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Published: September 25th 2016
YUSUFELI to BLACK FLY ( river camp). Stage 105. 22 September, 2016
112.40 Kms SubT. Kms 3192.47 kms . Road Condition: river valley- ok, new work- goodWeather: cool until after river canyon ( 5 hrs later)-10c max; after lunch- MILD 15c Time in Saddle: 5:43:57 Av Speed: av. 19.6 kph. Av Cadence. 68RpmElevation: 1800 m up; 1000 m downCalories burned : > 5500
We climbed all morning after Yusufeli, 6000 feet up.
Yusufeli, was an interesting small town, perched in a river canyon between high rock walls. It rained periodically yesterday so exploring town was tricky between rain squalls.
Today the scenery was again beautiful. We may have been the last TDA riders to travel this route as another dam on the river is nearing completion and the dam water will cover most of the roads we traversed today. That will be a pity as it was very scenic. The cloud cover was very dark and looked threatening most of the day. It kept the temperatures very cool to cold. I was wearing a t shirt under my riding jersey with the spray/ wind jacket over the top. I was a sweaty mess, but couldn't take off the outer jacket for
fear of freezing. You can determine that the climbing was at times very steep.
At the 60 km mark I felt depleted, no food and out of water, consumed 2 litres in the morning, and another 13 kms to lunch. Finally made it, and ate up!!
After lunch the hills were mild and there were coke stops, making the afternoon relatively easy.
The camp is nestled by the river, but the small black flies are intense. Opening the tent screen and likely 200 flies will enter. Am wearing the only unused item on the trip, my head, fly net. A Godsend!! Apparently black bears are in this area, a local villager was killed two years ago by a bear, so necessary to put soap/ toothpaste outside the tent tonight!!
BLACK FLY ( river camp) to SOAKED WET, FIELD CAMP. Stage 106. 23 September, 2016
155.36. Kms SubT. Kms 3347.83. kms . Road Condition: river valley- ok, new work- goodWeather: cold max 6c, heavy constant rain last 3 hours. Time in Saddle: 8:00:48 Av Speed: av. 19.4 kph. Av Cadence. 70 rpm Elevation: 1850 m up; 650m downCalories burned : > 6000.
Today was a sh..y day,
cold at commencement and all day. Again the scenery was beautiful, river canyon and high climbing in the morning, flattening out to highway and wider views in the afternoon.
The camp marking was lost in the long weeds, so missed it necessitating an extra 8 kms. Gratified (?) that a few others missed it. Set a good consistent pace all day, primarily to stay warm. Sat at a servo for 2 hours trying to make phone contact to no avail to check on camp site. No answer. Rained and blew hard whilst at the servo so waited as long as possible. Finally the truck showed up, they saw my missed calls. Redirected me back 2.5 kms to campsite entrance. Muddy conditions and site was awash. Still was the third one to arrive. Final two arrived 4 hours later.
As my tent still has microscopic holes, it became a swimming pool overnight, wetting bed roll, sleeping bag, me, all my warmest clothes and gloves, making a thoroughly miserable evening compounded by the fact of going to bed in darkness at 5.30 after dinner. Camp silent at 6 pm
!! 2c!, -4c predicted overnight.
Somewhat despondent, as more wet weather,
cold days are immediately forecast. Unseasonal supposedly. Last week brilliant sunshine and 20+ days.
SOAKED WET, FIELD CAMP to SEBINKARAHISAR Stage 107. 24 September, 2016. 125kms.
So as my innards have decided a rest is warranted, and causing me some discomfort, I decided to take the truck to the next town today. Veeery pleased with the decision. It was -5c at 5am
when the camp arose, at 9 am
it was 2c on the road
, and bitter with a strong headwind. Beautiful scenery AND I saw it from the truck!
When the first riders arrived 7 hours later, they both looked wind whipped, cold and tired. These are the fastest, strongest riders on tour, usually average 35 kph, today barely half that!
This is another appealing hill town, looking up at a fort used during battles with the Armenians after WW1., But dating back to 700 BC. Been ruled over by many rampaging hordes over the centuries. Very substantial area covering the mountain. The ingenuity of people in past centuries is really bought home to me travelling through these areas, and I wonder how they were able to construct and drill massive stairwells into the mountain side without the
benefit of modern tools and blasting powders and such massive constructions.
The town mosque, is across the street, so won't need an alarm clock in the morning with the call to prayer. It is also a very appealing for a small town mosque. Beautiful internal dome work, carpets and chandelier. You might think that I would be over them, and whilst I pass many in a day, I rarely stop and peek inside.
Also great bread, warm and tasty is sold in the myriad bakeries. Doner, is sold by every second restaurant. Some more delectable meat/ veg dishes are shown in photos in the windows, so will choose one tonight.
Have now booked my bus ticket to Amasya departing 10 am tomorrow
. Will jump ahead a day. The TDA arrives Monday afternoon
. Hopefully the warmer whether, which is predicted will have returned, for the final 7 days into Istanbul. The other benefit of today is that:- I have managed to have all wet clothing washed and dried; dried out fully my tent, bedroll and sleeping bag; patched the holes in the tent floor; started drying out the bike shoes, likely a 3 day task; had a beer;
had my better shoes shined at a shoe shine stand to new condition for 3 dollars, (had to help push the truck out through sloppy mud this morning, and the shoes looked fit for the bin; drank numerous teas; and feeling content with my decision to take the bus (whilst more blue sky is forecast, subzero temps and strong head winds are also forecast). Also going ahead to a larger town will enable me to acquire another pair of jeans as they are the clothing du jour, and my other pair are looking to hitch a ride elsewhere!!! Also my stomach is feeling better.
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