Balkan extra Stage 21 Berat to Berat, Albania

Sept 29-30, 2022

Stage 20 of 36, day 25 of 43: 137.5 km, 1555m climb, 6:06 Moving, 6:53 Total,  62.8 kph max

Stage 21e of 36, day 26 of 43: 102.6 km, 1688m climb, 4:47 Moving, 5:50 Total,  60.4 kph max

Bosnia & Herzegovina211.01444

We had the option today of getting another one of our skipped stages back. There were two options but nobody took the hard one (136 km, 3352m/10,997′). After a hopeful breakfast under almost clear skies, most of us left at 8 with the weather quickly crapping out. We headed out of town, up a valley – the plan was to ride 50 km to the town of Çorovodë, have lunch, and return. The road rolled up and down, it drizzled a bit, but the real rain held off until we were maybe 3/4 of the way to Çorovodë. Just as I was about to stop for a jacket and food, I ran into the fast group, doing the same. We all continued in rain which petered out as we got close to the end. We passed Ype and Henk setting up lunch, and continued to the end of the track.

Çorovodë had some touristy places; our track ended up some switchbacks at a nice viewpoint. A local was playing guitar there with a big smile and three high school age girls were really cute and forward trying out their English with me.

Today’s A-Team at the turnaround point, Louis, Joop, Bob and Carien – hot shots
Local musician
With Carien and Bob
Another great lunch stop

I cruised down to lunch and ate well. The sun came out, went away, then came out for good. We had our first actual good weather in days for the return ride to Berat. I was surprised at how much prettier everything was in bright sun – the villages and countryside looked great.

4-legged traffic – this lady was going at a good clip, side-saddle
Scenic view looking back where we had ridden
We saw a lot of these signs today. Kthesa = turn

I had a fun race with two big rock trucks on the descent, then before I knew it I was back. The shower at least started out warm today, and the beer was still cold and good. I sat in the garden with several riders writing this. I love how we can do these rides now and not really get tired and be fine for more riding the next day.

As of tomorrow we are back on schedule. We have three more stages in Albania plus a rest day, then we cross into our final country, Greece, on October 5.

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