It’s weird to do a 2020 year-in-review in December 2021, but better late than never. It seems like I finally got through our 2019 honeymoon story, and I realized how much I missed putting down memories from all our adventures!
Overall, 2020 was another strong year in the books combining my work in tech, time spent with my family, and high-volume endurance training. COVID19 pandemic obviously affected us just like everyone else, however, it also had one (positive) impact. The fact that I had to completely stop all business traveling meant that I was healthy all year (I guess no airplanes :)) and could spend significantly more time outdoors!
Anyway, let’s sum up 2020 in a fast way: just a few highlights!
January & February
We started 2020 with a strong training effort together with my younger brother Martin. We were doing a lot of speed sessions and also cross-country races near Brno. There was almost no snow in Jan & Feb, so it was all about running! Also, COVID was far far away, and back then, we never thought the pandemic would come to Europe either. January was also marked by a big job change when we had split Kentico into two divisions and I was appointed to the management team of the Kontent division. The eve of a global pandemic is not good timing to move to the executive level, so the work challenges had been set for the following year :)
March & April
And then in March 2020, the COVID came to the Czech Republic. It of course had a huge impact on our family because Andrea works as a doctor and she was essentially on the front line from day 1.
It was also bad timing for us personally because we were just about to go to the US for 3 weeks road trip with Andrea. I was promising her for years that I would take her on a business trip to the United States with me and finally when I bought flight tickets, and we were about to go, the pandemic broke out :)
Anyway, given the whole global pandemic, this was just a minor inconvenience and we spent the whole spring outdoors: running, hiking, cycling, you name it. I replaced speedy tempo runs with long road cycling rides to Moravsky Kras and always had a blast :)
The Spring 2020 lockdown also gave me some time to work on our apartment. I realized I am better off hiring specialists for most of the work. On the other hand, I did enjoy rebuilding the gear room and balcony with barbecue area myself!:) The gear room deserves its own blog post – I find it quite unique fitting a proper gear room for outdoorsy equipment into the city-center apartment, and I actually missed some content/inspiration for gear rooms when doing my research :)
A clear highlight of May 2020 was a big training day with my brothers that we called “Vysocina Triple“. It consisted of a 65k mountain bike ride, 25k trail run, and 100k road cycling ride, all in a single push. It’s these big days when one really feels alive!
Given the lockdown, we also opted with Andrea to discover the beauties of the Czech Republic. We spent some days in Cesky Raj and Hruboskalsko which is a typical tourist destination. However, if you avoid the main attraction, you can enjoy top-notch outdoors including great rocky areas, and stunning roads for road cycling.
In June, we finally returned to racing, at least a little. Considering the cancellation of all international trail running races, both my brothers and I signed up for an extreme mountain bike race called Highlands Ultra. Even if the conditions were ideal, it would be a crazy competition. 280k in difficult terrain combined with almost 5.000m+ vertical gain. It turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience as the conditions were indeed extreme including torrential rains and mountains of mud. I wrote a separate blog post (in Czech) about this, check it out!
We were also lucky enough to compete in a traditional cross-country 10k race “Zdar-Racin”. I once again finished 3rd, having now 1x victory and countless of 3rd places behind my younger brother :)
Last, but not least we also went to an annual “MTB stag party” with my brothers and father. Every year, we choose a mountain area in the Czech Republic, where we ride mountain bikes all weekend, drink beer, and have a good time together. One almost forgot we were in the middle of a global pandemic :)
July & August
In July, the pandemic finally slowed down and Andrea and I set out for a road trip in the Alps. We did not have any plan, sometimes we slept in our car, sometimes hit some camping and had a great time. Who needs US national parks? :)
Once again, hiking, mountain running, cycling, camping and just being outdoors all day long proved to be the best way to recharge our batteries :)
I also did some quality high-intense cycling training in summer 2020 (eg. so-called “Brnoesting“, 1/2 Everesting in the Brno city center resulting in 155k/4400m+ :)), so I decided to check my cycling qualities after a long time and did some races. Proved to be slow downhill (surprise, surprise), but it seems like I still have solid climbing legs.
September & October
In Fall 2020, I got back to “running season”. We went to Slovakia’s High Tatras, where we enjoyed a few days in a wellness hotel, did some hiking and I also participated in a mountain marathon “Chopok Skymarathon”.
We also had a special experience during a traditional duathlon (XC run – MTB -XC run) near my hometown. It’s a local off-road race with only about 80 competitors. However, it was the first time ever when 3 brothers finished on the podium!
November & December
Unfortunately, the end of 2020 was once again marked by COVID-19. Andrea served endless night shifts at ICU, which was quite a stressful period. Hence, we did our best to spend all our free time outdoors.
November has always been also a month of business traveling when we always organized our annual partner conferences in Europe, the USA, and Australia. Given the pandemic, it was of course not possible. Like many other technology companies, we have moved the conference into a virtual space. Good to have such a different experience, but after living 2 years in COVID (I am writing this piece in December 2021, playing a bit of catch up game with my blog), I must admit that virtual conferences are far far from on-site meetings and I kinda miss the business trips.
After the Kontent Horizons conference, Andrea and I decided to recharge our batteries again and spent a few days in a tiny house without iPads, iPhones, etc. Just the crackling sounds and the heat of the fireplace, books, and good time!
And that’s about it! Despite the global pandemic, 2020 was an incredible year. I finished it strong with some long runs in mountains and actually hunting last kilometers on December 31 to exceed 10.000 km of training which was fun! :)
I’m not gonna do a 2020 year-in-review from the perspective of books and other personal goals. It does not make sense to reflect on those things now when 2021 has almost passed by too, but I promise (to myself) to do the 2021 review much sooner than in December 22′!