Day 63 - Spisska Nova Ves to Bacuch: Victory at last! - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

March 19, 2015

Day 63 - Spisska Nova Ves to Bacuch: Victory at last!

When I left Spisska Nova Ves, I had an opportunity to ponder one of the great questions of bike touring: why are narrow, busy, truck-filled roads always on windy days? That terrible 6km stretch before Spissky Stvrtok was the worst of the day, definitely one to ride unclipped; I feel pretty good about only getting blown off the road once.

I expected traffic to be a problem on the main road over the pass, but it wasn't bad at all. The usual trucks, but they had space to give me space, so were able to co-exist peacefully.

After admiring the trees--tall conifers--for a while, I suddenly came upon my worst nightmare: a 12% uphill sign, with a neat little "5km" beneath it. I immediately stopped. I couldn't believe it. I was going to have to push the bike for 5km. I didn't want to do that. I really didn't want to do that. I didn't know what to do. So I started pedalling, and I stopped when I needed to (often), and as steep as most of that climb was, it wasn't 12%. I walked one hairpin corner where I didn't like the way the trucks were swinging into my lane, but otherwise I kept pedalling.

My eyes were on the road just ahead of my front wheel, my focus on keeping the bike on a fairly straight course, my thoughts on how freaking long that climb was. And soon enough, I was at the top. I had just conquered that ridiculous hill without pushing the bike.


I wanted to get all smug and boastful, but there was no reward at the top--no parade in my honour, no breathtaking view, not even a sign with the elevation.

At least the mountain was a gracious loser and didn't try to kill me with cold on the descent.

Anyway, I'm pretty proud of myself, and I wish I could compare to that to the Macedonian mountains, but I can't because I had a different cassette then--I couldn't have done this with my former easiest gear.

The rest of the day was a mainly fruitless search for accommodation, and occasionally stopping to look behind me because the scenery was better in the other direction. Despite the abundance of signs advertising rooms, nothing was open. Not only was I trying multiple places per village, I was trying multiple villages. Camping would've worked, but the overnight temperatures are too cold for comfort and I need a good night's sleep in hilly areas. I finally found a room in the fifth village I tried--a restaurant with a side business in accommodation. Those places are always well-priced, so it worked out nicely.

I was thinking about how that 12% climb was mostly nowhere near 12%, and I realized that all the signs I've seen were 12%. I think Slovakia must've ordered too many 12% signs and just slapped them on every big hill because they had no money left for the lesser gradients. So be it. I'm still going to brag about how I biked up a 5km 12% hill.

Seems a bit intense for the situation
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I'm pretty sure a hill like this isn't even possible
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My reward at the pass. No sign, no view, just a garbage can.
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Looking back, near Telgart
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Looking back again
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Bacuch, from the highway
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Today's ride: 86 km (53 miles)
Total: 2,732 km (1,697 miles)

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