first racers started to push their bikes. I fought with the hill bravely. Then came the rocky downhill. It was really hard for me because I never trained on such rough terrain. Many of the racers overtook me and I could only see the dust from their bikes. I used my brakes all the time, but I wasn’t falling from my bike.
Suddenly, I realised that my navigation no longer records the track. It is crucial for the race because I somehow have to prove that I stayed on the track. I tried to change the batteries but I wasn’t even able to turn on the device, which was as reliable as Windows Vista. I swore. I swore a lot. I tried another set of batteries. More swearing. So, I was sitting on that bench in front of a church and I was telling myself that this is it. This is the end of it all. Then it hit me. I used batteries with reversed polarity. I was able to get back on track very soon. These confusions are just typical for me.
And then the night came
I entered the woods at the end of the evening. I had to use my headlight and I hoped that there is a minimal amount of bears. I was alone most of the time and it was pretty scary. Just a few times I saw some strong lights as some other bikers overtook me. I envied them because they saw very well what’s on the track. My light was very weak and I could see only a few meters ahead of me. But there was one advantage – I could bike a little faster because I didn’t see how bad the terrain was.
I left the woods at about nine o’clock and went back to civilisation. I slept on grass in Trnava pri Laborci. I was scared that someone would rob me or pour gasoline over me and set me on fire. I hoped that I will forget these feelings.
I was falling asleep with a thought that finishing 1000 Miles Adventure wouldn’t be so hard. I was wrong.
- Race 1000 Miles Adventure, day #1 – How it all started
- Race 1000 Miles Adventure, day #2 – How I was afraid to go through the tunnel
- Race 1000 Miles Adventure, day #3 – How I was going to use pepper spray for the first time
- Race 1000 Miles Adventure, day #4 – How I biked through the territory of cows and shits
- Race 1000 Miles Adventure, day #5 – How I was constantly challenging myself
- Race 1000 Miles Adventure, day #6 – How I threw my bike to a scarp
- Race 1000 Miles Adventure, day #7 – How I escaped from Slovakia
- Race 1000 Miles Adventure, day #8 – How I coudn’t trust my GPS
- Race 1000 Miles Adventure, day #9 – How I made it to the half