SLOVENIA – CROATIA
Ride Stats: 182.7 miles – 13:58 Moving Time – 8:00 stopped 6,526 ft Elevation 13.1 mph avg
The 4am alarm woke me to rain lashing at the windows driven by the ferocious wind, only one answer to that, turn over. By 6am it had abated and the women waiting for a bus was confused, so with the late start compounding yesterdays low mileage I had to get going. What greeted me shortly was warning of fun to come.
The climb from hell started, now I consider myself a very good bike handler, but steering a straight course proved impossible. One brush with a car, blown down a bank and finally being slammed into the Armco for 30 metres was no fun. I seriously considered returning to my original plan of cycling home once Italy was done.
Fortunately as tree cover increased with height gained it became manageable and my decision to not climb this last night was vindicated as I wondered about lack of water and my morning coffee reset as it really was an un populated area. At last a village forage resulted in a fast flowing water tap that looked safe enough to have back up supplies and a good refreshing wash.
The climb was comfortable and after 3 hours reached Logatec, bars and shops were reached, getting here last night would have broke me. Interestingly this was to be the start of Slovenian cycle networks, a great infrastructure and many fully laden touring riders appeared doing what must be an established route.
Thankfully the wind eased over the top towards Ljubljana and the ride and scenery could be enjoyed. Slovina was a great country to visit, and one I need to return to with more time to explore. Now its time for Croatia, still in the Euro zone but funny money required. Not a great deal of change initially, a 5km stretch of good gravel road through a wooded area but good going round the south of Zagreb.
To make up for the late start I hit some fast food and stocked up, intending to ride through the night. More gravel in the dark added some spice then as the land levelled into long flat plains the temperature plummeted. The cool air started to cause my knees to ache, and once again not wanting to push through with body pain I stopped around midnight. An open bus shelter for tonight and one of my strangest wild sleeping experiences ensued.
Around 1am a car sped up and stopped as if it was targeting my location, a voice then started shouting at my feet. I’m still not sure what really went on, I surfaced stared at this drunken young lad, he shouted and I’m sure I heard “Pieterson” in his ramblings. He got back in the car and sped off with a purpose. Was he a dot watcher urging me to get going again, totally mad, I never felt threatened and went back to sleep no problem.
A long lonely day in a strange country, it really started to feel like a big experience today.
Lessons learned: It will get better, ride out the rough times.
The Party Line (187/day for Fri finish): Small drop again but still healthy at 197 a day average
TCR Continued Day 8