Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Stage 3 coming right up!

Stage 3 of my cycling circumnavigation of the Czech Republic starts this coming Saturday. For the first two days I’ll be riding in the company of a very special guest - my great friend and partner-in-cycling Ryan. The two of us are veterans of several long-distance trips (Prague-Vienna-Bratislava, Prague-Munich, Prague-Berlin, Munich-Venice), and Ryan is now keen to get a taste of the Circuit Rider experience. Having cycled the first two stages alone I’ll be glad of his company.

Ryan (on the right) and I in Italy earlier this year

I was originally planning to do stage 3 on my road bike. However, Ryan only has a mountain bike and it doesn’t make sense for us to ride two completely different types of machine. Besides, I’ve since discovered some tempting off-road sections on the map, so it’s the MTB I’ll be loading up on Friday.

I've also changed the schedule. The original plan was to do this leg of the journey in three days. However, after ending both previous stages exhausted after a mad dash to catch the train back to Prague, I’ve decided to take it easier this time and spread the distance over four days. This should also allow more time to investigate places of interest along the way.

As on previous stages I’ll be blogging on the go from my mobile phone. This means you can track our progress by tuning into the blog periodically. For the most part we’ll be following the Ore Mountains Cycle Trail. The route is described in more detail here.

View Stage 3 in a larger map

The plan is to take the Saturday morning train up to Děčín (where I ended stage 2 in July). After exploring the town and grabbing some lunch we’ll head up into the Ore Mountains (Krušné hory). The first overnight stop will be in a small mountain resort called Mikulov. We’ll do a full day’s riding on Sunday then part company late in the afternoon; Ryan will coast down into Chomutov to get the evening train home while I will continue to Vejprty on the border with Germany. Over the following two days I’ll make my way southwest, stopping in Kraslice on Monday night and reaching the endpoint - Aš - on Tuesday afternoon. From there I’ll catch a slow train back to Prague.

And do you know what? The weather is set fair! Could this be the first rain-free stage of my trip?

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