Daily Archives: August 9, 2012

Day 28: Oravice to Turany- 85k

2,361km down: 3,864km to go.

I slept fitfully as it was hot and I had to get up a number of times. I looked at my phone in the morning and thought it said 6:20am so I woke Walli up and told her we were late and that we had 10 minutes to get dressed and get our bags over to the truck. I went outside to check the weather, all the tents were still up. “Hmm, strange” I thought and went back and checked the phone, 5:25am – oops. I told Walli that she actually had another hour of sleep. Amazingly she hopped back into bed, turned over, and was out to it again, man she has a gift. As said previously she lies down at night, shuts her eyes, and is gone until the morning.

It was nice and cool in the morning; I wore arm warmers for the first time for awhile. After breakfast I set off straight away to try and get as much done as possible before the day got hot!

I rode straight out of camp into a hill that was about 4ks up, my legs were not happy but I just took my time. At the top there was a field with about 100 storks in it, this was in a clearing in the forest, they must come to it to get frogs etc. It was misty but streaks of sun and really was very pretty looking down into the valley.

After a short down gradient we went along what I thought was nearly the top, then we started to climb again, there was a sign “4% gradient” which I did not think too much about as I can get up much steeper hills. All I can say is either someone has a sense of humour or there was a 1 missing from before the 4, because oh my god was it steep! I got halfway up it and it leveled off for a short bit so I took the chance to unclip my cleats and get off and walk. The bit just before it leveled off I was not sure I would get up and also knew I was going so slowly that would not be able to unclip the cleats either.

After this there was another small downhill, then along another ridge, then once again climbing up for 5k approximately, steady grinding, followed by 6k downhill. However this was steep and my hands were very sore from braking at the end of it. On this hill I was passed by Brian and Scott on the way up and John on the way down. I did get up to 52k on the way down at times, but to give you an example of other riders speed downhill, Michele clocked 84k.

After that the ride to lunch was rollers, I managed to get to the lunch truck first (for the first – and no doubt last – time). After lunch it was good riding – some up but nothing significant, 3k on a dirt road that I got off and walked a bit as it was steep and uneven on the down bits, back roads around a town and then onto the E50 highway for the last 15k, which was mostly downhill gradient and small hills.

By the time I got to the turn off to camp no one had passed me so with only 1.4k to go I booted it. I got to camp first, once again no doubt the first and only time. I certainly had comments from a number of other riders such as did you have rocket fuel for breakfast.

Once again I got a cabin, very basic and small, just two beds and a small table but with an outside porch and just across from toilet – although outside but close with a concrete path.

We are in Slovakia now and the big difference is that the level of English spoken is less, neither of the owners of the last two camps spoke any English, to get a cabin is quite a mission. Today the lady owner was convinced I wanted to pay for my space in the camp site, but we got there in the end. I had to fill in a guest form but had forgotten to take my glasses and could not see it enough to fill in, so was thinking “Blast, I will have to go and get them” (I can ride my bike for hours but hate having to walk an extra 3 or so minutes!). Luckily the owners husband noticed I was having trouble and gave me his to use and even more lucky – they worked.

Also, none of the hotels we have stayed at have had a laundry but this place does, so I was able to get my washing done. To aid communication I took the bag full of washing and soap powder to the office and pointed. She did try to give me instructions but gave up and came over and started the machine for me. This was lucky as the washer had a steel container that you had to clip and unclip which could have caused me some problems.

Neither of the past two places have had Wifi either, so I have been doing this and saving to the outbox, I am hoping the emails will not disappear when I close it, and also wishing I had tried this when I had only done the first day!

I have had a lazy afternoon, and am looking forward to dinner which is another hour away. When I got to the lunch truck I was not very hungry and did not make a takeaway sandwich as camp was only 30k from lunch . However I have since found out I got to the lunch truck at 10am so it’s quite a long time from then until dinner around 6pm. I could ride the 1.4k into the village and back but will wait as only an hour to go now.

I am pleased that I got to the camp at 11:40am, that was good going with some significant climbs in there.

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Day 27: Krakow to Oravice – 128k

2,276km down: 3,949km to go.

Up 1,700 meters today, along highways 964, 28, 95, 47, 958, 959, 520.

This day was hot! I was already dripping hot and sweaty before even leaving the hotel! No doubt it did not help that my phone took the only opportunity it had had all trip to mask a pocket call. Usually it is kept in my pannier on riding days and in my walk around bag on rest days. However I had put it my back pocket today as wanted to ring my friend Pat to wish her happy birthday before starting (due to 10 hour time difference).

Due to the peculiar way the travel sim works, when I ring someone it says they are ringing me, but – it also says this if they ARE ringing me. The phone seized its opportunity today and dialled my daughter Lizzy – so I see she is ringing me and I try to pick up the call, but nothing happens. Lizzy is 34 weeks pregnant and is going to ring me when she goes into labour, so then I started to worry “Oh no, it’s too soon, but at least well within viability etc etc”. I try a few times to ring Lizzy back but can’t get through, by which point I’m a bit worried. I finally get through and ask her what is wrong and Lizzy is like “Um you rang me, and I couldn’t talk to you before because I’m at work with a patient”. Oops! Then my friend the phone considers its work is done for the day and refuses to connect me to Pat! It keeps telling me it is not an option etc. I finally left a message for Pat for a mutual friend to pass on.

We set off from Krakow in a convoy for 19k, it took ages as the group kept being separated by lights etc. At the end of the convoy we were just by the salt mines from last night! The first bit was up a really steep hill with uneven paving stones so I took the cautious approach and walked up it.

It was really, really hot so once again I resorted to pouring cold water over my head at regular intervals and drinking heaps of water. There were some significant climbs (no wonder with climbing 1,700 meters today) we had been told it was easier after lunch. After Dan and I spent two hours post lunch steadily climbing and up a hill that went on for about 5k (we called it the hill that just kept on giving) we decided the person who said it was so easy should have to come and ride it. Thankfully we reached the top eventually and had a couple of kilometres down and then flat for awhile.

I must tense up my shoulders going uphill as I had to stop a few times to stretch them, including at one point lying on the ground outside a dairy (there wasn’t a convenient bus stop handy).

Just before the border we went through town called Chocholow, it had a shrine with a Maori figurine in it in full cloak and dress, certainly not what I expected to see in Poland. Sadly my camera was flat so I do not have a photo but I will google it and see if I can find anything. The houses here were different than I have seen anywhere else, they were four stories high with really steep roofs. We joked that the snow must get really deep and maybe they can only get out of the fourth floor in the middle of winter (I will see if anyone took a photo).

Once again it was not a real, formal border crossing. There were two police down the road from it that laughed as I went past, why I don’t know. We had been told there was very big hill just after the border (oh joy, 100k into the ride ) but turned out that although it was 12 percent it had a good descent just before it so I got a good run up and was three quarters of the way up it before having to do any work.

I arrived weary but happy to be there at the auto camp in Oravice at 5 pm, making it a 10hour day – 1 hour in breaks and 9 hours riding – I was stuffed! Walli and I once again have a room, very basic just two beds and a table and two chairs but inside and across the hall from the toilet.

I had time to clean the bike and have a shower etc, then the riders meeting was delayed as not all the riders had arrived. While we were waiting, and during tea, there was a thunder and lightning storm and lots of rain.

At 7:15pm I headed for bed, the late night in Krakow and the big riding day had caught up with me. Being a Friday night and school holidays, a number of campers had music blaring and there was laughter, loud voices and camp sing songs so I put on the earphones and music, and then had no more background noise worries.

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