More Secret Bike Races: Beroun Bike Weekend

Saturday Caitlin and I took a train to Beroun and then hiked over to Karlštejn.  Of course, the first order of business was to find coffee for Ms Thompson, so we walked to the town center—a full kilometer in the wrong direction!

In any event, coming into the main square, what did we see?

Mmm... Looks like some kind of run or something.
Oh man, that kid's got a number plate on... Maybe a bike race?!?!

We had indeed stumbled onto the opening act of the Beroun Bike Weekend, kicking off with a ridiculous amount of kids’ races around the town square.  This was only made more awesome by the fact that we had no idea what was going on and no one spoke English, so we could only assume the entire setup was for the kids’ races.  And, let me tell you, there was a lot of setup.

This is a way more elaborate finish than I've seen at some US national championships...
Food trucks, with the beer flowing readily by 9am at the latest.
Spin bike demo truck. These three people were in this thing for at least an hour.
He's a one man band caught in a trio... The first of two bands to play throughout the morning.
The awesome thing about kids' races is they bring spectators like nothing else can.
There were no less than four giant inflatable arches around the quarter mile square.
A strict bouncy castle regimen is now the only Joe Kopena-approved warmup routine.

A lot of the activity was actually really neat, and very kids-focused.  Several organizations had tents up teaching kids about road safety with different games and coloring books, in addition to more generic fun like facepainting.  There was also a really sweet, super well put together micro pump track thing for tiny kids to ride some bumps and curves on.

Lining up for the bump track.
Shreddin' some gnar... on push bikes!
The local police had a whole bunch of coloring books and posters about riding in traffic. I looked for the much-needed "How to Avoid Death by Angry Tram" but they were all taken already.
I have no idea what the guys on the left were teaching, but it seemed to involve painting things.
The table on the right had a guessing game about road signs. I... did not win.
The wisely chosen white tiger paint provided the necessary aerodynamic and ferociousness advantage to propel her to the win over the orange tiger girl. True story!

Racing was also in no shortage of supply, with a ridiculous number of categories divvying up the horde of little kids.  Boys, girls, toddlers, pre-schoolers, elementary school kids, everybody got a category, almost all with a whole bunch of other people in it, with each age group doing another lap beyond the previous one.

Pre-schooler boys get ready to rip it...
Some highly technical number placement adjustment going on.
From now on, this is the new gold standard in pace car technology.
And they're off!
The field comes back through the gates.
Girl pre-schoolers, goin' a whole lot faster than those wimpy dude pre-schoolers...
A girls' race winner after her epic victory. She looks way more credible as a bike racer than I ever have.

We gather there was some crazy mountain bike race there later in the afternoon, as well as some kind of gran fondo ride/race the next day, but we eventually managed to determine it wouldn’t start until late afternoon and couldn’t stick around.  The course looked awesome though, and was apparently quite long.  As we left organizers had started moving barricades to create a prologue sequence that looked super crazy to watch, wrapping and twisting all throughout town before making its way to the woods and an egregiously long opening climb.

Start line. (photo by
Across the Berounka river. (photo by

A long stretch of the trail we hiked out of Beroun was actually course taped, quite likely for this race.  We were super disappointed they started too late and we were not caught by a raging tsunami of mountain bike racers, especially given the seeming Czech predilection for starting all categories at once.  Except in kids’ races of course.  That’s serious business.

There are a few more photos in the Flickr gallery.