Stage 1 of 36, day 1 of 43: 121.1km, 1969m, 6:23 moving, 7:00 total, 75.8 kph max
After a second night of only 4 hours sleep, I woke up to fog but great excitement to be finally starting this adventure. There was a massive breakfast at 7, loading the truck, then we set out around 8:15. I hadn’t really tested my bike but it was perfect. We cruised through the city for a while, then countryside. After about 20 km the fog lifted and it got really beautiful. Everyone rode at their own pace, no leader, I was with others and solo sometimes throughout the day.
It was scenic, climbing slowly the first 50 km, then we had the first and biggest of 3 big climbs. It was over 10 km climbing about 800m. I kept a sane pace and stopped once to pee and eat a banana. It was warm and slightly humid, but noticeably cooler/nicer up high. At the top of the hill we found the lunch truck and had a nice refueling stop. Bread, pesto, cheese, tomato, pickle, arugula, chips, olives, cookies and more. I didn’t stay too long but headed out soon. The descent was pretty great – lots of fast curvy fun, only occasionally braking, lots of 60+ kph which felt so nice in the cool higher-altitude air. My back had been bothering me a lot but it was fine during the ride.
After some more flattish and super scenic cruising, the second hill hit. It wasn’t as steep or as long, but I was more tired so it wasn’t a lot easier. Then there was a third one, again a little smaller – by this time we had climbed 1900m, pretty rough for a first stage. Then a final descent, even faster. One section was 18% down but was too curvy to go fast. The 10% section below was better. Slovenia has lots of electronic speed signs, and one of them I passed said 76 kph in big red letters and then drew a picture of a speed limit 50 sign. The pavement was great, the turns mellow, little traffic; it was quite safe.
Then we arrived at the famous Lake Bled. We got to ride quite a ways around it, ending at Camping Bled, a huge campground, with hot water for showers, lots of tent space, free wifi, what more do you need? It was immediately back to the routine from the Andes Trail: first a round of soup, this time coconut cauliflower, a recipe from the cook on the barge Katie and I were on in Holland recently – our cook worked on board the same barge. Plus chips, drinks, cookies as needed, nuts, candies, whatever you like it’s there. I have a giant 3 person tent and a wonderful self-inflating mattress – I set up quickly, took a shower, then settled in to write this. What a first day!
After a nap, we had dinner at 6 with lots of fun conversations. It’s so cool to be back in this life I haven’t had for the last 3 years.
Funny thing of the day: there are so many Wordle varients it’s not even funny. When someone makes the obvious Spordle (Slovenian placenames Wordle) I found a real winner today: Strnj. I tried googling it with no luck, wish I took a photo for proof.