So Low

My bike poses atop The Crag.

Some bike blogger I turned out to be!

I just went 62 days between rides. I counted.

Yes, I've been busy, sure, and I was sick with bronchitis for a few weeks, and I got married in there somewhere, but jeesh. Sixty-two days?!

It's hard to believe as I write this (where it's cold and dark and dreary outside), but the weather was actually exquisite in Prague not too many days ago. In fact, we set a record for the warmest November weekend in Prague history, at something like 21 Celsius, or almost 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Truly amazing.

I asked around to see if anyone wanted to head out on the trails with me on such a glorious day but could find no takers. So I headed out alone, just me and my bike and my spaghetti legs and iPod.

And what a day it was.

With NPR's "All Songs Considered" podcast to keep me company, I ventured from my house in Černý Vůl, west of Prague, down through Únětice to Roztoky (nothing happening at the site of our beloved Koliba, by the way), then along the river to Lysolaje, then up through some nasty construction to V Šáreckém údolí, and then up to the fantastic Croatian restaurant at Jeneralka called Chorvatský Mlýn. (I remember when this ride from Podbaba up V Šáreckém údolí used to take everything I had. Today, even though I'm out of shape, it's nothing, really. I guess I can still take some faint pride in that.)

From there, I headed into my old route into Divoká Šárka, with the aim of seeing if one of our old haunts, the beer garden near the swimming pool, was open on this day. And indeed it was. Lots of cyclists and families with babies in strollers and old folks with dogs out for a stroll on what was probably the last nice day of 2010.

The justifiably popular beer garden in the middle of Divoká Šárka.

I gassed up on a beer and a klobasa, mustard and bread and watched the rock climbers as they scaled the surrounding cliffs.

From there, it was up the very steep, paved trail just behind the beer garden (I admit I had to walk my bike part of the way), and then up to what we call The Crag, a rocky outcropping that offers sweeping views of Sarka and the surrounding countryside and city.

A lovely, but steep, trail heading up to The Crag.

The view from The Crag.

I changed my iPod to a Genius mix that included Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Kasabian, White Lies, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, The Boxer Rebellion, Maximo Park, and the XX.

Then I headed on a path that skims the edge of Sárka to another path that cuts across some farmer's field (where I recorded the audio clip below), across The World's Most Dangerous Road, to the village of Přední Kopanina. Then through the forest connecting the village to Statenice, my neighboring village, where I stopped for a second beer, which I sipped outside in the waning sunlight, and then home.


At around 25k, my legs started to give out on me. I felt pretty good otherwise, but my thighs just started to ache. Thankfully, it was pretty much level or downhill from there, so I wasn't forced to do any climbing. But it was pretty obvious that I hadn't ridden in quite some time.

Even though winter is approaching, I hope to remedy that situation.

Length of ride: 31 kilometers
Average speed: 13.7 kph
Maximum speed: 37.4 kph
Time on the bike: 2.14.23
Pivo Index: 2
Distance ridden so far in 2010: 535 kilometers

Long shadows as I head for home.

A final sunny beer in Statenice.

Despite the great weather, it was pretty sloppy out there in the forests.

I don't know why exactly, but I really like this failed photo. In the woods near Přední Kopanina, the planes fly pretty low as they make their approach to the Prague airport.

Another nice trail in Divoká Šárka.

Architectural detail near Chorvatský Mlýn.

What I believe is a relatively fresh memorial, presumably to a walker or cyclist hit by a car, along the normally bucolic V Šáreckém údolí. A disturbing development.

Shadows and patterns.

Construction scene sculpture in Lysolaje.

I came up behind a group of horse riders on my bike near Únětice. These kinds of encounters always make me nervous, since I'm afraid my presence, coming up from behind, will spook the horses. I always slow down or stop and make sure everyone knows I'm there before proceeding past. I had one unfortunate experience with this a few years back.


Near Únětice.


But you did it!...let's pick up in the new year, not sure I can face those ice-rides of years gone bye bye. But lets be out there early next year and reclaim the environs! Well done.
Grant Podelco said…
Thanks, man. Funny, those ice rides hold no allure for me, either. But I feel that I must get out there on at least some of those snowy and gray days. Let's resolve to pick up where we left off!!
peter morpuss said…
Hi Grant,
Love your comments, I live near prokopske Udoli near Jinonice and when I have the chance I get into the valley and ride along the river.
It feels so great to be out and about, so I understand how you feel. keep up the blog its great to read.
Grant Podelco said…
Hi Peter. Thanks a lot for the kind comments! Maybe I'll see you out on the trails sometime. It's a small world.
Karin said…
Glad to see your back in the saddle again! I was depressed when I saw your post on the "heavier riding equipment" a.k.a. motorcycles! I am a lover of the more quiet kinds of transport (or at least I think I am!). ANYWAY, your post was wonderful, lovely pics, making this old lady wish she was riding also! Ha, ha. We are visiting in Oregon (went to Eugene) and next month go to Pennsylvania.

Hope the legs are better.
Karin from Paros
Marek said…
The memorial on your picture... not a walker or cyclist, but a motorcyclist. It's the place of Dara Rolins's accident. It happened this summer.
Grant Podelco said…
That's awful, Marek. I'm so sorry. What happened?
Marek said…
This guy went fishing and when was coming home on his little scooter she crushed him with her SUV. She claimed that he was trying to avoid some pothole in the road and strayed into the opposing lane where she hit him, but some people alleged her of speeding. In my opinion the truth is somewhere in between - as usually. :-/ I remember the times where the narrow road in Sarka valley was virtually carless, but those times are long time gone.
Grant Podelco said…
Jesus. That's awful. Does she live down there somewhere, perhaps in that big house around the corner? Has she been charged with anything?
62 days is a long time not riding. But that is history? I hope you didn't also go that long without a beer. That would really make me question your dedication to life in general.
Grant Podelco said…
Truth be told I'm drinking more wine than beer when I'm not riding.

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