Roller coaster in Liberec

After the big climb up after the border, I hoped for an easy ride. I figured out the border would probably be the drainage divide, and then we could finally go down, down, down and forget about mountains for a while. Well, I was mistaken. The town of Liberec lies in a basin that apparently drains to the north. But even before that, we had to endure some really steep streets, where the designated bike path avoids the busy main road. Some of them were so steep Szoki had to dismount and push the cargo bike. It started to rain, and it was already dark since a few hours. We stopped to eat at a petrol station, glad to sit on actual chairs. When we gathered the energy to continue, the roller coaster ride continued. The track went over and under the railway and motorway several times, before leading out of town. But uphill again. We climbed and climbed in the pouring rain, then stopped for a quick rest in a bus stop shelter. We were tempted to stay there for the night, but decided to continue. The map told us that the main ridge would be one kilometer away, with about 100 m in elevation to climb. We reached the magic spot and started off downhill. The river ran in a narrow gorge, the motorway went along the valley, crossing it here and there, and our little road went in between. I saw Szoki’s headlight pointing left and right as he searched in vain for a place to camp. Should we make do under one of the motorway bridges? Very noisy, but dry. We finally found a little side valley with a flat spot and pitched the tent in record time.
In the morning, it was not raining any more. I woke early and took a dip in the stream – definitely worth it since I have not showered in nearly a week now. We cooked instant noodles on the camp stove in the tent, reluctant to leave the warmth of our sleeping bags. But then all was ready, we packed up and started off downhill. After a couple of kilometers, we were challenged by another climb of hairpin bends, but rewarded by a smooth ride across the mountain plateau afterwards. And then the sun came out. We had another roll downhill towards Tisov, and then the roller coaster started again, up and down steep little alleys and back roads. At a railway crossing, the safety rails were so tight there was no way to take the turn with the long Bullitt. We wedged the front wheel into the corner and Szoki lifted the back of the bike up and over the railings. But after a lot of highs and lows, we finally ended up on route 35, which will be the road we follow for the next few hours. This road is wide, the traffic is OK, but it still climbs quite a few hills.

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