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Published: August 24th 2008
Woke about 5am as it gets light very early and caught up on earlier blog work. I tend to get up early and type for an hour before breakfast at 7ish. Left Olsztyn at about 9.15 for the 35km ride to Nowe Kaletka training area which I had partly ridden to the day before. Getting out of town(150000 pop) is reasonably easy. Most roads are 2 laned in town and u get used to traffic lights and right turns and get in correct lane. Drivers are considerate..except of walkers at ped crossings where they don’t stop unless u actually step out and make them stop. Better than Shanghai tho where they don’t stop at all. I had to cross a 6 lane road and u actually stand in middle of it various times on the crossing and judge when to move another lane!. I was going to video it but needed to concentrate :>) Anyway..
Ride out was good..nice road lined with forests for most part and flat. Part way out came on accident..hour or so old?. One of those big Transit vans sitting on its nose wrapped round a tree..terminal I suspect. Polish drivers are mad..more on that later. There was however one other scary bit.. car coming towards me suddenly jams on brakes like he is approaching the first bend at Manfield. Smokes it all up big time and jumps out for a leak on the side of the road in plain view! I sped up and kept a wary eye as I left. I may have said this the day before..get days mixed up. Any way it gets better second time around.
Stopped in a little village for drink and bun..quite hot. Owners thought I was something different to what the normally see so they stood an looked at me outside as they swatted away the zillion wasps that try and eat your food. Got to turnoff to NK and rode for 2km down the “road’ to the hotel..well what a road. Basically concrete slabs and cobbles with slabs lifting 250mm in various places and rough as. Huge hotel which is where mtbo teams based themselves for training pre SJ..they had a pre event training camp there so must have booked in again. It wouldn’t have suited me as it wasn’t near any transport and they self cater..having to come to Olszytn for stocks anyways.
Went for an hours ride in forests..hu8ge network of tracks..lots of chalets in the woods near the hotels..popular Polish holiday area and for the local random sport..probably National of mushroom picking. Caught up with NZ team about 1.30 and had lunch..bread and capsicum from one of the guys. Watched 400m relays and 5000m as they decided whether they were going to go back to O and take me. In the end it was decided only one guy was going..Michael Wood so he and I went in his little car back via SJ so he could check out where he could pitch tent for Champs. Again the drivers are mad..they simply play dodgems as they overtake..Cars will sometimes pull to the shoulder..which I what I ride on incidentally...or not and then it is well its time to swerve in and out of as many cars as I can as cars come towards me often making it three abreast as the do it..and its constant not just one every km or so. It is mind blowing stuff! Nothing here about having 200m clear ahead before u finish etc.
Got back about 6.30 freshened up and ambled don town about 7.30 for a beer in the Old Town square..listened to some summer jazz. Great atmosphere in the place..Olsztyn is a great place to visit. There are lots of open air cafes and bars in the cobbles streets and buy the river and castle. Ate at same place as nite before..service is not great but food was filling. Got back to Hotel about 10pm..it is near station as I said before so attracts the street crowd! Harmless enough but caution s needed. Hotel as geriatric bouncers on all the time and gated and spiked carparking area. They have those big 16? Seater transit vans as ,local village shuttles it seems..good idea I think as it is cost efficient. Economy has expanded significantly here since end of communist rule but and there ar signs of boom times mixed with obvious infrastructure shortcomings. Footpaths outside of main shopping areas are in disrepair..slabs lifted etc. People don’t cross roads on other than crossings and don’t cross until green person and siren comes on..I keep looking for an emergency vehicle.
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