Tour05 Day 33

Poprad Centrum, from my window

I slept well last night and woke up this morning to rain. | was disappointed but not really surprised since the the weather yesterday afternoon was threatening rain and it actually dripped a little when I was out last night. After eating breakfast, I worked on yesterday's web page. I finished it about 9:30 and headed for the internet cafe. On the way I asked the folks at my hotel if I could stay another night and they said no.

There was one other hotel that I could check on foot, but I'd been there yesterday evening and really didn't want to stay there - it had a sex shop downstairs and the receptionist - a young woman - was watching a porngraphic movie. It just wasn't my kind of place, so after doing some email, posting two ride reports and putting up the corresponding web pages, I|walked back to the hotel and packed my bags for a rainy ride.

It was a cold, moderately intense rain with a fairly strong wind from the west. Since I was heading east, the wind eliminated one of the problems - wind resistance - of wearing a rain cape. I wore a silk undershirt under the rain cape and latter added my wind vest for added warmth. That worked reasonably well for most of the ride.

I was still riding on 18, so there was a good bit of up and down and a moderate amount of traffic. Getting out of town took a while and got fairly exciting when an ass**le decided he would pass me on the right in a construction section where the right lane. He didn't succeed, but he splashed a lot of dirty water on me and then pulled over into me when his lane ended. I didn't let him in, so he backed off and passed me, properly, later. I don't know if he was drunk or just a jerk. I suspect just a jerk.

I had a lot of chilly riding once out of town, with some exciting moments in other construction zones, but no really bad incidents. Thee main problem was the deep puddles on the road which let to lots of side splashes from passing vehicles and my hitting some submerged potholes.

Eventually, 18 came back to E 50, which was now part of the autoroute, and ran alongside it. I think this was the old E 50 which was 'under' the autoroute from where the autoroute started after the gas station yesterday. This section was the nicest one form a riding standpoint - good road and little traffic, but it had a lot of pretty steep climbing. I would overheat a bit on those climbs and then get cold on the descents that followed them. By this time I had been riding for an hour and a half or more and I|was cold, wet, and not enjoying myself. Unfortunately, that was the good part!

When the autoroute ended, about 30 km after I started and 25 km form Poprad, things got more exciting. When I saw what I had to ride into ahead, I stopped by the side of the road and, standing in the rain, took a coke and food break from my supplies. I knew I wouldn't have another chance till near Poprad.

It was the way too much traffic for the road scenario from two days ago with the added spice of rain and wind. It is not fun being passed, in the rain by big trucks two feet away while wearing a rain cape ;-(!

It wasn't that bad after the first half a km where the roads had been messed up by the autroute construction, because it had a decent shoulder. About 4 km later, that shoulder went away. The lane was still wide enough to let vehicles pass me in the lane, but when large trucks did that - the worst ones were empty log trucks, for some reason the full ones weren't as bad - I got quite a wind and water blast.

For the last 15 km into Poprad, the road went downhill. That sounds good, but was very hard on me. I had been keeping my body temperature at a reasonable level, despite the cold wet conditions, but doing a good bit of work propelling the bicycle. When I had no work to do, I got very cold, very quickly. There was no way to warm up. I rode until my shivering was making it hard to control the bike - and remember, there were these cars and trucks going by at 100 kph a few feet away, so good control was needed, then stopped at the first service station on my side of the road before Poprad. There was an earlier station on the other side of the road, but traffic was too heavy for me to get across the road.

I was so cold that I had a hard time removing my helmet, hat and rain cape - my hand weren't working very well - and I was shaking from the cold. I got into the station, used the bathroom, got some coffe from a machine, got a large Snickers bar, and finally bought a sandwich. Half an hour later, my shivering was mostly under conrol and I was able to ride the remaining 6 km to Poprad. I wore my parka rather than my rain cape for that part of the ride because is is warmer, and wind blasts have less effect on me when I wear it.

In Poprad, I rode back to a place I had been in 2003 - completing my ride around the Slovak republic - and then checked out 67, the road I plan to ride tomorrow. Bad traffic! Then I went looking for hotel. After a bit of a search, I found a cheap hotel near the center of town. It isn't as big or as fancy as my room last night, but it only cost 1/4 as much! So my ride in the rain saved me a good bit of money, but I'd have much rather ridden 537 in the Tatra park than 18 and E 50 to Poprad!

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