"What Is Hard To Endure Is Sweet To Remember."

There's a house in Roztoky, near the train station, that must belong to a sculptor. There's this statue outside, and a big weird bird perched on the roof (below).

"What is hard to endure is sweet to remember."
-- Anonymous

I have finally passed a milestone of sorts, at least in my humble cycling life in 2008.

Rob and I went out last weekend for a ride, and I surpassed 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) cycled so far in 2008. That's cool, I guess, but I'm almost a month behind my schedule of last year. I think I hit 1,000 kilometers somewhere around the third week of June in 2008.

I'm cycling as much as I can. I guess work and life at home is just a bit busier than it was last year.

I suppose my goal should be to have as much fun as I can, and give up on any attempts to measure my cycling success in kilometers. Quality, not quantity.

And I can certainly say I'm having a blast out there.

My ride with Rob was no exception.

I started the ride by picking up my GT Avalance 2.0 up from my bike shop, Cykloservis "U Tyrše" at Jaselska 29, near Hradcanska metro. I needed a new chain, a new sprocket, and new brake pads. I also had new tires put on. My previous tires, which came with the bike, were about as fat as they come, and really were too much for the kind of riding I usually do -- a 50-50 mixture of dirt trails and paved road.

It felt like the tires were covered in chewing gum when I'd ride on the roads, so I finally decided to get them changed, while my bike was in the shop.

My bike felt like a million bucks when I got on her, and it was so much easier to ride. Although my thinner tires did feel a bit more vulnerable going over curbs and rocks.

I met Rob at his flat in Prague 6, and we set off. We decided to set off for the village of Klecany, on the east side of the Vltava River, north of the Prague Zoo. Rob wanted to take me up a challenging hill that leads up and out of the town.

We crossed the river in Stromovka Park, near the zoo, and headed north -- first along the beautiful, newly paved bike path that hugs the river, which sadly mutates into a rocky path that resembles a Roman road that's pretty unpleasant to cycle on. that eventually gives way to a road that leads into Klecany.

The rough Roman road along the east bank of the Vltava, near Klecany.

The Klecany climb in question leads directly up from the river, and boy, it's a killer. It's a paved road, with few cars, but with lots of attitude, and just as much altitude.

From bottom all the way to the summit, it's almost 1.5 miles, or around 2.5 kilometers long, based on the readings from my Garmin Edge 305 GPS device, which recorded my journey:

View Larger Map

I never stopped to rest, but it was all I could do to get to the top. I was whipped.

I get no pleasure from these types of climbs, although I suppose it does a body good. It's like Dorothy Parker said about writing: "I hate writing, but I love having written."

I thought I knew this hill when Rob told me about it, but it turns out the hill I thought he was talking about is in Husinec, a village a few more kilometers north down the river. I'd ridden down it on my way back from Kokořín in early May, on our big bike trip. I remembered it as very steep, and very long, and full of hairpin turns.

Of course, Rob wanted to check it out.

From the top of the Klecany hill, we cycled through the countryside until I found the road that led down into Husinec and to the river. It was just as I remembered it going down, but going up, it turned out to be a piece of cake, surprisingly, at least compared with Klecany Hill.

We cycled up with no problems at all.

I needed to get back home in short order, so we rode back down the hill, and cycled along the river back to Klecany, where we enjoyed our first beer of the day at a little pub at the Klecany ferry stop. We sipped our beers, and then took the 15 CZK ferry across to the west side of the river.

Rob and I enjoy a half-liter at an outdoor pub in Klecany.

We cycled to Roztoky, to my new favorite pub, Hospůdka Zvířátka (Little Animal), where we had another beer, a creamy glass of Černá Hora, and a plate of smoked ham and mustard. I also picked up a new yellow-and-black Černá Hora cycling jersey that I'd ordered a few weeks before. Extremely cool.

My cool new Cerna Hora cycling jersey.

Then Rob and I made our way through forest paths to Únětice and then to Černý Vůl, where I live.

I like to think of myself as a good host, so I invited him in for a beer, and we sat outside and talked.

And then we had another.

Length of ride: 40 kilometers
Average speed: 16.8 kph
Maximum speed: 47.4 kph
Pivo Index: 4
Time on the bike: 2.18.50
Distance ridden so far in 2008: 1,032 kilometers

A very nice house above Husinec. I wonder who could live here?

The funky little ferry at Klecany.

Smoked ham, mustard, a pickle and a few slices of brown bread at Zviratka in Roztoky. I'm pretty sure this is what the Tour de France riders eat before each stage.


James Gogarty said…
Grant, the house in Roztoky with the sculptures does indeed belong to a sculptor. I can not recall his name at the moment but I will find out and update ya. The 'weird bird' on the roof is a kos, or common blackbird. They can be found all over Roztoky in the spring and summer running bent forward, as the sculpture depicts, from bush to bush only flying when absolutely necessary. It also happens to be on the Roztoky flag and coat-of-arms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roztoky

So we are now both on the Cerna Hora racing team. Everytime I put on the shirt I am reminded of Wolverine's, of the X-men, original get-up: http://www.marveldirectory.com/pictures/individuals/w_3d/wolverine.gif

James z Roztok
Your absolutely right putting quality over quantity when it comes to bike riding. But we just can't shake that need to know the quantity can we?
Nick said…
A nice place to live. And cycle. And drink beer, if I remember right; it's a year or 10 now since I was last there. Time to go again, IU think, having read this.

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