Friday 18 June 2010

Circuit Rider is going on holiday

I'm off for a week today - on a cycling holiday! I'll be travelling with two very good friends of mine - Ryan and Ciaran - from Munich to Venice, mostly on the Via Claudia Augusta. Needless to say, heavy rain is forecast for the weekend, but we'll try not to let that dampen our spirits. I won't be blogging on the go this time, but I intend to post a slideshow here when I get back. Our planned route is shown on the map below.

View Munich-Venice in a larger map

Tuesday 15 June 2010

The forty-nine steps and other thrilling tales

Stage 1, day 4 (Monday, 17 May 2010)  
Králíky to Náchod (98 km)

I peek nervously out of the window first thing on Monday morning. The rain has stopped. My clothes and boots have (almost) dried out overnight. So far, so good. The weather forecast on breakfast TV is not too bad, although they’re showing footage of catastrophic flooding in areas I’ve been cycling through over the past couple of days. I’m feeling much refreshed after a good night’s sleep. At breakfast a fine cup of tea with fresh milk cements my decision. The owner of the hotel is just going into a monologue on the bleak future of “the whites” in Europe when my wife rings from Prague. I tell her I’ve decided to keep going. She doesn’t sound overly impressed.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

From Golden Mountains, through the Golden Mountains to the Golden Swan

Stage 1, day 3 (Sunday, 16 May 2010)
Zlaté hory to Králíky (111 km)

I'm up and over another climb. This should be the easy bit: the descent into the Polish town of Lądek-Zdrój. But it's not. The driving rain obscures my vision. There's a hairpin ahead. I squeeze the brake levers, but nothing happens; I'm still hurtling into the turn. I squeeze harder, and harder still. When the rain-sodden brakes do finally bite I'm already into the bend and my rear wheel skates outwards across the wet and potholed surface. I control the skid and keep going. A driver overtakes me. Couldn't he wait for a wider section? Can't he see how the wind is blowing me all over the road? My wind-chilled hands begin to sting. My boots slowly fill up with water. Wasn't this trip supposed to be fun?

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Ups and downs

Stage 1, day 2 (Saturday, 15 May 2010):
Opava to Zlaté hory (104 km)

I'm wrecked. I'm still only half way up this climb, but there's steam rising off my back, snot streaming out of my nose and I'm gasping for air. It's been gloomy all day, but it's even darker now as I enter the misty forest and dusk starts to fall. I round the last of three hairpins and grind to a halt. Serves me right for blogging on about loving the hills. Idiot. And then a thought occurs to me. That camera of mine has a video function. Maybe if I film myself it will take my mind off the pain. Perhaps some of the visitors to my blog will even enjoy watching me suffering like this. It's time for Circuit Rider CZ to go multimedia.