"It never gets easier, you just go
Greg LeMond + me
Ring of 1000 Lakes
630km it sounds proud. I will never forget the first time I was able to ride my bike for 100 km. A lonely trip from the center of Warsaw to Zegrze seemed to be an amazing achievement at that time. Splendor, glory and disbelief of friends. Today, a few years later, this is my average annual distance traveled every time I take the road out. Perception changes as the people you ride with change. It becomes normal to meet more and more cyclists who cover 100, 200, 500 or 1000 km at a time. Even though I have traveled over 200 and sometimes even 300 km routes many times, it was hard to imagine longer ones. Mainly because it's hard to pack them in one day. When I heard an offer to tour Masuria in one day, I didn't think much about it. I quickly managed to convince two more people and with a harmonious, 4-person squad, we set off to conquer. 3 guys and a girl. Words cannot describe this journey, so I prepared two films: upstairs one for impatient and hungry actions, downstairs in the "until supper" version.
Preparations, or where to get electricity?
When it comes to fitness, we were ready for this distance. Mentally too, we have no problems to talk about daily. We only prayed for good weather. Luck was good for us - we managed to drive the whole thing for a short time, putting on only sleeves for the night. We arrived at the place at 1 am. Considering the start at 8 and return just after the marathon - the planning weeks have failed somewhere. Several emergency bars for the pockets, a GPS transmitter for the frame, a jacket, spare batteries, a telephone, money and a map for the seat and we were ready. In the middle of the distance, we had bags with a repack, which means more food, more emergency clothes and more batteries. In retrospect, I'm glad that we did not look at the route. I will remember till the end of my life that there are hills in Mazury. It is true that it is low but countless ...
The route, or the day of gossiping
We started the route in small groups. As novices, we were released first. Krzysiek, who was to be our traveling mentor, left last, so he caught us only when we were showering halfway. Quite quickly we stayed in 3rd and so the first 300km passed. On the way, we missed the first checkpoint, and the second one was just parting when we got to him. In fact, I do not know what we ate. It seems that every 80km of checkpoints, combined with bars and ice cream from roadside stores, were enough for us. It was amazing that we met the first cyclists that caught up with us only around 300km. As it turned out later, despite the relatively recreational drive, with stops for food and one longer refreshment, we managed to get close to the first decade - we also brought the only girl who completed the entire route.
At night, the pace grew quite seriously because we were able to connect to a larger group, thanks to which our visibility improved significantly. Although the route was not frequented by roads, it was quite important. Up to 500 km was quite luxurious (however abstract it sounds), keeping the average speed from driving around 30km / h, then the drama came. Poor surface, early morning, rising hills and buried points with food. Finding a place to sign up on the list at 4 am, after 20 hours of driving can really demotivate. We completed the final kilometers slower than the average Kenyan runner, but we did it. A few hours of rest and return to Warsaw. In the car we changed the driver every half hour, because we discovered a never-before-seen level of fatigue. Fatigue, at which you could not do anything - even lie and sleep.
Summary, or "let's go again!"
The next day, oddly enough, we did not feel the expected fatigue. There was no part of the body that would suffer. You only get a lack of sleep. It was, however, the silence before the storm - cumulative exhaustion and pain came on the second day. Would we go again? For sure. I realize, however, that weather plays a key role here. It would not be cool in the cold or rain - no one likes to sit wet for 24 hours. I think that despite the training recommendations, thanks to which I would probably approach the top local races, I will try 300+ distances more than once. Only the weather, health and equipment allowed. Will I pass the Bałtyk-Bieszczady Tour, that is 1008km across Poland? That was the plan, basically the Ring we went to get the qualification for BB. Now I know, however, that I doubt I will ever decide. Ambitions will not let me sleep on the road, and with my passion for sleep, I can not imagine driving a second day on public roads in the company of trucks. It seems that 600km is a reasonable limit.
In total, we managed to drive over 630km (there was an access and return from the starting point), beating almost 3500 meters vertically. However, the memory will remain for the rest of my life. I have never been to Masuria for more than a few hours before (Mazovia races) - now, thanks to one weekend, I can say that I have roughly toured them.
Strava link: http://www.strava.com/activities/162531792