Sept 14, 2022
Stage 9 of 36, day 10 of 43: 58.4 km, 909m climb, 2:49 Moving, 6:09 Total, 68.6 kph max
It seemed pretty simple and low-stress, starting out with 3 km downhill to a ferry, then 26 km to another ferry, then 20 km to a third ferry, then a short 11 km over a hill to camp. For some reason everyone got up at 5:30, leaving a whole hour to pack before breakfast. It’s very dark at that time. It got light, we ate, we left at 7:15 and easily made the ferry. Back in 2007 I remember riding over 10 km up and down to make a 7am ferry at this place, on unicycle. This was a lot easier.
The ride was a bit over an hour, to Rab Island. It was cloudy and a bit windy, but warm and scenic on the crossing.
We disembarked and had over an hour to make the 10:30 ferry 26 km away. Sounded easy but it turned out the wind was squarely in our faces and the hills were many and steep. We cranked it out but in the end only 8 of us made it in time – also the ferry left at 10:20 so I only just made it.
This was a short crossing to mainland Croatia, 18 minutes. Just up the hill we met Ype and Henk with the lunch truck. They had driven around on yesterday’s bridge and arrived just before us. It was only about 10:30 but I was already hungry for a big lunch. Our plan was to leave at 11:15 and take an hour to crank out 20 km with a big climb to the next ferry. I left a couple minutes early and made it easily, drafting behind Niek for some of the way. The descent to the ferry was great: we could see it coming, still far enough so we knew we had it in the bag. And the curves were awesome, over 60 kph many times.
I blasted past a million cars to the front of the line with Niek and Simo, then the ferry arrived, unloaded and we rode on. This one was only 14 minutes across to Rab Island which is very barren on this side, looks like the moon.
We landed and immediately started the climb to the top of the island. It was less than 200m but hot and sweaty. It didn’t take long to get to the campground which is huge. I arrived, and followed the sign to Reception but my Garmin said I still had 900m to go. I checked in and realized I was tired and really hot. Some cold orange soda and a big bowl of soup fixed that.
I set up my tent, then walked a long way to the showers which are beautiful here. I did laundry in the shower, hung it up, ate a little more, clipped my nails, wrote this up and relaxed. More people arrived having taken later boats and Geoff generously opened a large bag of cold beers he had purchased at a nearby store. Mellow afternoons like this are just so great! Later, our neighbor paid a visit, a gregarious Italian. He called me “Messner” and I was very honored.