Balkan Stage 30 Karditsa to Karpenisi, Greece

Oct 10, 2022

Stage 30 of 36, day 36 of 43: 106.1 km, 2287m climb, 5:54 Moving, 6:23 Total,  67.9 kph max

CountryDistanceClimbing
Slovenia352.25149
Italy29.3346
Croatia950.911,430
Bosnia & Herzegovina211.01444
Montenegro29.3185
Albania688.29749
Greece430.47907
Total2691.336,210

I’m still having a great time but we continue to have new people testing positive for Covid. The first few to get it, back in Albania, over 10 days ago, have no more symptoms and are probably not even contagious any more but it seems like one more person tests positive each day. I think we’re now at 1/3 of the riders positive or recovering. So it feels like a race for me to get to the end and escape without it. I don’t know what my chances of succeeding are.

We had breakfast this morning in the ornate dining room of the Domotel Arni Historic Hotel in downtown Karditsa. We read that it’s the second oldest hotel in Greece.

The table is real marble with light shining through

The ride today was 106 km with lots of climbing. We headed out of town in a 10 person pace line, which lasted maybe 25 km until the climbing started. Then people tend to go their own pace. I rode up the first hill, 720m, then there was a short descent, then a second climb of about 600m. The trucks were set up for lunch near the top of this second climb and it was nice to take a break.

On the first climb, looking down to our road way below
I stopped for a banana/pee break here, early on the second climb
High on the second climb, looking way back to our road and many distant mountains
Lunch was just over half way, a very welcome stop
Tom says he gave this dog half his lunch and then the dog sat with me all through mine even though he didn’t get any more

Then it was back at it. Once I’ve climbed that much, I get into a groove and it seems easier. Maybe it’s also the mountain air. It feels different/better up at 1400m compared to sea level, and the trees are mountain trees and there’s a great view in every direction.

The cows own the road here
More gorgeous views, from almost 1500m

So I enjoyed it all the way. The last 20 km or so was mostly downhill, through some nice turns, but we had one rider crash – it sounds like he’ll be ok. It was a little tricky navigating through the town of Karpenisi; Graham and I ended up walking down a couple of stair cases. But we got to the hotel in the end. It has a gorgeous view of the town but is pretty isolated. Luckily the reception guy is happy to take food orders and we had dinner delivered. It feels very post-season in this large hotel which is seemingly empty except for us. But they still have a little beer left in the bar so all is not lost.

Panorama of Karpenisi from our hotel balcony
Full moon rising over Karpenisi with Jupiter looking down too

Heard today in the bar:

Rider 1 (Peter): I don't understand it. My bike performance is just not what I'd like. I've tested negative for Covid, so what is going on?
Rider 2 (Tom): Oh, did you do a test for O-L-D?
Rider 3 (Me): That won't help, we'd all test positive.

Tomorrow is another big day (130 km, over 2000m climb and 3000m descent) so it’s time to go to bed early and sleep hard. I just walked up the 5 flights of stairs (101 total) and felt good. Turns out biking makes you strong even if you have a case of O-L-D. Good night!

2 thoughts on “Balkan Stage 30 Karditsa to Karpenisi, Greece

  1. Good luck escaping COVID and good luck on your next big rid, tho it is likely to be over before you read this from CA.

    Like

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