Today was harder than it was meant to be. A lot harder. The plan was that with the day ahead being relatively flat compared to the first 3 days we were going to make good time heading south and take a good chunk out of the total distance we needed to cover.
We had forgotten about the wind which blew with increasing strength throughout the day from the South East as we headed predominantly south east. Huh huh.
From the 20km point onwards we were riding across exposed open fields that offered no respite from the wind, and the terrain whilst never climbing to great heights nonetheless was frustratingly undulating.
Cycling slowly up a hill carting yourself and two panniers is tough. Cycling slowly up a hill into a fierce headwind is doubly tough.
Today was special in many ways but also because we endured two “firsts” . The longest straightest piece of road / track since we first hopped on our bikes in Prague and also the longest continuous climb up a hill. The latter into a headwind naturally.
Leaving Primetrice was a joy. Our overnight accommodation was Hotel N which personally I think is a great name for a hotel.
The 5 km ride from Primetice to Znjomo was a breeze. Downhill and downwind. Being May 1, and a public holiday, traffic was light.
After a brief stop for medicinal supplies to ease Tim’s discomfort we then headed into the heart of the wine country of southern Bohemia known as Moravia. Gareth.W had built up a Napa Valley like image of this particular part of the ride and even he, like us, was a little underwhelmed by what eventuated.
Open on a bank holiday Monday and the duty pharmacist spoke perfect English. Of course she did. Helpful too in suggesting a remedy to help lighten Tims concerns.
The area south of Primetice was wine country and if it wasn’t given over to vineyards then the massive fields were been ploughed in readiness for summer crops. The air often rich with the acrid smell of fertiliser.
By 25km we were gagging for a coffee but we were repeatedly disappointed by shuttered cafes whose owners were undoubtedly taking this public holiday a little too seriously.
One of the standout features of this ride has been the massive chalets owned by the landed Gentry. This beauty in Jaroslavice was no exception.
Now, I have come across a wide variety of road kill in my life. Wombats, kangaroos, possums, deer, elk, moose, rabbit, hares, cats, dogs, foxes, birds, snakes, toads, badgers, and even an echidna. However never in my travels have I come across a large fish, that looked recently deceased, lying motionless in the middle of a road. Riddle me that one Batman.
Still on the Greenways Route we were still part of the network heading from Prague to Vienna.
On the previous days ride we’d seen these signs. A bike riding route (Iron Curtain Trail) that basically stretches 10,000 km across Europe. I don’t even need to think about the response I would get from wifey if I suggested I might think about riding it’s entirety. That town we saw yesterday, “Dvorce” would definitely come into play me thinks.
There’s several ways to get around Moravia. Not that I could ever see myself on a trike but I do have to admit they wouldn’t struggle with the headwind in the same way we did. They also look a lot more comfortable than an over laden heavy TREK bike.
I love a Sydney Harbour Bridge impersonator. Always time for a selfie when I see one.
The vineyards of Moravia weren’t as impressive as we hoped for nor as numerous. They also didn’t offer any protection from a wind that was getting stronger by the hour and was frustratingly blowing from exactly where we were headed.
Did I mention the wide open spaces and minimal protection from the wind? At least at this point we were on a designated cycle path. Which is always a good thing.
Mikulov Castle. Massive. Read more about it here ….https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikulov_Castle
We stopped in Mikulov for lunch. Took us over an hour and 4 km of extra cycling around the town to decide on eating lunch from a street food vendor. Tim and I had noodles with chicken and Gareth his 9th consecutive meal of fried cheese. The Czech Republic is not user friendly if you’re a vegetarian. Impossible if you’re a Vegan.
The Enormity of Mikulov Castle is best appreciated from a distance. This was from 5km away.
On the outskirts of Mikulov we came very close to the border with Austria. Here was a very ornamental and emotional memorial and list of names of those who died at this junction trying to cross from the Czech Republic into Austria.
Leaving Mikulov the wind only got stronger and at one stage we left the designated cycle path that was heavily populated with weekender cyclists and struck out across a shoddy track. A shoddy, pot holed track that was not only up a hill. It was also straight into the teeth of the wind.
Uphill, shoddy pot holed track. Add wind.
After summiting a particularly long hill we freewheeled into Valtice where in the heat of the day there was a wine and chocolate festival ongoing. With 85 km done on the day and “only“ another 25km to go we indulged in a glass of wine.
We had forgotten about the wind.
The final 30 km of the day took us over 2 hours. The terrain was undulating, the wind relentless, and after we crossed into Austria the cars seemed to be bigger and go faster than their neighbours in the Czech Republic. It took what seemed like forever to get it Zistersdorf.
But get there we did and in the process moved across an international border.
3 gents and a border crossing .
45 meters down the road another border crossing sign.
Town centre of Zistersdorf. The final 300 meters to the hotel were up a steep hill. Naturally.
When you’ve cycled 112 km the menu is your friend and all options are open.
That first beer didn’t touch the sides.