Day 10 – Into Bosnia, and my brain starts to fall apart

Start 07:00am End 10:00pm – 13hrs ride time including breaks
310k ridden
1900m climbing

day 10

Up at 6:30, breakfast at 7am in the morning and off out of the hotel I go. I went heading south east out of Croatia into Bosnia.  90% of riders headed straight south, straight into the mountains, bypassing Sarajevo to the east, then more mountains to Kotor. 2 full days, 3000m + climbing both days

I decided to be clever and while route planning, I found a western route into Sarajevo.  It was longer (by 100k) but had just 500m of climbing, all at 1% – ie up the river valley. What could possibly go wrong?  Fast, flat and I’ll be fresh by then end….

So over the border into Bosnia, and all was good.  The major roads that I did the route planning on turned out to be single lane roads….  After a couple of hours, I got to the main E73/M14 heading for Sarajevo. It was busy but ok – the busiest road i’ve been on so far. Stay on the white line and there was plenty of room for the trucks / trucks with trailers to pass. It helped to stop pedaling as they came by, so they could pass faster and swing in sooner. It got more interesting when a lorry was coming the other way at the same … Hmm.

Sometimes the road was ground / the top scrapped off – so bad to ride on.  No idea why they do that.

Morning passes, pizza for lunch at Maglaj, and on I go into the afternoon.  Eventually I jump onto a minor road. Yay, I could then ride out of the gutter, and all was good. Then the road gets smaller… And turned into gravel. ffs.  5k of gravel really pisses me off. No problem though, my ride notes say there is a town ahead, with a hotel or four as time is moving on.

I hit the town – Zeneca. It’s like something out of Mad max…industrial, flames belching out of chimneys, get me out of here (I am still being a bit fussy)

80k to Sarajevo, 4 hrs, I’ll be there by 9. Game on.

The minor road leaves town, and another 10k of gravel ensues… Time evaporates
It starts raining.
I find loose dogs for the first time…   and I learn to sprint in a hurry as I survive my first dog chase
It gets dark
I almost come down crossing a set of wet railway lines at a 30 degree  angle to the road. It scared the crap out of me
I go through an industrial wasteland, (coal mines, limestone mine??, cement works etc)
then I hit a town. Its manic, and I start to lose it.
I start eyeing up some bus shelters
I do the first sensible thing for a while and buy some food from a bakers, pizza and 2 chocolate pastry things.  I stash them in my bag.
I see a hotel on the corner… It’s very neon blue, and full of people enjoying themselves. None of them are cyclists.
I stupidly move on… It’s not far to Sarajevo after all
Still raining 30 k to go…its now 10:30 at night  The road surface is crap, the puddles cover the pot holes, its busy on the roads and I cant see a lot due to the rain.
I still need to find an open hotel when I get there…
For some reason mobile data does.not work on my phone… I see a pension serving food. Do you have any rooms?..No… I move on.

I pass a pack of wild dogs around the (crappy) end of the last suburb. Bins = wild dogs…
I am really freaking out now and start looking for bus shelters as I have to get off the road.   This is really hard and I am struggling mentally
I pass a house being built.. Hmm
Then a shed being built – 40 m from the adjacent property, Next to the main road / and with a motorway next door

In I go. No roof, but it’s stopped raining and the planking inside is pretty dry. Out comes the bivvi bag and sleeping bag. I get 4 hrs sleep max, but I feel safe.  I eat my pizza slice and croisants. The streetlamp overhead and motorway next door don;t help with sleep quality.  I put my tcr cap over my eyes.  Tomorrow is another day

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  I should have got off the road and found some where to eat.. – how about the pension I found?  Let the traffic die down a little then pushed into Sarejevo.  5k further on and the road was way better.  I bottled it, but hey, I was out of my comfort zone at this point

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