Balkan Stage 29 Kastraki to Karditsa, Greece

Oct 9, 2022

Stage 29 of 36, day 35 of 43: 95.04 km, 1000m climb, 4:05 Moving, 5:37 Total,  67.9 kph max

Bosnia & Herzegovina211.01444

It feels like we’re coming down to the end. We have seven more riding days total plus one rest day to look forward to. This morning, we had breakfast in camp as usual, and started out together a little before 9am. It was cool but not cold. I wore a thin second jersey and fingerless gloves. We cruised down the valley, making a large number of 90º turns. Bob, Geoff and I ended up out in front and it was super nice. Geoff was being very cool and always drafting behind as he has not had a negative Covid test yet but feels fine.

We were under strict orders not to arrive at lunch too soon: “Coffee stop is mandatory”. So we found a nice one after about 30 km and had a good long stop. The owner had lived in Germany and was all smiles, serving over 20 of us on a slow Sunday morning.

Bob shot a nice video as we rode along a beautiful road. Then a dog attacked him (he escaped ok)
Me shooting Bob shooting me

We rode along some more and came upon Sigi and Anita, stopped by a cotton field. I slowed down and asked if they were ok. No answer, I think because they were laughing too hard.

Sigi with a perfect moustache

Then, around 50 km, we came upon the group having lunch. It was nice to sit in the shade and refuel. We stayed quite a while then took off. Soon after lunch the big climb of the day started. The major part was 620m in 14 km, mostly gentle but some parts were 12-15% and it was hot in the sun.

Stopping to cool off at a nice spot

But it wasn’t too long before we made it to the top.

The view back down where we rode up
A pretty lake near the summit of our climb
A Greek Mirage F1 flying too low over us [photo may be doctored a little]

From the top we had only 23 km more, and a fair amount of it was a glorious fast descent. After a final bit of flat riding we cruised into Karditsa, which is a good-sized town. Our hotel was right in the center. Upstairs we found most of the riders already there, sucking down smoothies and eating all kinds of great snacks.

After showers and a little photo work, we headed out to where our craft beer team had found…Lagunitas IPA from California on draft, served in the authentic large mouth Lagunitas glasses. About eight of us had a fun round or two of beers there, then we moved across the street to a restaurant for dinner. We did what you can only do on a trip like this: ordered double meals each, plus more beer! I had a giant Greek salad plus a nice orzo and shrimp dish. Then, because tomorrow is a bigger day than today (2400m climb in 106 km), we went back and got ready for a massive sleep.

Amazing to find this at the Cadillac Records Bar in Karditsa
Living it up as we always do

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