In winter, we visited a land that is not very well known for cycling conquests. I do not associate any races there, I do not associate relationships with the best routes or photos. It looked like it was taken out of the horror: gray, gloomy, occasionally some gypsy, some snow. She could do scenography for a post-apocalyptic drama about the Snow Queen. If you want to know what I'm talking about, look at the pictures:

>> Link to winter photos on Facebook <<

One beautiful summer Tuesday, I woke up thinking: "I wonder how it looks in summer?". Two days later, we were an 8-person team ready to ride. What happened to us? In principle, 3 photos would be enough. Such as this:


and this:


and yet:


But that would be hurtful. I did as usual with a thousand pictures, I chose the best 50 and still did not know which 3 to choose. Let's start from the beginning.

The Tatras are great ... it's a pity that everything else is there for d *, especially during the holidays. A billion people, a billion cars, crazy drivers, Zakopianka between Krakow and Zakopane is with a little bad luck almost 5 hours of driving, and on stalls everything more expensive by 150%. We stayed in Bukovina because, due to our long weekend, everything in Slovakia was seized - apparently we not only discovered the charms of the southern neighbors. We are, of course, able to find great routes next to the place of accommodation, for example Łapszanka and Ostróda, but nevertheless we decide to use the car to leave Poland as planned. We can get to Spišská Nová Ves, from where we start the route, about an hour by car. 


We park in the city center, near Kaufland. Why is this information important? Well, Slovakia is a decent country, but not always and not everywhere. If you watched the "Lord of War", you know how quickly a plane can disappear in the desert. Locals have it well-developed. There is a good chance that the same thing will happen on the Slovak way. If you park in the wrong place, the wheels will do the local mud pools and the bodywork will be converted into ubiquitous bedding hanging around the blocks. Kaufland was perfect. When last year we were doing evening shopping in a store 2 streets away, we felt like Pacman's heroes. We collected from the shelves our counterpart of yellow dots in the form of chocolate and escaped from not-so-friendly sprites, symbolized by dirty children who necessarily wanted to take something from us. In time, with Pacman, the game changed into Snake, because a longer snakeskin of children and youth followed us. With each chocolate we were lengthened by one child. How miraculously we have reported wonderful, Slovak sugar products to the car and we survived - I do not know until today.
Returning, however, to the blocks: Imagine green meadows, hills, small river, good asphalts, a local village where shops look like they have been closed for 20 years - a bit like the south of the Beskids. Now let's put there, right in the middle of it all, with two blocks and nothing more:


Or one, but big. Before him, let's throw a thousand gypsies who sit and watch you pass by. In addition, a little overcrowded garbage containers and laundry. Washing and carpet tons. I do not know what's going on, they probably have the biggest amount of laundry I've seen. Then there are a few couples strolling around, or a 14-year-old pregnant with a pipe and a young angry who valuates our bikes out of the corner of his eye. Mandatory without a shirt, or at least without sleeves.


If it still looks too normal, you can add some dangerous silos to the block, for example with asbestos and some ruined factory. 


It basically gives the right picture of the area.

But let's get some political correctness. Slovakia, however, is not only Gypsies, carpets and hills. We start the route with a driveway. Over 10 kilometers with an average of 4%, the steepest kilometer is around 10% (in the segment's name "Huta" - taught Jarna Klasika, I start to suspect that all heavy driveways are called that way there). And it is beautiful: there are no walls, and the ramps are long and even. All are also marked as 12% - probably all over the country, only such signs have been ordered. Unfortunately, there are no impressive views. Dense vegetation covers everything. However, anyone who thinks that at the end of the hill a sensible reward awaits us is wrong. Because, because - at the top of the first, tired driveway we meet a group of Gypsies :-) No putty, middle of the forest, the road on which one car passes for 20 minutes, and on the top a whole bunch. They discuss which of us to eat first. They send a young scout who stands between us and watches. He is looking for the weakest antelope in our herd - she will die today. They rush at her with rugs. Fortunately, we are almost 600 meters down on 18 kilometers ahead of us. They will not catch us there. as Julia Wołkowa and Lena Katina sang. If anyone wants to practice a smooth downhill ride, this is the place.


