Natalia Ptas discovers that time flies and that revisiting your childhood cycling memories is possible.
This July I celebrated 20 years of living in Colorado. Where did the time go? I can’t believe that I have lived in Colorado more than half of my life! This makes me a native, right? Well, maybe not. I still consider Poland my home and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than going home and riding my bike on the roads where I learned how to ride a bike.
Cycling has always been a big part of my life. As a kid bike was my main transportation. I rode my bike all over town visiting friends, grocery shopping, and I rode because it simply brought me a lot of joy. Southern Poland is beautiful and home to the Tatra Mountains which form a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. Compared to the Rockies, the Tatras are small, only 50 miles long and 12 miles wide, but just as beautiful with majestic peaks reaching over 8,000 feet. Ever since I moved to Colorado the Ride Around the Tatras has been on my bucket list. Many of my friends do the ride every year and my dad has done it every single year since the ride was born 21 years ago. This year I finally made it happen. I packed my bike, hopped on the plane and 20-some hours later, I arrived in my hometown Nowy Targ.
The ride is 125 miles long with over 8,500 feet of elevation gain and takes you around the entire Tatra Mountain range. You go through many mountain towns, cross the Poland/Slovakia border twice, encounter horses which are still used for transportation in this part of the world, watch out for dogs chasing you and trying to bite your ankle, roll through a beautiful countryside, and always have the Tatras as your backdrop. The ride was definitely one I will never forget. If you have never considered Poland as a cycling destination, maybe you should. I do hope to return soon.