Lithuania, sounds nice ! Haven't been there (neither northern Poland too !) but heard about nice ecosystems in the neighborhood of our Rospuda, sure it's a must-do for cyclotouring and things like that !
As for your clockwise issue, I often ask myself the same question before going to unknown places... I'm a map lover and that's a part of my pleasure of riding the unknown ! (I live in PL but I am... french
) I usually choose depending on the following in order to "optimize" the fun.:
- steepest parts (or at least as much as possible) are better ridden down
- portions with easiest surfaces (asphalt, large tracks) should be used as much as possible for climbs instead of the opposite
Sometimes eight-shaped loops make the trick to sort out all as wished, but some other times
it just can't be perfect and is all about compromises; as you say it needs to be tried couple of times both ways to get a reliable opinion...