Balkan Stage 4 Bovec to Trieste, Italy

Sept 8, 2022

Stage 4 of 36, day 4 of 43: 146.82km, 1682m climb, 6:44 Moving, 7:34 Total, 66.1 kph max


We started out the normal way, with a big Bike Dreams breakfast at 7am. Everyone was ready early since the forecast was for rain most of the day, starting soon. So we headed out before 8am and cruised along, down the valley.

Nice cruising before the rain

It was pretty, following the famous Soča River (known as the “Emerald Beauty”). It has an amazing emerald color, everywhere.

The Soča River
From the “Napoleon Bridge”

We rode in a group, on gorgeous uncrowded roads, with a funny river crossing at one point. At about 40 km, I felt first one drop, then many, then pretty quickly it was raining, hard. I added shoe covers and a rain jacket at a little bus stop, missing a massive downpour, but there were so many more that before long I was soaked. There were a bunch of one-way construction zones with traffic lights, but soon, we got to turn off on a little-used road that climbed up steeply and consistently, 9-11% mostly, 600m total.

We were still 2 km from the top when I came upon the lunch truck, setup with rain shelters. It was absolutely pouring and SO nice to get off the bike and refuel.

Wet lunch

I left in a lull and then got soaked finishing the last 2 km to the top. Then lots of rolling and down, and up again… I wasn’t very psyched. Finally I stopped around 80 km for a snack in a tiny bus stop. 6 or 7 riders came by pretty quickly and I jammed the food in my mouth and took off and caught them. We road up another 200m hill, and rested/ate/peed on top at just over 100 km.

A funny tunnel
At 123 km we got to the Italian border

After crossing into Italy, the road went up and down for a while and I was not feeling strong or motivated. But then I came to a viewpoint looking over Trieste, a city I had wanted to visit since I was a kid.

Trieste from above

The road changed to one lane, one way and it was not our way. It was full of cars, one after another coming up and no room to ride. Some crazy car driver was trying to go down it and honked madly at me when I passed him. But we both couldn’t go at all. Finally the line ended so I cranked off down the hill as fast as possible. It was super steep so the car had no chance. It went on and on, then got SUPER steep (-25%?) and turned to cobble stones. Before I realized it I was passing the other riders who were all playing it safe with their narrow tires and walking. I emerged into the city and was immediately fully awake. The traffic was insane! Busses and motorcycles and cars, all going at a snails pace and me, airing on and off sidewalks, passing on the left, having a blast. The route twisted around and came out at the water front by the government buildings. Gorgeous and such fun riding.

Unity of Italy Square, Piazza Unità d’Italia

I met Bob R [actually Simo who played up a joke on day 1, introducing himself as Bob, just to add confusion – the truth came out day 4 or 5] and we rode the last part together, about 8 km, a roundabout route, up and down and around, sometimes through giant deep puddles, some bike lanes, but ending at the Hotel Sonia where Bike Dreams was all set up. It felt really good to finish this amazing stage.

We had nice hot showers then massive snacks, then made plans for going out to dinner. Niek, Bob M and I took a taxi back downtown to the Piazza Unità d’Italia which looked so amazing on the way in. We walked around for half an hour then settled in at a fancy outdoor pizzeria. We had a round of Italian IPA, pizzas, then wine – Bob and I went for Prosecco because the actual town of Prosecco is so close to us here (under 10 km). I was getting full but we are only in Italy for one night so a high-end gelato place was absolutely required. Mission accomplished.

Living like kings
They have 115 years of experience here
Piazza Unità d’Italia by night

Tomorrow we have a later start due to the hotel breakfast, 9am. That just happens to be the time that the weather forecast has scheduled 4 hours of hard rain to start. And of course we expect our ride tomorrow to take 4 hours. Today was the wettest I’ve been since 2019 in Argentina and I hope tomorrow doesn’t break that record. Good night!

3 thoughts on “Balkan Stage 4 Bovec to Trieste, Italy

  1. Great thanks for the complete day details it is for me the same experience of driving with you aldo this tour
    Keep on going and enjoying
    Warm regards

    Liked by 1 person

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