Blog #0042 June 15-16, 2022 – Entering the Jeseniky Mountains and Bruntal

Day 46 & 47 of my cycling journey – June 15, 2022

I departed from Ostrava and had the lovely Jeseniky mountain range in my sights. Cycling 77 km on a bright, hot and sunny day was hard work, especially when the inclines had steep gradients. Hitting the first serious hills on my trip, I climbed 764 m altogether on that day. An exertion which was clearly recognized by my leg muscles and the desire to add a rest day to my time in lovely Bruntal.

I left my campground in the mining area of Ostrava. My next target was the city of Bruntal in the Jeseniky mountains and my base-camp for climbing (by bike) its highest and the fourth highest mountain of Czechia – the Praded. I knew that there would be a serious climb at the end of my cycling day, so I tried to save my legs for the last 20 km of the day. What was waiting for me was higher and steeper than anything this fellow from Finland has ever dealt with.  It started nicely in the outskirts of Ostrava until a few kilometres of relaxed cycling were suddenly interrupted by a steep climb of about a 100 m in an 800 m stretch of road. What a beginning. Sweating, because it was getting really hot, I reached the city of Opava, where I found just the right bench in the very beautiful city park. The bench was just opposite the carriage of an ice-cream vendor and while I had my lunch I observed all the little boys and girls and how their faces lit up when they saw the ice-cream carriage. It was a joy to see their sincere happiness when their dads or mothers agreed to buy them an ice-cream. They started to jump a bit and when they had their ice-cream in their little hands they were fully absorbed in the serious business of devouring it. It was such a lovely picture which repeated itself over and over that I had to partake in the scheme, and after I had eaten my lunch it was time for me to smile joyously and get excited, because my ice-cream was just prepared by the vendor. When it concerns ice-cream there is not much difference between the mental state of a four-year-old and me.

I could have sat in that park for the whole day, but I had to leave and tackle the last 20 km of my cycling day. Now it was getting really steep. For a stretch of 10 km I had to ascent 500 m. It doesn’t sound very much, but believe me, it was brutal. There were stretches when the gradient was only 2-3% but there were other stretches when I had to deal with 12-13% gradients. I huffed and puffed. In a little village where the volunteer fire brigade had a water fountain in front of the fire station, I almost dived into that fountain to get cooled down. I cursed at everything which caught my attention, and which inhibited my cycling – stones potholes and wooden debris on the road. Finally, I made it to the top and get immediately mollified. The view was stunning. That is the reason why I want to go up the mountains, why I have several passes in the Alps on my cycling agenda – the views. If you don’t get up the mountains, you will not have the spectacular views. It is as easy as that. The last kilometres to Bruntal were easy. Freewheeling down 200m in altitude let the wind cool me and my temper down and gave me the absolute feeling of freedom. The day, which had been filled with so much hardship ended in complete bliss.

The next day I had decided to rest in the hotel where I was checked in. There was a lot of office work to be done, amongst others my web-site experienced a crash and which I was not able to repair, yet. I made a short visit to the old city of Bruntal, which is lovely, and which is testament to the once economic importance of the mining in the area. I needed to rest my legs since tomorrow would be the hardest day on my trip, yet – climbing 1000 m to the top of the Praded, one of the highest and most beautiful mountains in Czechia. For that me and my legs needed every bit of rest we could get.

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