Day 72 - Linz to Vyssi Brod: What mountain? That's a small hill - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

March 28, 2015

Day 72 - Linz to Vyssi Brod: What mountain? That's a small hill

When my Warmshowers hosts suggested cycling together for part of the day, I said "Sure, but I should warn you I'm really slow." They replied that they were, too. "No, really, I'm slow." They determined that anyone who could bike over 300km in three days wasn't slow. Ah, but they hadn't seen me try to climb a hill.

So my unsuspecting companions and I set out and headed for the hills. Really just the one hill. One stupidly steep, really long hill.

Even before we got anywhere near the hill, I felt like a lumbering, clumsy dinosaur. When they rode up onto a curb, I stopped and lifted my wheel up. When they rode on those horrible big cobbles inlaid with tram tracks, I pushed my bike. When they negotiated tight corners with ease, I stopped and walked around (still haven't figured out how to steer well enough with that weight on my front wheel). And when they climbed that stupidly steep hill with ease, I fell behind/stopped for food/utterly destroyed my legs, and eventually told them to go on without me.

And that was after just 20km. I thought I was finished. I planned for this, giving myself two days to reach Cesky Krumlov, but I hadn't counted on being destroyed after 20km, especially since the first few were flat. If I had had the energy to turn my head, I think I could have still seen Linz.

I don't know how much of it was the stupidly steep hill, how much was the wind (mostly crosswinds but a bit of headwinds), how much was fatigue from the past three days. What I do know is I will never again climb that hill with anything on my bike, including me.

Somehow I made it to Bad Leonfelden, where I decided to stop, but rain in the forecast plus a total lack of accommodation encouraged me to continue, and after one last short climb, it was downhill into Czech Republic--and the first border sign I've seen within Schengen. There was also a decommissioned Austrian border post, which was disappointingly less derelict than the ones at the Austrian-Slovakian border.

At Vyssi Brod, which was full of Austrians, I decided I had gone far enough and it was time to check in at a Czech inn. (Sorry, we do this to Czechs travellers all the time, but I'm too polite to say anything in their country, so it all has to go here.) The first place I tried was closed. The second was more promising, with 'Zimmer Frei' chalked on the sign outside the restaurant. But when I went in and they figured out what I wanted, they were aghast and emphatically told me no. The third place was an aging hotel, and the clerk showed me a small room across the hall from my room, then gave me the key. It was much too small for my bike, so I just kept it in my room.

Last look at the Danube
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Almost at the border
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I earned this sign
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Cross-border shopping at its finest. I also saw cross-border shopping at its classiest, but don't think I'm allowed to post that photo.
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Because of my neglect in taking photos of traditional Austrian houses, please imagine this nougat bar is a house. It's pretty accurate, only lacking a door and a roof.
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Today's ride: 50 km (31 miles)
Total: 3,405 km (2,115 miles)

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