My next Bikepacking adventure: A trip around Bohemia

Mein nächstes Bikepacking-Abenteuer: Einmal rund um Böhmen // My next Bikepacking Adventure: Round Bohemia

Note:

Unfortunately I got Corona and therefore I can not participate in the BBBR.

In a few days the time has come: On Friday, May 28th the Bohemian Border Bash Race starts and I’m taking part.

The Bohemian Border Bash Race is – if you believe the pictures and reports from last year – a beautiful route along the old borders of Bohemia, in the core once around Prague. A total of 1,300 km and around 22-24,000 meters of altitude must be climbed. In total, you have until June 4 (8 days) to get back to the finish in Bohemian Switzerland.

The route of the BBBR on Komoot

Start and finish is the Bohemian Border Bash Camp at the border to Germany, which some of you might know from the “normal” Bash, a bikepackers event, which takes place in autumn.

The route always crosses the borders between the Czech Republic and Germany, Austria and Poland. And if you take a look at the route profile, you will quickly see how much up and down it goes.

 

Preparation

Only a few weeks after the Silk Road Mountain Race I signed up for this race. But this time as a solo rider, because after my rides together with Tobias at the Atlas and Silkroad Mountain Race I want to see what I can do alone.

Since October last year, I’ve been back in structured training for this race (much to the delight of my family 🙂 ) and have been rebuilding my fitness and endurance after the recovery period from Kyrgyzstan. My goal was to have 5,000km and over 25,000 HM “on the clock” by the race this year. That’s coming along and I feel pretty fit.

Winter Miles – Summer Smiles

You might know this saying, which in essence expresses that training in winter definitely pays off in summer. Even though the course will probably not be as technical as at the Atlas Mountain Race and as exhausting as in Kyrgyzstan, this time I focused on mountain bike races during training. I have done the Cape Epic MTB training on Zwift twice and have noticed a corresponding increase in strength and endurance when riding outside. What it really brings, I will then see in Bohemia.

If I take the Atlas Mountain Race as a basis for comparison, which is quite comparable to the BBBR in terms of pure data with 1,350 km and 25,000 HM, I am very optimistic. At that time Tobias and I needed 6 days and 18 hours for the route in Morocco. And I was only half as well trained as I am today. And even less experienced when it comes to Endurance Bikepacking Races.

About 24.000 HM – The altitude profile of the BBB Race 2022

Of course, I am also excited and curious about what awaits me there and how I will do. The sporty aspect of this tour is not to be underestimated, nor the many crispy climbs and whether the weather plays along. But therein lies also the attraction in the whole. In any case, I have some respect, because last year the scratch rate was probably around 50%. But that is normal for races of this kind and rather low. Nevertheless: Never underestimate, just because you have come through well so far.

 

The route

Of course there is a roadbook again. This time I did it myself, I learned from the best! (Thanks Tobias!). The BBB Race has a total of 11 checkpoints, which will be visited on the way. The majority are unmanned and just consist of a stamp that goes into the BBBR passport.

 

Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an

 

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Bohemian Border Bash Race (@bbb_race)


I think this is a nice idea, it shows how easy it is to travel without borders these days. I spent a lot of vacations in Bohemia and the neighboring regions during the GDR times and I still know how it was with the borders. All the more I am now looking forward to experiencing these areas anew.

While building the roadbook, I also noticed how much it goes up and down. Many thousands of meters of altitude come together in one day. I have about a daily distance as a goal in mind, but first I want to see how it is on the ground and whether I can keep or exceed that. And that’s what I base my sleep on. Just so much: I don’t plan to take the whole 8 days.

With me again: A roadbook

In any case, it will be a scenically beautiful round and I plan to enjoy it despite the race and time pressure.

Riders & Tracking

Since a few days the list of participants is published. A total of 73 riders from 12 nations will compete. 59 of them as solo and 7 pairs. And what I’m especially happy about – even if it’s still far too few: 10 women are also participating! Among them Jenny Tough, whom I already met in Morocco and in Kyrgyzstan. I really hope that these 10 will be multipliers and that next year even more women will start and discover this great sport for themselves.

And who wants to follow me: My cap number is 64 (magic number: number of chess squares and 64 triplets form the genetic code! 111!!!eleven!!!111) and there is live tracking again:

Live Tracking on Follow My Challenge (click).

 

My bike for Bohemia

My Salsa Fargo for the BBBR

At the core, I didn’t change much compared to the setup on the Silk Road Mountain Race. However, I did change from 1×11 to 1×12 and from mechanical to electronic for the gearing. I now run a SRAM Eagle GX AXS with 32 in the front and 10-52 in the rear.

SRAM Eagle GX AXS with 10-52

Shifted with the SRAM GX MTB Pushbutton on the handlebars, because my Force brake / shift grips could not be delivered so far. Therefore, I rely as also in Kyrgyzstan on my semi-hydraulic TRP HY RD brake, which, however, got new Hope brake discs. Speaking of Hope: also my crank is now a Hope with oval chainring.

MTB button on the drop bar

Note: I got some Ergon, MET and Tubolito products from RTI Sports, which I ride in Bohemia. I think that’s great, but is therefore also advertising.

