Slodkow, a small Polish town near the end of the worse part of todays ride
I had another long day today and this long day had both bad wind, low temperatures, and a good bit of riding in the rain. Still, I started out riding to Lublin, the major city in this part of Poland, and ended up 20 miles north of Lublin. I had, because of the rain, a neat visit with a man who worked in England for two years before recently coming back to work in Poland. A lot of people who left for good jobs in other countries, are now coming back here because they can now get good jobs here. I also met people in both Bulgaria and Romainia who had come back to work in their own countries. This is a good situation for the EU in that it shows that the EU can support a guest-worker culture that allows workers to go where the jobs are without creating assimilation problems.
19 got its shoulder back almost immediately after I started riding it this morning
and kept it, albeit in often in bumpy form, almost all day
I had a good night sleep but, when I went down for breakfast, I noticed that it was very windy, cloudy, and quite cool. The wind blew hard all day from the west. Most of the day, I was headed north-east, so I had a strong side-tail wind. That didn't slow me down, but, since it was coming across the road it made for really challenging wind gust from passing trucks! For a bit over 30 km, I was going west or north west and the riding was quite hard. This section was the most climbing and was the most exposed to the wind, so I spent a lot of time climbing into a stiff, gusty wind, and cursing.
The first 30 km had a lot of this
Easy riding on a great shoulder with trees blocking the wind
The riding was mostly very good until 19 joined 74 which runs between Krasnic and Zamosc. As soon as I turned towards Krasnic, I wondered if maybe I should go to Zamosc instead of Lublin. There is a lot to be said for going where the wind blows, especially when it is blowing hard! However, I had ridden 74 to Zamosc before and going the other way meant seeing new places. It was only 31 km to Krasnic and then i would be riding northeast again. It wasn't a fun 31 km - it took almost 50% longer than the first 30 km - but I made it to Krasnic for lunch at 1 PM.
Looking back after climbing, on the dirt, 1 km of steep hill into the wind
That one lane, one way at a time, section grouped traffic
Riding in the strong wind with no shoulder
The vehicles on this section came by in groups, so I got off the road when big vehicles were going by. It was hard to stay standing in the wind blasts
The first 35 km of the ride from Krasnic to Lublin was easier and faster than the ride to Krasnic, but ,as when I was riding into Hungary from Romainia, I could see rain ahead. I debated stopping for the night before I got to Lublin, but there weren't any places to stop in the last 20 km and my internal debate ended when I stopped to put on my Townie rain cover - I'd left the rain cover on the other rear pannier - put away my camera, and put on my rain gear. My timing was good - the hard rain didn't hit till just after I was ready for it - but I under estimated the wind that came with the rain. I was riding at 6 mph on level ground, head down, struggling to keep my bike, which was leaned over about 30 degrees, on the shoulder. My rain gear worked, my bike worked, but the wind and rain was so strong it wasn't safe to be riding in it.
I took this image just before I stopped to get ready for the riding in the rain
There was no shelter along the road, so, when I spotted a driveway leading to a business off the road, I headed down it. I was just looking for a place to shelter from the wind. When I pulled up behind the first building, a man was sanding in an open doorway, looking out at the storm. He invited me to come into the building, offered me coffee - which I took - and we visited for about half an hour. The business had an internet connection and he let me use it to quickly check my email and send a "I'm near Lublin" message to my tour email group. The business supplied cut stone - e.g. granite and marble - and he said it had been a small one man operation three years ago. Now it was much bigger and growing. He had worked in England for two years and had come back to Poland six month ago to take his present job. Note for folks living in the US: he had 'only' 20 working days of vacation in his first year on the job.
I had planned to ride into the center of Lublin, go to an internet cafe next to McDs and eat at McDs. After the rain ended, I rode through Lublin, ate at at a McDs, but - since I no longer felt an internet urgency, did not go into the center. As I ate, it started to rain again. I decided to ride on, in the light rain, toward Bialystok which was still about 250 km away. On my way out of Lublin, I stopped at a service station to ask about hotels north on 19. They told me there was one about 10 km ahead.
I rode ten km, or a bit more, and found that hotel. It looked like a good place to stay, but like my hotel south of Rzeszow, it was having a wedding party tonight. No room for me. The rain had stopped so I rode on north. It was 20 km more before I found a motel that had a room for me. I found it in Lubartow, with the help of some guys at service station south of here. This is the cheapest - 60 zlotys - and most basic, place I've stayed in Poland, but, other than noise from my neighbors and the neighborhood, and motel, dogs, it should be a good place to sleep. It stormed again after I got here, so it s cool enough to keep the window closed and that, and my earplugs, should keep the noise levels tolerable. Now the question is will the caffeine from that cup of espresso let me sleep?
I've debated with myself about the factors, other than age, which have made me slower and less able to handle long days on this trip. Today I saw that using caffeine really makes a big difference in how long I can comfortably keep going. My heart doctor says stay away from it and I can associate its use, while touring, with most of my atrial fibrillation incidents, so I have been avoiding it , and will continue to avoid it, but it sure does make a big difference at the end of a long day of riding!