Day 15 – Saturday – Stuck in Northern Greece

Start 07:00am End 09:00pm– 14hrs ride time including breaks
270k ridden
??m climbing

day 15

Almost there…

But istanbul felt as far away as ever

I did a 260k day… I wanted a lot more but the wind was a constant strong easterly. I’m used to lanza winds, so it’s expected, but it was just so slow going. It was frustrating

I started at 7, (waited for 5 mins for the local Lidl to open only to realise it opened at 8 doh).  Instead I found a cashpoint and a bakery up the road for coffee, and more cheese filo pastries, and the most chocolately croissant I have ever had.

Found dinner in an enormous supermarket / café in a petrol station.  Meatballs, rice and icecream to finish.
The riding was flat and dull today (Kavala was lovely though with a stunning roman aqueduct through the end of the town but bastard cobbles round the center of town).  I did bump into lots of familiar riders today – Mathias the Dane, Jon and Simon amongst others,some others in a bad way due to illness.

However, the last 40k got interesting, (ie not what I wanted!).

The first sign for Istanbul.  Thank fuck
The first sign for Istanbul. Thank fuck

I used google maps and google street view for planning, (saving the routes in ridewithgps)  I also use strava heat maps to find out which roads cyclists were using.  This really helped in places….. (with my route into Sarejevo obviously being used by mountain bikers!)  Here my route headed of the route 2 road I had been following all across Greece, and it promptly headed up the first of 3 climbs, (800m in total). wtf. They were better than the Surrey hills, the decents being lovely switchbacks but sometimes you can do without the stunning riding
I was out of water, low on snacks and massively unhappy
I was swearing a bit, ok quite a lot

However I eventually dropped down off the hills and realised in reality the main road had the same problem – it also had to get over the set of hills. That did (eventually) male me feel better
I made it into the main town Alexandropupili or something) and bought lots of fluid and then onto my hotel after another 10k by 9:30
I shower, eat 2 servings of solvaki and desert) and get eaten alive by mossies as this is on the border of a national park of a river delta
Oh dear

The plan for tomorrow was 350k  – that was the same as the 250k I did today, (7am to 9pm), then eat, get supplies and just keep riding till I’m done.
It would mean a late finish, for the missus if she comes and sees me) but why bivvy or hotel with 100k to go
Getting supplies will be pretty key, especially water. It’s not a flat final 250k
I was so looking forward to getting this done – I was loving and hating it at the same time

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