Balkan Stage 32 Patras to Olympia, Greece

Oct 12, 2022

Stage 32 of 36, day 38 of 43: 110.9 km, 1791m climb, 5:03 Moving, 6:01 Total,  69.8 kph max

CountryDistanceClimbing
Slovenia352.25149
Italy29.3346
Croatia950.911,430
Bosnia & Herzegovina211.01444
Montenegro29.3185
Albania688.29749
Greece675.411,814
Total2936.340,117

Again, the weather forecasts are all wrong. We woke up to a cloudless blue sky, unlike the predictions. Breakfast as normal at 8am, then grabbing the bikes out of the garage and starting the ride at 9am.

Today when I loaded the route, I could see Athens at the bottom of the screen! Not much more riding!

Bob, Sigi, Anita and I headed out in the lead and rode together all the way to lunch at 57 km without stopping. After we got out of town, we had another 10 km of easy warm-up, then the hills started. Even though this stage had less climbing than the two most recent ones, it seemed harder. The climbs were shorter, steep, often and many.

Bob’s shot of me, Anita and Sigi pace-lining
Riding toward a nice double mountain

It was already hot by the time we stopped for lunch, before noon. We helped Ype and Henk set up and had a great meal. Then, back in the saddle. We were just over halfway in distance but under in climbing, and it got hotter, so the afternoon session was tough.

Each time a group of riders rode by, these turkeys got more excited

At one point, I was climbing very steeply up a brick road, felt like 20%, sweating massively, and at the top, there was a nice little shaded café with a few of our riders enjoying cold drinks. Stopping there was so great and gave me the power to crank out the last 25 km.

We’ve ridden around the double mountain – view from the other side

I rode the last bit with Bob and luckily a lot of it was downhill. But the last 1 km was another brutal >15% climb, switch-backing up to the campsite. The campsite looked nice, with a beautiful pool, but is isolated from town. We had chili soup, lots of snacks and even some special craft beer the staff had shopped for at our request (the guys are just so cool!) More people arrived and after we were full we picked up our luggage and five of us walked 10 minutes down to the house we had rented for two nights. When we rented it, the forecast had been for rain the whole time, now it’s just for the second night here. We took over Niek’s reservation when he had to go home. We split it five ways so it ended up being very inexpensive for an amazing two story house with four bedrooms, marble floors everywhere, tall ceilings, very luxurious.

My bedroom looks over the whole valley
View from the balcony

The owner gave us access to his motor-scooter for trips to town and he took Sigi down to show him the route. We all had showers, the owner offered to do any laundry, in short, we seemed to be in heaven. My legs were tired – I guess the last few days of who knows how many thousand meters climbing were taking their toll.

We all sat outside enjoying cold beers in the afternoon, then walked up to camp when it was nearly time for dinner. Today was good in that there were no more positive Covid test results and most of the people infected are feeling a lot better and able to ride, either full or half days. There is a “Covid table”, on the end for dinner, all of us from the house sat at the furthest away table. We all had tested negative in the morning. Dinner was nice, with a couple of bottles of wine. Then we stayed up in camp for a while but I was the first to admit: I was really tired. Soon others did too and we walked down to the house, stopping at the fancy restaurant next to the campsite to make a reservation for tomorrow night. We made it via headlamp, and then relaxed in our comfortable home. I am so glad tomorrow is a rest day!

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