Sept 25, 2022
Stage 18 of 36, day 21 of 43: 84.7 km, 1125m climb, 3:48 Moving, 4:36 Total, 64.4 kph max
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||211.0||1444|
Today marked the halfway point of the Balkan Boulevard tour in terms of ride stages, 18 out of 36. We crossed into our 5th country, Montenegro, number 64 for me. The weather forecasts have been the exact opposite of what you want to see: huge rain, coming inevitably. But even with a pretty late start today, we ended up only having a few small showers to ride through.
Then we headed south with a fair amount of up and down. We had some roads with lots of traffic and some without any. One really nice section was up high, around 350m, with masses of cypress trees around and a good view down to the sea.
We came to Ype and Henk just setting up for lunch at the 50 km mark. Even though it felt like every minute of non-raining time we wasted at lunch would be traded for riding in the rain later, it was great to stop and refuel.
Soon after lunch we came to the border. Getting out of Croatia took a few minutes, then maybe 2 km of no-mans land, then a similar wait to get into Montenegro. Arriving by road is nice and we haven’t had any South American style border crossing woes.
There were two small climbs but mostly fast cruising along the coastline, in and out of little bays, dodging people walking, riding or driving. As we got closer and closer to the goal, the speed crept up. Soon we were averaging 32, then 34, then 36. Blasting along in a tight line at nearly 40 kph was just great.
We pulled into the campsite, a bit short of Kotor itself. Bob and I had booked an apartment nearby due to the weather. We rode over (about 400m) and checked in. It’s a modern, nice place, very inexpensive, I guess because they close for the end of the season in two days. We got our keys and then rode back for lots of snacks and hot leek soup and drinks. Somehow on cool days I just don’t drink enough, so I had lots of orange juice, peanuts, along with cheese-bread, sour gummies, pretzels and the soup. A full meal is just what’s needed after these rides.
Back at the apartment we had showers and regretted having no dirty clothes to wash in our washing machine! I was on dinner duty so had to be back at camp at 5:30. After a couple of hours it was time to go and still, amazingly, not raining much.
Dinner tonight started with pasta salad with avocado and pineapple and basil. The main course was rice with a quite spicy sauce with lots of smoked tofu and veggies, flavored with lemongrass. Each plate had two big prawns on top. Dessert was cake with whipped cream and pomegranate. Choice of red or white wine (white FTW this time).
After dinner Wilbert described the ride tomorrow (wet and long) and then Chris gave the marmot presentation. He sang a Swiss song that was very well received, then passed the marmot on to Graham for having the nicest smile of anyone. Nice job!
Then I helped wash a million dishes and utensils and it was time to ride the 400m “home”. Unfortunately the rain kicked up to torrential and we just couldn’t stomach it. I suggested we try it naked since the human body is inherently waterproof but Bob rejected the idea. We hung around and then, during a lull, went for it. It was super dark and rainy and as soon as we arrived it started dumping even more. Now we have to make a judgement call: is relaxing in warm, dry comfort, listening to rain all night worth $26 each? We could’ve spent the night making sure nothing touches the tent walls and trying to not go out to pee. I think we did the right thing.