MTB racers to test mettle in 1,000 mile Trans Czecho-Slovakia

23-03-2011

Organisers have announced that registration for a new extreme sporting event across the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the first-ever 1,000 mile Trans Czecho-Slovakia, is complete. The race is the brainchild of extreme mountain biker Jan Kopka, champion and author of two books on racing in some of the toughest parts of the world.

Jan KopkaJan Kopka I spoke to the racer on a line to his home in northern Bohemia; he explained how the idea for the Trans Czecho-Slovakia came about.

“It was a long time coming! I’ve been doing extreme racing for more than 10 years and I wrote two books about my experience. The books became quite popular and that led to me to not only want to write about what it was like but to bring a similar event here. The race of course won’t be as dangerous as races I did in Alaska, Australia or Costa Rica, but it should still be adventurous. Like all extreme races.”

How many racers registered?

“The limit was 100 and we have a little more than that, so the roster is complete.”

Who is the race open to? I understand it’s not just for mountain bikers...

“The subtitle of the event is that it’s a ‘human-powered race’ which means that runners were welcome too, or other human powered-vehicles. I believe one runner will be taking part, competing against the clock, just to see how well he will do. But of course it’s mostly mountain bikers. A few of those are professionals, but on the whole most of those in the race are amateurs.”

What are the rules for this kind of a race: will racers be sleeping outside, for example?

“The main rule is that it is a self-supported race: there is no crew, no support service. And it’s a non-stop race from start to finish. So what bikers or others bring with them at the beginning, that’s what they’ve got. They can bring food, they can sleep outside under the open sky, or even in cottage sor buy food along the way, but receive no third-party help.”

How will organiser be able to make sure that a competitor hasn’t taken a ‘short-cut’?

“First of all there is a set route and second each racer will be equipped with GPS. When they arrive at the finish we can then check their GPS data to make sure they respected the rules and kept to the proper trail.”

How important was it for you to set the race not only in the Czech Republic but also Slovakia?

“It was a matter of the heart for me. I was born and grew up in Czechoslovakia. We were one state and I still feel like a Czechoslovak today, so that was why I wanted to organise the race like this.”

I imagine that some of the terrain may be a little bit tougher and wilder in parts of Slovakia, is that correct?

“Absolutely. Slovakia has beautiful nature but it is wilder and anyone competing in an extreme event has to be able to deal with that. This year, the race starts in the eastern part of Slovakia and ends in the western end of the Czech Republic.”

Someone who proves to be in good shape: how quickly might they be able to complete the 1,000 mile ride?

“It depends on individual strengths but if someone proves to be good I think they could finish the race in the course of a week. Racers still have time to get into shape, as the race itself takes place in the summer.”

For more information please visit 1000miles.cz

23-03-2011