Oh, my aching crotch! I know I shouldn't start a ride report that way, but that is what i, quite literally, feel. Todays ride was long - about eight hours in the saddle - and most of that time was spent riding into a headwind, so I was riding on the drops. About half of that time was spend riding on bumpy, sometimes very bumpy, roads, so my crotch, not my sit bones but the soft tissue, really got pounded. For the first time in my many days of touring, I've taken painkiller for crotch ache!
It would have been a nice ride today wit/hout out the headwind. With it it was nice in parts, but a real pain in the wrists, neck, crotch, and knees. The knees part was due to the need to grind away into that wind.The rest were due to having to ride the drops for such a long time on rough pavement. Note that I didn't take back roads, although 74, really is a back road even though it isn't marked as one on the map. I took 77, 19, and 74 which are all red - major - roads on my map. 77 and 19 have shoulders, mostly good shoulders between cities, and 74 has shoulders where it needs them, but mostly it doesn't need them. These roads are no worse than the roads I have been riding, but having to ride them 'on the drops' made for pain!
Of course, any day spent riding into the wind is harder on your body and less fun than a day with no wind or a tail wind. I should have been able to ride here in less than seven hours, and my legs - especially my knees - should not feel that they have been abused. Of course, part of that abuse was the fact that the head wind this morning was cold and I didn't dress well for it.
Knees and ankles don't work as well when they have cold air flowing over them rapidly. I wear knee warmers, but that wasn't enough this morning. I should have put my tights on over the knee warmers, but they was too much trouble to dig out once I was on the road, so I abused my knees instead. Dumb!
I left my hotel in Sandomeirz about 9:30 this morning. Yesterday and an hour or so of this morning, I worked on getting the original images from my camera accessible by clicking on the 640x480 images on my tour05 webpages. Since I had good net access, I was able to upload about 300 MB of images I had taken since I left Primoz's house. I had already uploaded about 500 MB while I was staying with Primoz. I couldn't properly check those links using my Zaurus, since its browser chokes on big images, but my hotel, in addition to having ethernet jacks in every room, has a room full of nice systems for its residents to use. I was impressed!
I rode down from Sandomeirz and then east on 77, planning to take a small road, 874, north and then take other small roads east to near Janow Lubeski. That looked like it might save abut 20 of the 70 km on 77 and 19 from Sandomeirz to Janow Lubeski. Unfortunately , grinding into the wind - it was quite strong - and getting bad airblasts from big trucks coming the other way, distracted me from looking for the turn, and I passed it. When I realized I'd missed the turn, it was too late to save much distance, and 77 was OK riding except for the wind which would probably have been a worse problem on the other route.
Some of my worst crotch abuse occurred during my last 10 km or so on 77. Riding into Nisko, the soulder was very bad for a long time and the traffic was heavy enough that I usually had to ride on the shoulder. Much of that section, I was riding with a friendly Polish rider who I had overtaken. We tried to talk a couple of times, but his language set - Polish, Italian, and Finnish(!) - didn't overlap mine, so we settled for friendly grins, a warm handshake, and an exchange of names. We separated in Nisko.
Riding was much improved once I turned on 19, just after Nisko. 19 mostly runs through forest and big trees block most of the wind. The only frustrating thing about that stretch is that, since I didn't stop to eat in Nisko, was looking for places to eat on 19. Every time I saw a sign for a place to eat, it turned out to be a bar!
When I got to Janow Lubeski, I turned into town and found a small place that sold me bread, yogurt drink, and a sweet roll. Then, as I was leaving I spotted my main course, a large flattish bread with an onion filling on top. I went across the street to a park and had a good, inexpensive, lunch before riding on east on 74.
I knew I would be riding into the wind, but I didn't realize that I would be riding uphill into the wind. 74 climbs pretty steadily for the 19 km from Janow Lubeski to Frampol. Then it gets hilly ;-) for the next 20 km, finally climbing a big ridge - 8% grade for 1.5 km, and then gentler climbing for several more km - before descending to Szombzeszyn. That was, by far, the prettiest part of todays ride. That hilly country is some of the prettiest country I've seen anywhere.
Poland, as a physical entity, has a pretty bad image in the US. If people know anything at all about its topography, then think it is flat and boring. Southeastern Poland is neither flat nor boring, and this part of todays ride made me appreciate Poland for its scenic beauty.
I stopped in Szombzeszyn for a simple supper - beer and Priogy - befroe riding the last 20 km - again uphill into the wind - to Zamosc. When I got here, I took the wrong turn and ended up just missing the old town. I wasn't seeing any hotels, so stopped to ask a taxi driver where to find one. He was very friendly and most helpful. He, using German, told me to go to the hotel in the the old city that is recommended by Lonely Planet. He also drew me a map ;-).
When I got here and checked in, the room I was given had six windows. That was great, but only two of them would open - the opening mechanisms on four of the six windows were broken, and this claims to be a three star hotel! I went back to the desk and said I couldn't sleep in that room and they gave me another room. This one is better - the windows work - but also a double room instead of a single room. It will be interesting if they charge me extra for it tomorrow. I don't think they will.
Speaking of interesting. I asked the manager - not a clerk - about Jewish historical sites in Zamosc. This town was one of the most evenly mixed Polish/Jewish towns in Poland - and Poland was the most Jewish nation in the world - before WWII. She drew a blank. Then I asked about the former synagogue, which is now the library, and she told me where that was.