Hi, my name is Martin Čunát and I come from Lužické hory. I had more fun outdoors than with books since I was a kid.
I learned to ride a bike quite early. It didn’t take long until my first cycling injuries – broken teeth, stitched up legs, the works. It didn’t deter me, quite the opposite, without my knowledge, these experiences were preparing me for the pain directly connected to this sport. I rode my first 200km track going to Orlické hory when I was 12. When I was 13, I was only beginning to compete in mountain biking. Later on, I found out I liked riding road bikes much better. Mountain bikes became a complement for me.
I never reached country-wide success, so I had to make do with regional ones. During that time, I met Jan Kopka, an extreme biker, and realized that I definitely want to try cycling adventures such as his when I get older. When I became of age, biking wasn’t my priority as I went through a wild phase in other facets of my life. I helped Jan with organizing the first 1000miles Adventure and I craved the sort of experience the participants went through.
After graduating in Nature Activities I moved to northern Norway, where I’ve been living since. I rediscovered the bike when I set out for an expedition to Iceland. Wolf, who finished fifth in the Trans-Continental Race race a year earlier, invited me to join him on vacation. I haven’t ridden my miles in a while and it hurt like hell! I understood from that, what bikepacking races are all about. It was an infant sport back then.
I set out for solo trips, they were tests built for performance, endurance, and expanding knowledge of myself. In the last few years, I’ve cycled through Oman, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Spain, Portugal, and Ukraine. I participated in the Holyland Challenge bikepacking races in Israel, Offroad Finmark in Norway, and Tour Divide in the USA. At the end of 2019, I decided to ride through South America on a gravel bike at a semi-racing pace.
In 2020, I was training and preparing for Tour Divide. I went to Mallorca, spent ten days climbing Italian hilltops in the Dolomites, and was racking up kilometers despite the Coronavirus. I was overtraining, to some extent. Bikepacking races are a lot about motivation. The bike has to be making you happy and that, I seemed to be losing a little bit. I cancelled my sign-up for the Bohemia Divide race. Now, I am back to riding a bike to work here in Norway and am starting to wonder which race am I going to sign up for next.
I’m grateful to be among WOLFman’s pathfinders and I’m looking forward to Štěpán’s race, be it from an organizer’s, or participant’s perspective.