Carpatia Divide 2019, Day #3 When I was crossing endless meadows
I was awake long before the alarm clock. But to have your eyes open is one thing and getting out of the sleeping bag is another. It took me half an hour of convincing to get the job done. It wasn’t easy to pack all my things, including the rescue blanket which changed from a small square to a huge piece of trash. The cold helped me with the speed.
I checked a map of what was ahead of me. It was a small blue path and it wasn’t hard to imagine what it will look like – a lot of unavoidable mud. I couldn’t even pedal up small hills as my wheels had no grip. When I take a look at the map now, it seems like a short part. But in my memories, I fought with the elements for an infinity or two.
Because I got up before the sunrise I had to cope with darkness and mist. I lost my path several times. It was frustrating as I had to go through dense and wet vegetation. I felt like I was the first one who ever went through this road. When I reached Kacwin, I thought the worst was behind me.
But it wasn’t all bad after all. When I pushed a bike up one of many hills I got above the mist cloud and got a really beautiful view of the sun and surrounding nature.
Leshek and his team were waiting on me in front of Spišská Stará Ves. They declared a detour because a part of the route where there was a small tree calamity.
I bought several pâtés in the shop. It was one of the best food I bought on this race. It’s easy to eat, cheap and full of calories. And since I was in Slovakia I bought a big Kofola to keep my caffeine and sugar levels high.
The detour was declared in a punky way. Leshek showed me crossroads on his phone and I was riding by memory. No GPS. After a few kilometres I lost my confidence and just to be sure, I checked it on my phone too. Even though it was a detour, it wasn’t easy at all. There was no way that we could skip the biggest hill in the neighbourhood.
I was lost at the top of the hill and couldn’t find where to continue. Finally, a located a small gate to Lechnicky singletrail. I have a (physical) problem to turn right on a bike so I was slow on the hairpin bends but I enjoyed it. It was a reward.
The best view of Pieniny is from Špica hill, they’re the iconic rocks, that are in the logo of Carpatia Divide. Unfortunately, it was misty and I saw nothing. So maybe next time…
Return of summer
The next section was a pleasant ride next to the river. Kilometres for free! I met Bartosh again, the guy from the first night, and we sat for a moment with a hot drink. He has already done one race that year – Hydra Epic. He told me that on the first sight, it looks that in Lithuania there are no hills. But it didn’t take long to find out that the opposite is true.
When I finished my hot tea, the mist disappeared and summer has come. The sun was burning and it wasn’t pleasant on the endless meadows. During previous days my chain was lubricated by mud but as it dried out, my bike was squealing and cracking. I had to lubricate the chain and put some sun cream on myself. Just don’t mess it up.
I went over one hill to realize that there is another one behind it. It was endless. I saw horses working on meadows and a lot of cows and sheep in pens. It was paradise on Earth. I only had energy for pushing. And one shepherd tried to point out in Polish that I should pedal and not push. Maybe he was right.
After four hours on the border ridge, the race track turned left to Piwnicza-Zdroj. It was a steep panel road downhill which lured me into speed. As I put safety as a priority, I was always trying to be able to stop quickly.. This time it paid off. Two girls were playing on the road and I stopped right in front of them. Cars were using that road. I don’t know what was on their minds.
I took some healing water from the spa spring and kept pedalling as I didn’t want to spend time looking for shops. I was a little angry at myself that I didn’t buy any food, but at least I was light for uphills. And had this gum that tasted like apples.
I was going up on those endless hills. As I was closer to Gods I saw two nuns. But they didn’t bring me any luck. When I was on my lightest gear, my chain fell out of the cassette and got stuck in spokes. It was lucky it didn’t break it. I adjusted the tension of wire but from that moment, I changed gears very carefully.
When I reached the top, I started to pedal and I had fun again. There were beautiful forest roads. I stank a lot and I was chased by flocks of flies. They mistook me for a mountain cow. It was lucky that they were only flying around and not sitting on me. I would scratch myself to death.
Poland has a party
When it started to get dark I finally reached the top of Jaworzyn Krynica. That was the end of mountains for that section. I went through a fast downhill on a wide gravel road. I wasn’t fresh so I had to rest in the middle of descent. My hands and legs were in pain. It wasn’t easy at all.
In Krynica I went to a nearby petrol station. I hoped I could get another zapiekanka and a huge amount of fresh energy with it. Sadly, they didn’t have it. So at least I got two paninis. The staff was really nice so I was able to order it using a mix of Polish and Czech.
The food was so good that it confused me and I rode in the wrong direction for a few minutes.
The town was partying. A lot of people was in the streets and they were having a good time. I had a good time too. In a certain way… But I couldn’t join their celebration because I was headed into deep dark woods. Bartosh told me that the first half is the hardest and in the end, there is a lot of gravel roads. They started just now.
Full of energy, I went through several forests and ended up in a shelter in Hanczowa village. The party was there too. But aside from one drunk, no one disturbed me. I slept next to the river, which was bad, but there weren’t really many options in the east. I still had more than 200 km ahead of me.
- Day #1 When I was terribly wrong
- Day #2 How can one zapiekanka change the whole race
- Day #3 When I was crossing endless meadows
- Day #4 How I sang the bear song