Also new is the saddle: I sit this year on the Ergon SR Allroad Core Comp Men. Actually, I also wanted to use the Ergon carbon suspension seatpost, but then I decided against it, because the bikepacking approval from Ergon is not given and I do not want to take any risks. Therefore, I ride the seatpost on the Bombtrack training bike.

The Ergon Allroad saddle

Also my handlebar tape has changed: In Bohemia I will use it as a test the Ergon BT Orthocell Pads here as additional damping and then above it the Ergon handlebar tape BT Gravel with a thickness of 3.5mm. So I should then have sufficient damping on the jerky passages on the handlebars. I like that the new handlebar tape is non-slip, which is quite good in view of sweat and perhaps rain.

Thick and non-slip

My helmet is also new: I try out the MET Allroad Mips, which is nice and light, has good ventilation and still has an integrated rear light at the back. This is not really relevant for the race, but especially when riding in twilight and darkness I am grateful for any attention. I just remember Max Riese, who was hit by a car on the BBBR last year. Fortunately he was not seriously injured.

Winning Team: DT-Swiss HX491 with Vittoria Mezcal

The wheels have not changed either: Still and well proven, I ride with DT-Swiss HX491 rims and new Vittoria Mezcal 2.25 inch tires. Of course Tubeless. As an emergency reserve I have then two Tubolito with me.

 

Equipment

This time is of course less luggage and I came including food on the 8kg total weight.

Handlebar Roll/Harness

In the front I use again the Revelate Designs Pronghorn Harness with the UL pack sack from Stratex. It’s basically my bedroom in there.

As a sleeping bag, I’m again using the Cumulus Xlite-400 in a custom fabrication. I had considered taking my 22 year old Yeti Pocket, but the nights may get cooler and I am more physically stressed, so a warmer sleeping bag is better.

Handlebar harness and additional bag

In the handlebar roll are the following things:

– Sleeping bag Cumulus Xlite-400
– TAR Neoair Xlite sleeping pad
– Merino pants long
– Merino long sleeve shirt
– Cap
– Rain pants Gore C3
– Merino socks
– Washing kit
– Towel

Weight (incl. harness and pack sack): 2,400g

As in Kyrgyzstan, the Revelate Design Egress additional bag is attached to the harness. Here is then the following in it:

– Documents
– money
– arm warmers
– food
– Gloves
– Overgloves rain Decathlon
– Sunscreen
– mask
– Neckerchief
– Chapstick
– Sunglasses
– Headphones
– Disinfectant gel
– Replacement Garmin 530
– Effervescent tablets
– Micropur tablets

The weight is around 750g.

The Stem-Bag on the handlebar

On the handlebars I also have a stem bag, also from Revelate Designs. This is mainly for food and mineral tablets.

The weight of this bag (including food and a bag of wine gums) is 550g.

 

Frame bag

After its baptism of fire in Kyrgyzstan, the Ripio frame bag from Revelate Designs has proven itself to me.

Ripio Full-Frame

As a full-frame bag, it gives me enough room for all the odds and ends I want to have access to while riding:

– Tool
– Derailleur hanger
– Tubeless milk
– Lock
– Small backpack
– 2x spare tube Tubolito
– Chain oil + rag
– Rain Jacket
– Pedaled Alpha jacket
– leg warmers
– 4x gel
– 4x bar
– electrolytes
– food
– knife, fork, spoon
– Power battery 20.000 mAh
– charging cable, charging head
– SRAM spare battery + charger
– multitool
– bug spray
– Zinc cream
– toilet paper
– spare spokes

Total weight including first food load is 3,650g.

 

Saddle Bag

New on board is the Restrap Race Saddle Bag. This is in essence a harness with 7l pack sack. From the handling, weight and size just right for the race now. This is fixed and braced by straps on the saddle frame. Loaded it holds very well and does not wobble.

The Restrap Harness on the saddle

This is where my tent is in primarily. I have long thought back and forth, whether I should go with bivy sack or tent. Currently, the tent is my favorite, also because it protects me especially from the mosquitoes better and I just want to have a quiet sleep when I sleep then times.

This time, however, the Vango F10 Helium UL tent comes along that is still a bit lighter than the Big Agnes Copper Spur and better meets my requirements for packing volume and weight.

Here I have the following things inside:

– Pharmacy
– Tent Vango F10 Helium UL 1
– Tyvek underlay
– Gaiters

Total weight is 1,550g (including Harness).

 

Cockpit bag

On the top tube I again ride the Salsa EXP Toptube bag.

Cockpit Bag

Here is mainly the Klite USB charger in it and the cables for rear and front light. In addition, I have tissues, mask, bars and my Petzl Swift FL headlamp in here, which additionally illuminates my way at night.

The total weight is about 350g.

In total I have a luggage weight of 9,200g, which is ok including food. In addition, there are three 0.9l bottles of water on the bike. Without food I have about 8kg luggage.

A total of 3 bottles still come along

The bike weighs 12kg including air pump and aerobar, Klite light and bottle cage.
All together around the 22-24kg. I think that’s good.

But you know that: I’ll probably change some things, throw things out again, repack. Let’s see how it looks then final…

 

It can go off…

However, the weight is only one element on such an undertaking. On the road, that is actually not so much of a factor. Rather, it is the head, which then increasingly decides. And of course the endurance and the willingness to suffer.

Ready to go!

In any case, I am ready and full of anticipation! The weather looks good, too. Let’s go!

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