If anyone suggests a 1600 km road trip to ride 150 km of gravel, there’s of course only one appropriate answer. Hell yes! Especially if that gravel adventure is organized by the Chimp of Chimpanzee Nutrition, Ondrej Veselý. Big-bearded, big-hearted, and big on anything that is off the beaten track.
Words by Lian van Leeuwen
Photos by Cory Benson, Jonas Klock and Hagbard Celine.
The first edition of Bohemian Border Bash was set up as a three-day event; of which, we got to enjoy only half. But boy was it worth it! We had two great nights and one, even better, day. We enjoyed on all the fat-induced road grub and infamous roadside toilet stops on our two-day return ride. (Actually, the drive itself already made up for that. As with cycling, it’s the people that make the party — thank you again Jon Woodroof, Sjors Mahler, and Josh Rea!)
Location of the event was the Bohemian-Sachsen National Park, stretching out over Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. If you ever wondered where fairytale creatures live; this is the place. Sandstone pinnacles rising up through dense pine forests, hills rolling on like money in The Wolf of Wall Street, and oh, those thigh-clenching but beautiful steep gravel sections through the woods!
In folklore and fantasy, the forest can feature either as a place of danger, or one of refuge or as a chance for adventure. Bohemian Border Bash offers up all three of those - although in this case the threatening danger mainly comes from consuming too much craft beer. While we missed the Allycat Treasure Hunt Ride on Friday, we did arrive in time for some of those local brews with old and new friends, and a homecooked meal by the campfire.
Saturday was all about the ‘Little Bash’ ride. A challenging 150 km loop that included much gravel, two ferry crossings and another welcoming home-cooked plate of pasta. Summer was still endless, tools stayed firmly in their seat rolls despite the many off-road sections. The final stretch of smooth tarmac finished off an amazingly beautiful day.
Saturday night took on a life of its own. As the temperatures dropped to a chilly level, sips of Czech pear liquor and a roast pig on a spit managed to fight off most of the cold. But the real highlight was the medieval fire act and the tree-high bonfire with the music of The Prodigy’s Firestarter. There are worse post-ride rituals…but not that night.
It’s safe to say Bohemian Border Bash found its own little niche in the steadily growing list of gravel events. For one: it’s not a race. It’s about emerging yourself in the enchantment of the beautiful location, the good crowd and the minor hangover that comes with it. Bring on the next Bash.
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