Words by Jan Švarbach. Photos courtesy of Bohemia Divide.
The second edition of Bohemia Divide, a bikepacking ultramarathon, started from Vyšší Brod on Sunday, September 22, 2019. Just as similar events having "divide" in their title, Bohemia Divide divides the Czech Republic - starting in the utmost southern point and finishing in the utmost north of the republic. The race was 720 km long with an elevation of 14,000 meters.
Seventy-eight contestants from seven countries (Czech Republic, Germany, France, USA, Great Britain, Hungary and New Zealand) lined up to start the Bohemia Divide. The route followed mostly paved roads, however there were some steep stony slopes where it was necessary to push or carry the bike. The organizers planned the route to take the racers to places that are interesting also from the view of a regular tourist or someone who wants to see the true beauty the Czech Republic. This year we took the contestants to castle Rožmberk, convent Zlatá Koruna, Kleť mountain, chateau Kratochvíle, Brdy, Křivoklátsko, industrial Kladno, magical Říp hill, Mácha lake, former air-field Hradčany, beautiful Ještěd, Lužické mountains, saxon spa towns Oybin and Jonsdorf and Šluknov area with the utmost northern point "Nordkap."
The event finished at the Kocour brewery in Varnsdorf, where 58 of the original 78 riders crossed the finish line.
The fastest contestant, Czech expat Martin Střelka now living in New Zealand, managed to cross the Czech land in unbelievable 2 days and 6 hours. The second racer across the finish was two-time winner of legendary 1000 Miles Race, Radek Musil. And the bronze position was claimed by Petr "Piškot" Novák.
Jitka Brunnerová won the female category in 3 days and 23 hours, followed by Katka Holá in second and Patricia Berhelier in the third place.
Credit and appreciation, nonetheless, belong to all contestants who set out on the bikepacking unsupported journey, finding their own individual enrichment and satisfaction.
Bohemia Divide is an event that closes the bikepacking season in Czech Republic. The organizers' stated goal was to prepare "a joyride without limits" that would please those who love traveling and at the same time emphasise a friendly atmosphere of similar events, where life-long friendships can emerge.
Bohemia Divide 2019 is over. Long live Bohemia Divide 2020.