2,361km down: 3,864km to go.
I slept fitfully as it was hot and I had to get up a number of times. I looked at my phone in the morning and thought it said 6:20am so I woke Walli up and told her we were late and that we had 10 minutes to get dressed and get our bags over to the truck. I went outside to check the weather, all the tents were still up. “Hmm, strange” I thought and went back and checked the phone, 5:25am – oops. I told Walli that she actually had another hour of sleep. Amazingly she hopped back into bed, turned over, and was out to it again, man she has a gift. As said previously she lies down at night, shuts her eyes, and is gone until the morning.
It was nice and cool in the morning; I wore arm warmers for the first time for awhile. After breakfast I set off straight away to try and get as much done as possible before the day got hot!
I rode straight out of camp into a hill that was about 4ks up, my legs were not happy but I just took my time. At the top there was a field with about 100 storks in it, this was in a clearing in the forest, they must come to it to get frogs etc. It was misty but streaks of sun and really was very pretty looking down into the valley.
After a short down gradient we went along what I thought was nearly the top, then we started to climb again, there was a sign “4% gradient” which I did not think too much about as I can get up much steeper hills. All I can say is either someone has a sense of humour or there was a 1 missing from before the 4, because oh my god was it steep! I got halfway up it and it leveled off for a short bit so I took the chance to unclip my cleats and get off and walk. The bit just before it leveled off I was not sure I would get up and also knew I was going so slowly that would not be able to unclip the cleats either.
After this there was another small downhill, then along another ridge, then once again climbing up for 5k approximately, steady grinding, followed by 6k downhill. However this was steep and my hands were very sore from braking at the end of it. On this hill I was passed by Brian and Scott on the way up and John on the way down. I did get up to 52k on the way down at times, but to give you an example of other riders speed downhill, Michele clocked 84k.
After that the ride to lunch was rollers, I managed to get to the lunch truck first (for the first – and no doubt last – time). After lunch it was good riding – some up but nothing significant, 3k on a dirt road that I got off and walked a bit as it was steep and uneven on the down bits, back roads around a town and then onto the E50 highway for the last 15k, which was mostly downhill gradient and small hills.
By the time I got to the turn off to camp no one had passed me so with only 1.4k to go I booted it. I got to camp first, once again no doubt the first and only time. I certainly had comments from a number of other riders such as did you have rocket fuel for breakfast.
Once again I got a cabin, very basic and small, just two beds and a small table but with an outside porch and just across from toilet – although outside but close with a concrete path.
We are in Slovakia now and the big difference is that the level of English spoken is less, neither of the owners of the last two camps spoke any English, to get a cabin is quite a mission. Today the lady owner was convinced I wanted to pay for my space in the camp site, but we got there in the end. I had to fill in a guest form but had forgotten to take my glasses and could not see it enough to fill in, so was thinking “Blast, I will have to go and get them” (I can ride my bike for hours but hate having to walk an extra 3 or so minutes!). Luckily the owners husband noticed I was having trouble and gave me his to use and even more lucky – they worked.
Also, none of the hotels we have stayed at have had a laundry but this place does, so I was able to get my washing done. To aid communication I took the bag full of washing and soap powder to the office and pointed. She did try to give me instructions but gave up and came over and started the machine for me. This was lucky as the washer had a steel container that you had to clip and unclip which could have caused me some problems.
Neither of the past two places have had Wifi either, so I have been doing this and saving to the outbox, I am hoping the emails will not disappear when I close it, and also wishing I had tried this when I had only done the first day!
I have had a lazy afternoon, and am looking forward to dinner which is another hour away. When I got to the lunch truck I was not very hungry and did not make a takeaway sandwich as camp was only 30k from lunch . However I have since found out I got to the lunch truck at 10am so it’s quite a long time from then until dinner around 6pm. I could ride the 1.4k into the village and back but will wait as only an hour to go now.
I am pleased that I got to the camp at 11:40am, that was good going with some significant climbs in there.