Balkan Stages 10-11 Pag to Zadar to Krka National Park

Sept 15-16, 2022

Stage 10 of 36, day 11 of 43: 114.2 km, 1014m climb, 5:30 Moving, 6:42 Total,  67.6 kph max

Stage 11 of 36, day 12 of 43: 93.9 km, 868m climb, 4:10 Moving, 5:30 Total, 63.8 kph max


We had a couple of days of unsettled weather with terrible forecasts. We did get slammed with rain for the first 30 km of stage 10, but stage 11 was rain free. I was on dinner duty in Zadar, and that involved shuttling food in the rain from the kitchen to a dry room we took over for dinner. I helped make the appetizers and also the dessert – I was the whipped cream man. I went to sleep around 8pm which turned out to be a brilliant stroke of luck. I woke up at 1:55am to pee and when I had just settled back into my tent, the dance party next door fired up. It was pretty loud and very repetitive. I tried and tried and could not get back to sleep. In the morning I heard comments like “even my noise cancelling headphones didn’t help.” Everyone was talking about how bad it was. It finally ended at 5:30 and I just fell asleep when someone’s 6am alarm went off.

So I got up and packed. It had rained during the night but stopped so we ate breakfast outdoors and got ready to go. We went in a big group and it was nice rolling on roads with little traffic for a long time. We stopped some time after 30 km in a little town for drinks, then continued 20 km more to lunch. Trading the lead with Niek and Bob was fun.

Pace line action

Lunch was at a scenic spot, a bit hot, but the food was as tasty as ever. I love Bike Dreams lunches. It was only 10:30 but I was already hungry.

Lunch spot
The view from lunch

After lunch we took off again, in the fast pack but after 10-15 km it suddenly got really hot and I lost all power. Geoff and I ended up panting in the shade of a tree for a while. We persevered and thanks to a long a beautiful and fast 9 km descent, we made it to Krka National Park. I thought about just riding to camp but went ahead and paid the entry fee and rode in towards the famous waterfalls. It was about 3 km of gravel, then the hikes looked over-touristed so I opted out and just had a great ice cream, then rode back.

Krka National Park

Once on the road it was a short 150m climb, a few km up the hill and I was in camp.

The view back while climbing to camp

The climb wasn’t bad but I was super hot when I arrived. I scored a great tent site, cooled off for a while, set things up, had a shower, did some laundry, ate soup, then retired to the bar with Tom, Graham and Peter. We stuck to the 1 beer followed by the same volume of mineral water, then repeat. That seemed to work well.

Living the life

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