Balkan Stage 33 Olympia to Tripoli, Greece rained out

Oct 14, 2022

I woke up a few times in the night, listened for the predicted rain, didn’t hear anything and went back to sleep. About 6:45, still pitch dark outside, I tried again, no sound. But then a big flash of lightening lit up my room. The rain started about then and there was a pretty dramatic lightening/thunder storm. By the time we had packed up for the walk to the campsite 45 minutes later, our little dirt road was a river and it was hard to dodge all the deep puddles in the pouring rain. I found a couple of garbage bags to put around my two backpacks to try and keep my gear semi-dry on the hike. Breakfast up at the campsite wasn’t much fun but I ate; peanut butter tasted especially good.

Breakfast in the rain

We were talking and I heard Sigi say they were taking the van. I asked him if I heard right and he said, “Yes, why would you ride in this?” So I thought about it and couldn’t think of a reason. I joined a fast-increasing group of van riders. In the end I think maybe 1/3 of the riders set out in appalling conditions, to ride over 120 km with 2500m of climbing. Once my decision was made I was very happy.

I’m smiling because I’ve just decided not to ride. Bob is smiling even though he’s about to start riding.

We cleaned up the camp, washed a bunch of dishes, packing things up, then stood around until a very wise person (Diana) said, “Why don’t you go wait in the café and have some hot drinks?” So we did and it was great.

You’d think these guys slamming Slivovitz at 10am were getting psyched to ride, but no, they’re psyched to NOT be riding!

Everyone riding in the van was asked to test for Covid if they hadn’t in the last 24 hours. I did again and was negative. I don’t know exactly when we left but I got a seat in the fire truck. The downside was that it pointed backwards, but the upside was that the firetruck took a direct route to Tripoli, bypassing the mountain pass and the lunch stop, arriving around 1pm.

Van life, driver, cook, assistant plus six riders
Caroline our awesome cook deals with van life every stage. Today it’s a little colder than usual.

By pure chance, my bags were in the firetruck, for first time on the trip. So I had all my clothes when we arrived and took a nice hot shower. Then Graham, Marc and I went out to a delicious lunch at a nearby café.

Delicious lunch
The Café even had a special bike

I had a great video call with Katie, then Bob arrived, full of tales of scary dog attacks and rain and massive climbing. He rode the whole route by himself – certified tough guy. In the afternoon, I just relaxed, read a book and hung out. When it was dinner time I wasn’t hungry and didn’t even drink the beer I had stashed in the room refrigerator. I am also thinking about how I need to drastically reduce calorie consumption in just a few days. Since I didn’t ride, I basically passed on dinner and hope I don’t wake up starved in the middle of the night. The rain started up in the late afternoon and continued well into the night, so going out on the town was not appealing. The forecast for tomorrow is better so we’re hoping for a good day of cycling.

4 thoughts on “Balkan Stage 33 Olympia to Tripoli, Greece rained out

  1. It is wise to make these type of decisions. It is about the FUN you have on a ride like this. EGO, no. Drop the “E” and let it “GO”. I call this respecting the need for “smiles per mile”. If that ratio does no longer pan out, it’s time to make some decisions.


    Live Simply

    _O (|> ,|.-‘*

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting to see all the masks. My impression is that the covid must be getting weaker over time (I guess that is normal for a virus that wants to live). I haven’t heard of anyone around here getting bothered by it though a few have tested positive while having what seemed like a two or three day cold. You’ll be back in the land of Biden’s inflation soon. Keep the upper lip stiff for it. LDS


  3. Getting covid in a group is definitely a bad thing. When doing something athletic, even a cold would be bad, but covid is not just a cold. It is contagious and can be debilitating. We have had trip members miserable, out for days, unable to even think of riding due to covid. A couple who “recovered” still can’t ride at full gas or complete a full stage after more than two weeks. And, as we wind down the trip, we all know that getting it now would mean bringing it home and going into quarantine from loved ones.


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