Cyclocross World Championships – Tábor 2015
Photos and words by Hollis Duncan
The first hint I was approaching Eastern Europe, was receiving a bath-size wet nap prior to takeoff on Air Dolomiti flight 1692 from Munich to Prague. Anyone who has ever whiffed a Bulgarian armpit or endured 34 rows of heavy built men who disavow deodorant can deduce how these would come in handy on a small airplane. As the pilot squeezed the throttle, our Embraer 195 headed east through light snow…
Too shy (and cold) to ask locals where Zdeněk Štybar’s restaurant was, I waddled around Tábor’s old town for awhile like a penguin in my puffy jacket before discovering U Zeleného Stromu for dinner. U Zeleného Stromu had an Eastern bloc hunting lodge vibe. It was the kind of place I pictured myself eating after shooting a moose. My eyes high-fived the barman as he brought me a Paul Bunyan-size stein of Pilsner Urquell. I ordered rump steak with bacon-braised green beans and a side of fries. Incidentally, Czechs call string beans “runner beans” because they’re skinny; they were the only thin thing on my man plate.
I would be remiss to not thank Skitur Travel Agency for their invaluable help in finding me accommodations. Mrs. Svarcova emailed that she was very pleased to send me an offer for Hotel Mas *** located in Sezimovo Usti only two kilometers from the race course. One single-use double room (unfortunately no single rooms were available) for 137€ per night x 2 nights = 274€ with breakfast included. But according to www.hotelmas.cz the standard room rate is 1050 Czech crowns or roughly 37€, even double occupancy is 1450 crowns which is a reasonable 52€. I wrote Mrs. Svarcova posthaste to make sure she had not mistaken me for someone other than a photographer.
Svarcova admitted Hotel Mas was the most expensive accommodation for Tábor 2015, but justified her quote, almost five times the standard room rate, explaining it’s “absolutely comparable with prices at other world championships in Holland, Belgium, and other countries.” As a consolation, she threw out two cheaper options: one single room sharing a bathroom and toilet with the grandfather of a British junior racer or a student hostel with a private bathroom. I chose the second option for 35€ a night, which included internet as fast as Mathieu van der Poel…