The weather outside the window is beautiful, but until you open the window. Autumn has begun, temperatures are dropping below 0 degrees and it’s getting harder to go outside. You can read about our latest (?) upticks on bikes in the cold in our coverage of the last Bike Orient rally of the 2015 season. You are welcome :)
If you’ve been following our blog for a long time, every now and then you’ve come across posts from bicycle rallies in which we participated as the readyforboarding.pl team :) Beginning in April, we showed up with our bikes at designated locations and searched for points in the most interesting corners of the Lodz region (and beyond). Unfortunately, all good things come to an end quickly and October inexorably arrived, and with it the last, final rally
, this time near Skierniewice, and more precisely in the Bolimowska Forest.
The rallies also include a cup classification, which is won by the participants with the most points from the top 3 editions. Before 4. rally, Kamila was leading in the women’s Mega classification, but the point differences were so small that everything was to be decided only at the finish line of the last rally.
Bike Orient 2015 Bolimowska Forest
The organizers surprised us with an early start time for the rally, so we set off towards Skierniewice as early as 6:30 am. Initially, the thermometer showed 2 degrees C, but as we approached the rally base, the temperature dropped as low as -6 degrees C!
We are definitely warm-weather people and normally do not ride bikes in such weather ;) It’s supposed to be fun for us in the first place, so so far we haven’t gotten on unicycles when it’s negative temperatures. And we specifically used here the phrase “Until now…” there is a good chance that this will change, because it turns out that it is not so bad. Fortunately, the low temperature was the only negative factor. In addition, it was very sunny, without a drop of rain.
The start was scheduled for 9 a.m., but we officially began at 9:10. In addition to an earlier start time, the organizers have scheduled more checkpoints than usual – 13 (until now there was a maximum of 11). Since the terrain was completely unfamiliar to us, it didn’t matter much to us on which part from the base the points would be scattered. As soon as we got the map we planned our route and after the starting signal we set off towards point No. 7.
We may have moved a little too quickly because we were going in the wrong direction, but fortunately we quickly figured it out and got back on the blue trail towards the fortified settlement. The first points have it that you drive in a crowd and, as a rule, this crowd knows where to go :) Nevertheless, it is worth looking at the map, because a few times we would go wrong.
The beginning was tough, however, because it took some time before the body warmed up, plus the cold was giving out. Our toes were almost falling off from the cold despite our warm gloves. From CP No. 7 we drove to CP No. 20, which is a ditch that was easy to get to (skipping one closed road). After this point, we were only cold in our toes, and quite comfortable at the top, we could go on :)
The next one, PK No. 12, was also easy to locate, the road was straight and of good quality, zero sand or mud. We then drove towards the white road (Mill Road), which we were to drive quickly to CP No. 3. It was impossible to go as fast as we had planned, it would have been faster on the forest paths, but the important thing is that we moved forward :) CP No. 3 – we wanted to find the culvert from the bottom, but here the meter count failed and eventually we ended up on the green trail, from where we reached the point through a ditch.
A quick return and we were on the Durch Road to PK 18. We were a little puzzled by the lack of other cyclists, but as we always say to ourselves “everyone is already far ahead ;) “. Only at the turn into the forest did we meet a group of cyclists. The lantern was right next to the path, so we didn’t even have to get off our bikes in search of the point. From there we drove towards the yellow road and as soon as we were on it, I took another look at the map and either we can’t count to 13 or we forgot one point.
It turned out that one point was on the edge of the folded map and escaped us ;) We were already on a paved road and such led us to CP #4, which was hidden by a ditch. Unfortunately, we made up kilometers and lost some time here (it was optimal to go from PK 3 to PK4 and only then to PK8). After PK No. 4 we had a longer stretch (about 7 km) without any points, we drove straight to PK No. 1 – the buffet.
The coolest thing about buffets is that they are the easiest points, and you can meet a larger group of participants :) Here we also realized that we hardly drank anything, because the water in the bidons was terribly cold, and for a sore throat it’s not the best idea. This is not the same as at the previous edition in Burzenin, when the water even ran out (but then it was well over 30 degrees C!). We drank an isotonic, ate fruit and continued on our way to PK No. 19.
This was probably the first rally where we were not at all reluctant to cut through the forest. As a rule, we chose paved roads, but in these areas the roads were so well marked and passable that it was easy to take shortcuts. The access to PK No. 19 was almost through some potato field or something, so we had a chance to ride in the sand at last :)
Next in line was PK No. 10 – a grave. Here the key was to find the forest path from the green trail. From the road it was faintly visible, but Kamila spotted a path between the trees with a skilled eye :) The penetration was poor, but in about 100 meters the path was already very well visible. From PK No. 10, we drove towards the point we thought would be the most difficult to locate – PK No. 2. The key was to hit the right gap between houses, measure the distance and find the right ditch. Thanks to a good exit from PK No. 10, it was easy to find a suitable cut between houses.
The ditch at PK No. 2 was very well visible, worse was the lantern. Fortunately, we made it (although we were a bit tempted by everything that grew around us). From CP No. 2 we drove to CP No. 5 – the World War I cemetery. We did not pay attention to the fact that we had planned a route from the other side of the river, but fortunately it was just a ditch and we managed to cross it on foot without any problems. Then PK No. 8, another cemetery and a lantern scrupulously hidden :)
We had good time and only one point to find – PK No. 6 (a clump of bushes). It was one of several clumps in the field, but the lantern could be seen from a distance.
With a set of points we started the finish and after 4 h 15 min we crossed the finish line :) The time for us was almost a record, but Kamila took 4th place, and thus was not “on the box” of either this edition or the Bike Orient Cup. It’s a bit of a shame, but it’s extremely gratifying to see the progress ourselves. It is going better and better, and thus we are having more and more fun :) We no longer get lost so often, we catch our bearings faster (yes, even Kamila!) and it is accompanied by super emotions and atmosphere :)
In addition, we found out that even riding in the cold can be fun, you just have to persevere and just get out of the house :)
We rode to the finish line tired, but not exhausted like last time (although maybe that means we could have given more?). As always, the organizers provided a hot meal (even vegetarian soup!) and a barbecue. Unfortunately, this time we couldn’t stay until the end, so after eating, we chatted a bit with other participants and returned to Lodz.
As always, we congratulate all the participants who took part and hope they had as much fun as we did. To the organizers thank you for another super rally well and we are already looking forward to the next season :)