Two * guys
728 kilometers of great adventure
and no sensible preparation **
Can they make it ?!
Find out this June
only on Poland Gravel Race track! ***

* and a half
** physical
*** read in a very serious voice of the teacher.

The Poland Gravel Race route is not a simple matter. If you add to this the experimental stages, the passability of which is to be checked before the race, it even becomes quite difficult. This is mainly due to the combination of length, surface, number of shops and accommodation, weather and potential service points. It does not matter that the winner of the race needs a little more than a day to cover these 540 km and cover more than 10 km vertically.

We decided to do it as usual (recently) with dignity, or at least its remnants. 3 days plus one for the return to Krakow and the accommodation is booked in advance. It is not an easy topic with these accommodations, but thanks to having many free minutes on the phone, it was done. Specifically, I am talking about "unlimited minutes", because more or less this is what it takes to stay overnight in the mountains on a long weekend. You can read about the route itself in last year's post: Not Poland Gravel Race (not PGR). This year's edition was not much different, and fragments that were different will definitely not be included in the event. You're welcome.

Plan.

The plan was simple and it was realized on the 100%:

On Wednesday, after work, we go Pendolino to Krakow, and then by train Berlin - Przemyśl (in fact Berlin - Kyiv / Lviv) to Przemyśl. We spend the night there in PWSW dormitory. I highly recommend.

On Thursday morning we set off for the night in Cisna. It's 190km and 3800m up - a lot of it is terrain, so your back is glaring as if someone was baseball all night long. We sleep in Bacówka Pod Honem in Cisna. Link to Strava.

Friday is 204km and 3,960m up. Thanks to Tufo Speedero tires, it takes us much longer than we would like and despite the start at 7:30 and driving interrupted only by defects and one shop, we do not make it before dark. On that day, Krzysztof was also supposed to join us, but due to the rain, he only joined the accommodation - Agritourism Pod Grzybkiem. Link to Strava

Saturday, the three of them are 180km and 3530m up. The Tufo Speedero lands in the trash, and the bike repays Michał with the lack of 3 teeth in the table top, which does not make the ride easier. Exactly the lack of 2 teeth and the delamination of one into two - from a mathematical point of view, he only misses one, but it doesn't seem to work that way. We check in at Głodówka almost before dark. Link to Strava.

Sunday is always a patisserie, because the end of a long weekend and the route Podhale -> Krakow. This time in a slightly longer version, but more pleasant than last year's. I doubt that, like last year's, it would be faster by bike than by car, but the leitmotif this year is "dignity". In Krakow, we practically enter Zakrzówek and, like new ones, we sit down to the return Pendolino in the evening. Link to Strava.

Dignity.

This year's ride is an experiment. Our this year's cycle mileage at the beginning of June definitely does not exceed 3000 km, of which 30% was still in January. I also don't remember when I last left the oxygen zone or exceeded the average of 20 km / h. Not counting Kaszebe Round, of course, but there it was justified by the magical properties of lard and the presence of przemekzawada.com.

I absolutely do not want to draw general conclusions from the statistical sample with the number 2, but I inform you on my own example: reasonably long routes can be traveled with head and experience. We get up in the morning, well-rested, go to sleep when it gets dark. We go from breakfast to dinner with a break for a stop at the store. Well, one shop for several hours of driving may not sound reasonable and worthy, but it is enough for us. While it is impossible to ride fast without proper preparation, you can ride for a long time. All you need is the right approach. If I have learned something during these several years of driving the road, it is that the main enemy is stress and unnecessary worries. That "what will happen if", that "can I make it", that "a friend will be waiting". When you're at ease, life is much simpler. Basically it's like this song:

In your heaaaaaad, in your heeeeeeeaaaaaaaad
Zombies, zombies, zombies
What's in your head, in your head

And even this zombie cutout is a bit correct.

Of course, one fine day it may turn out that this approach does not work and we will die in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere, but this is not the moment. It was also not the moment when, at 3400 m above sea level, in In the Taiwanese mountains Sylvia's brake cable brokewhen in Morocco suddenly hit 45 ℃, and we were burying with some rubble or when it was over over 200km of driving in typical Norwegian weather we waited for the water to drip from the rock to dissolve Huel in the water bottle and reach any civilization. Only peace can save us. Well, let's agree, if in these times a man still had to stress about his hobbies, where is the point?

We pass the route 95% satisfied and with a smile on our face. The remaining part is shoeing on the Main Beskid Trail, pushing the bike and moments of dissolving on the asphalt boiling from the sun and tourists returning from Podhale from a long weekend.

