poland

Cycling Europe Day 46: I’m That Guy We All Despise

I don’t understand people who have personalities like mine.

Why ON EARTH would anyone choose to cycle 115km in pouring rain for some eight hours?

Today the rain almost didn’t stop at all. It was cold rain. There was a headwind that made it colder. It also made the cycling harder. I’ll admit the more difficult cycling meant more body warmth for me in that cold weather. Cars and trucks splashed dirty, wet road spray on me all day. Visibility was poor because of the clouds and rain, made poorer by the multitude of water droplets on my glasses all day long.

When I reached 30km, I said out loud to myself, “How am I ever going to get to Wroclaw today?”

Yet, I kept cycling. At one point I roared (I’m not kidding) to push myself onwards.

At another point, I had this conversation in my head:

“Why did I have to turn out to be this sort of woman? Why couldn’t I be one of those women who turns her nose up at people who camp and do activities that involve energy and getting dirty? Why couldn’t I turn out to be the kind of woman who just wants to spend most of her day in the kitchen cooking good food for her family? Why couldn’t I be one of those women who walks around in fur coats?” That one stopped me in my tracks. “Wait a minute! I DO want to be the woman who has a fur coat! Why is it I don’t have one already??” And then I got all upset about a conversation I had about fur coats with my husband. He’s against them. All of them. Unless they are fake. We’ll have to have that discussion again.

Don’t get me wrong. I love cooking for my family. I also love luxury holidays when I’m fortunate enough to have one. I can be the laziest person on earth for weeks if I don’t feel like being a productive human being. I aspire to have a comfortable lifestyle. I don’t walk or cycle to the gym unless I absolutely must because I don’t have the car.

But then I go off and do crazy stuff like this. Why??

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Cycling Europe Day 45: Poland, Pouring Rain, and Thoughts of Egypt

Today I crossed three mountains to get from the Czech Republic to Poland. That part

Poland! Albeit in pouring rain.

Poland! Albeit in pouring rain.

was fine. I’m up for almost anything but those killer hills they have in southern Czech Republic.

I knew to expect rain today. It was rough. I got through the first 30km in dry weather. Then the heavens opened her doors as wide as she could. I cycled the remaining 45 km in pouring rain. The first 15 km of those were fine because I was cycling uphill and generating heat. As soon as I started going downhill, the only things moving were my hands controlling the brakes, and it wasn’t long before I started shivering uncontrollably.

I was wearing a long-sleeved cycling shirt and a rain jacket. My shirt was a bit damp from sweating in it for four hours. I stopped at a roadside cafe, stood by one of their outdoors tables that was under a big umbrella (no one was eating outside in that rain) and changed my shirt, added a fleece, and put my rain jacket back on. I was drier but it took getting to a place where there was a bit of an incline and I started generating heat again for me to stop feeling that I was going to fall off my bike from all the shaking.

It was total relief to find a hotel, take off my soaked cycling shorts, and get into a hot shower.

Despite the rain and poor visibility, I could see that this part of Poland is really beautiful. I can’t wait to see more. Today I’m in Jelenia Gora and apparently it is worth seeing. But it’s still pouring outside and will continue to all night. I can’t bring myself to go back out in that. I’m going to chill this evening in my hotel. They have a pool, so I’ll probably go for a swim. They have a sauna I’ll have to pay extra for, but given all the cycling I’ve been doing and the shivering from today, I figure it’s worth it.

I try as much as I can to avoid thinking about Egypt. It depresses me when I do. But I couldn’t help it today. (more…)