Day 57 - Wieliczka to Szczawa: Winter strikes again - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

March 13, 2015

Day 57 - Wieliczka to Szczawa: Winter strikes again

It never occurred to me that not biking in bad weather was an option. Sure, if it's dangerous (hail, thunderstorms) or impossible (too much snow) I'll wait it out, but if it's just rain or a bit of snow or anything less than gale-force winds, I just assumed I had to bike through it. And so, with snow in the forecast, I headed toward the mountains.

Naturally, the day started with an unreasonably steep hill out of Wieliczka, followed by a descent that undid all my hard work, followed by another unreasonably steep hill. After that, the hills were more reasonably steep, but always with at least one unreasonably steep section.

The weather wasn't terrible; just wet enough to ensure I got soaked. A bit of light rain, a bit of heavy mist, a bit of snow stabbing me in the eyes on the last descent. The wind was behind me most of the time and I wasn't going fast enough to outbike it, so I didn't have to contend with cold rain in my face all day.

I'm learning the ways of the road in Poland. When I came to a roundabout and wasn't sure whether my route took me into the town or not, I listened to the traffic--the path most filled by trucks was the one most likely to be my route.

25 or 30km into the day, there was plenty of recent snow covering the land. The roads had been cleared, of course, because what would become of all those trucks if they couldn't keep driving?

All in all, it wasn't an interesting day, though I had a surreal moment near the top of the big climb near the end of the day. I had pulled into a parking area to adjust my brakes before the descent, when a group of skiers appeared. They looked at me in disbelief; I looked at them and my brain failed to make sense of the situation when it remembered I was on a bicycle. But only for a moment.

Tons of climbing today, 1400m according to the map, in only 69km. Because I have to get back on the bike tomorrow, I couldn't kill my legs, so I spent a lot of time pushing the bike. I felt more hypothermic than tired when I stopped for the day, but now I'm dry and cozy under a sleeping bag in a hammock, and after nowhere near enough sleep last night, I'm ready to

I'm sure the scenery was nice
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Lots of new snow
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Usually one of my favourite sights, the covered bus stops were snowed in and therefore very unhelpful
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I wanted to see where this road went, but it looked like too much work
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Today's ride: 69 km (43 miles)
Total: 2,524 km (1,567 miles)

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