Because the rides in the area are the best. Smooth road, contoured corners and voids. The car hits every few minutes, of course at the least appropriate moment. Similarly like gravel on a bend or puddle. If the downhill consist of 20 perfect corners and one not very good, then you can be sure that it will end up as below. Martin checked the grip - a week later he rides the Mountain Marathon around Poland (1122km / 13,770m in the vertical), the bruises will be useful to him on the route. It comes out of it, however, like a pros - from bigger losses: a hole in the shoe inside. Today we know that a carbon steering wheel breaks during the marathon - I wonder if it has something to do with this situation:


In Slovakia, it is more green. The trees are more, they have more leaves, they grow more densely - of course, outside the Tatra region, where all winds broke down. There are so many of them that in the pictures they look like wallpaper: (one of the few villages, fortunately there are only cottages in it - people are missing).


But it does not bother anyone. Because when the roads look like this, nothing disturbs: 


Regardless of whether we are hitting 15km / h up or 75km / h down. There are no stunning views, but it's great anyway.


On the way, the weather breaks down a bit. Exactly in the middle of the route, as soon as we are as far away from the car as possible, black clouds gather. The wind causes us to go more downhill at the downhill rides. There is no chance for shelter, however. We will not knock into a random house, because with luck, we will be treated there as a dinner or processed into carpets. Open shops along the way were from 3, assuming, of course, that "on the way" means a reflection from the route following the signs leading to Tesco or Lidl. So I recommend doing stocks whenever there is such an opportunity. There was one gas station on the way. We, following the signs, are going to Roznava. On-site Slovakian chocolate and Kofola. For this cool stairs on which you can gather strength for the next kilometer.


We pass my favorite driveway in the area - Dobszyński Kopiec. Almost 600 meters of continuous uphill on 20 kilometers. At the top, a lookout point and the best panorama that we can meet that day. Then it's only better. It looks like we have avoided the downpour. The wet road begins to evaporate and creates a climate like a Disney fairy tale.


We are approaching Kralovej holy (or in the beautiful language of our Western torturer: Königsberg). We must, unfortunately, let go of entry for 1946m. Its tip is, to put it mildly, not the best when it comes to the surface, and the day is slowly ending. I have tried once again to return in the darkness through the Slovak outback and I will not repeat it again. It is a pity that the HC class driveway is not often - 12 kilometers with an average of 9%. Just look at the Stands coms on Stravie to know what to expect: the best times are about an hour, the average one - one and a half.


The last kilometers are going great. Maybe it's because there are no more cars. Maybe because we can not see any loss in the asphalt. Maybe it's rural landscapes that have changed beyond recognition in 6 months (I refer to the photos linked at the beginning). Or maybe just the fact that the last 30 kilometers are downhill.


And it would seem that if there is a constant downhill ride in the plan, it will go quickly. Unfortunately, not every route designated with the "use popularity" option is perfect, you must also read the segment markings. We get a fragment: "Paris - Roubaix Betlanovce", and then it is only better, because the asphalt disappears completely. Similarly like everything except sand and grass.


We're going back to town. Not very beautiful blocks of flats from the Silesian Jastrzeb look slightly caricatural in the background of the Tatras. It is important, however, that the car is standing where it stood. In half an hour we will be in the center of Poprad, hunting the market for fried cheese ... or a pizza: cheap and tasty, unlike cheese. Half an hour in the store, however, often stretches when we fall hungry on the department with sweets. # JadęByJeść.


Who do I recommend these around? Anyone who has the makings of a small explorer. They are mostly undiscovered by our cyclists. Relationships and photos are missing from the internet. Due to the condition of roads, gradation and movement: ideal as the beginning of an adventure with road cycling for every Masovian highlander. It is a pity that by canceled flights Warsaw-Poprad you have to push through Zakopianka




Track is cut off a bit. I have accidentally sold my Garmin and I have to temporarily use the "Strava iPhone App" which can not be used in such cases. More photos coming soon fejsbuku.