Balkan Stage 20 Tirana to Berat, Albania

Sept 29, 2022

Stage 20 of 36, day 25 of 43: 137.4 km, 1555m climb, 6:06 moving, 6:53 total, 63.7 kph max

The camp WiFi died once a dozen people arrived so this will be short. We left Tirana a day early and rode 137 km to the town of Berat. The first 15 km were in town, urban combat cycling. I was leading and it was nerve-wracking but I think everyone made it through ok.

Then we were out in the country and a big climb started around 30 km. Little traffic, good views, sprinkles of rain, all good.

View from the top of the climb

The descent was fun then I stopped for banana ingestion before continuing to lunch at 87 km. Eating was great, then we continued. I saw I was about to be hit by a big storm and sure enough it started pouring. I took shelter in a friendly auto repair shop until it reduced. Then went ahead 500m and met Bob, Bob, Carien and Louis in an abandoned gas station. Soon we left in sprinkling rain which stopped and then the road even dried.

Out of the pouring rain in a auto repair shop

After 10 more km we did a final climb to the local famous castle, didn’t stop, then I blasted down a cobblestone road which was rough and took out a couple of riders. It was quick to camp and we set up tents in a pomegranate orchard with turkeys wandering around.

Our camp for two nights

Beer and many snacks were consumed, along with Caroline’s Albanian rice soup. Then a cold shower and the sun šŸŒž came out so I could dry things like my bike shorts. Not an easy day but a good one.

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