Day 20: Nový Jičín, Czech Republic to Cieszyn, Poland

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Start: Nový Jičín, Czech Republic
End: Cieszyn, Poland
Distance: 78.7km
Elevation Gain: 3562ft
Elevation Loss: 3526ft
Time: 7h25m
Reading Material: The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown – Hugh Agnew
Audio Material: EconTalk; All Hail West Texas (in honor of recently announced reissue) and Sweden – The Mountain Goats; Bullseye; The World in Words

Here’s how you know you’re in for a tough day: ski lifts. They look pretty and the local houses nearby that are decked out as ski lodges are cozy but it also means that you’re going to be climbing. I had flashbacks to one of my “favorite” rides back home, the Six Gap Vermont Death Ride which crests the Middlebury Snow Bowl ski mountain of college racing fame. Today was nowhere near as crazy as that ride, but 3000+ climbing with 80lbs of gear and a 40lb bike still isn’t easy.

Had an impromptu lunch of what I can only describe as uncooked Spätzle. A woman had a little stand on the side of the road selling homemade food items. I am completely incapable of riding past homemade food. She first offered a large pie (appealing but probably too big) and then these bags of noodles. She offered a taste, so it seemed fine to eat them raw as is. A full bag served as lunch.

I hadn’t planned on it, but made good time and crossed over into Poland. I stopped at Cieszyn in Poland, a literal border town with the city split in two after WWI with the Czech half being called Český Těšín and Poland getting the larger part as Cieszyn. The old town square is pretty but Cieszyn hasn’t done as well as Olomouc protecting the core and there are cars all over making it less appealing for walking. However, there is a centrally located Kaufland Supermarket letting me load up on essentials (post-ride Mountain Dew; bar soap and actual shampoo; border crossing ritual ATM and mobile phone store for new sim card).

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