The discovery that we are content to drive non-stop from morning to night for a few days puts in some form the question mark of getting in shape.

Comparing year to year, most of the segments on the route are driven with +/- 2%

Differences due to weather conditions and random variables are completely negligible. Maybe because we're just going. So we are not a better version of myself from yesterday, but we are not inferior either. Thanks to the lowering of standards and expectations, this is enough. 

Route.

I knew the PGR route quite well. However, I do like how your brain flattens and compresses everything over time. This is a good word.

The route in my head looked something like this:

Day I

Imagination: First, a steep climb of Przemyśl, which kills the weak and warms the strong for a good day. Then a little in the forest, some hills, some asphalt, crossing the river, some gravel hills again. There is asphalt on the hundredth kilometer and the only shop that day - at the Bieszczady Loop, where we probably meet the only cars of the day.

Reality: Yes, he has some hills. At the hundredth kilometer we already have 2,500 meters up.

Imagination: Then a little through the forest and a little bit of land as far as the San. A little more thanks to the experimental snippet. From the San river, there is a light asphalt driveway that leads directly to a substitute of civilization, i.e. the village of Smerek. Then a little uphill and a gravel road down to Cisna

Reality: A bit of terrain up to the San is with 60 km of chopping on a curve, thanks to which the back feels like sleeping on a rolled sheet. This light asphalt climb also starts cool, because it is over 2.5 km with an average of 7.5% on the terrain.

Imagination: There will be peace and quiet in Cisna, but we will not sleep in the hut, because I have a 5-person room, which we will probably share with other people.

Reality: The Butcher's Run is taking place in Cisna, so everything is cluttered with runners. In the room, to our surprise, we are alone, so great luxury, but early in the morning patter of small and large feet appears, because it turns out that the route of the run is right under our, not very tight door.

Day II

Imagination: A very pleasant day - a bit of hills, somewhere in the middle we will meet Krzysiek driving towards us. On the way, the most beautiful areas in the country. Some new fragments on the route that promise to be exciting

Reality: We do not meet Krzysiek, because he will not come to us in the downpour. The downpour that we see everywhere around us, but not above us. The new fragment turns out to be an hour's walk for the very persistent. The grounds are really beautiful, especially in the vicinity of the Magura National Park, so that it would not be too great, Michał grabs a slipper (not the first one on this trip), which is not covered with milk anymore. At this point, I remember his words on the day of departure: This tire is installed so *** hard that if it does not seal, I go from my shoe to the train. Well, as it turns out, there are places in the world that are impossible to walk from shoe to train - this is one of them, especially in the evening. An hour later, he goes with an inner tube ... which a few kilometers before the night's overnight, needs to be changed again. In addition, it is great, although I swear a bit on my memory, which has deleted a lot of climbs. It really isn't an easy route.

Day III

Imagination: Wierchomla, Nurseries, something in Podhale and we eat pancakes in Głodówka. Two climbs and the end.

Reality: There were actually two climbs, but apart from them, there were also many others that I erased from my memory - even the Brzegi itself, which practically leads to the finish line, is a difficult topic. On the way, Michał throws away his Tufo and buys a new tire. Now there are times when you enter the store and ask for any gravel tire, you get something for PLN 280 or a used one. Then he loses two more teeth from the crank to the set, and the third tooth delaminates, so we have to put the chain on quite often. Thanks to the adventures, of course, we do not manage to close the kitchen in Głodówka, so we are the last guests in a kebab in Bukowina. So much the latter that there is not even a kebab in the kebab anymore, so we eat hambuks. To make you feel nice at the end of a hard day, each of us takes a different one. Sorry.

4th day

Imagination: We are going among cars to Krakow in unimaginable heat. In the evening we get on the train with maximum sweat

Reality: the heat is more unimaginable than we imagined its unimaginable. We modify the route a bit, so maybe we are slower than cars, but it is tolerable when it comes to traffic congestion. We board the train like newborns, because we spend the saved time on a visit to Zakrzówek. We fall into the lake in full gear. The things we saw at Zakrzówek will stay with us forever.

Summary.

I always recommend the route, although I will probably not be taking it anymore as part of the tour. Well, maybe someday as part of an event, with one civilized overnight stay in the vicinity of Komańcza. Meanwhile, I am going no further to ride in preparation for the next adventures. Just remember that according to the internet rules, I do not take any responsibility for the words I wrote here.