Climbing the mountains along the boarder towards Kyustendil

20140913_145832

I’ve slept well in Dragoman. But when you wake up, walks down to the restaurant and are told that you’re two minutes late for breakfast….THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I’m heading out to the small center to see what I can find. Todays goal is Kyustendil, which is over some mountains and about 120Km from Dragoman when you follow the boarder.

20140913_113943I’m checking out of the hotel and are cycling with direction to the center of this small town. You can see a small cozy market. Farmers are selling their vegetables and there are quite a lot of people gathered in this small place. Some are sitting at a café while drinking their coffee and some drink their standard morning beer, I’m not surprised by this anymore….

I ask around to find an atm, I need to get a hold of some bulgarian lev. After taking out the money it’s about time to visit the market again. I stop and ask them for banana. The bananas look really good and to be honest, there’s quite some difference in taste between a bad banana and a good one.

20140913_122910One young guy on a bicycle comes over to me. He speaks good english and are asking about my bicycle, the trip and are telling me about his bicycle at the same time. He tells me to follow him when I ask for a mini market. We stop outside a small mini market. He tells me that he will look after my bike. He’s quite honest when he tells me that it’s not safe to leave the bike here. I’m going in to buy some drinks for the ride. In my head I’m thinking, why should I trust you? I have a small eye out the window on the bicycle and on this friendly boy. I really want to trust the people, but as I said before, I’m all alone, I’m weak when it comes to safety. It’s easy for them to get me down to just me, my wallet and my passport.

20140913_134533I’m ready to start cycling. I’m on the road after saying goodbye and thank you for the help to this boy. I love it when you meet people like this. People who are just interested in who you are and what you are doing. He told me that they are not used to cyclists. Normally people here cycle to the shop and not further.

The mountains are waiting for me. I’m fully aware that I have a hard day ahead. You don’t need to be able to read a map to see that there are quite a few climbs on the road I’m taking. I’m prepared to cycle up to around 970meters at one top, 1100 on the next one and then 1000 meters on the last. The rest are not mentionable. But of course they allow me to have some downhill to about 600-700 meters before climbing up again.

20140913_135208There’s not many big places to cycle through today. You are lucky you if you can see any people. The roads are like night and day from yesterdays crazy experience towards the serbian/bulgarian boarder. I’m cycling on small roads and there’s no cars at all, maybe one or two every hour.

Cycling in this temperature is ok. I can’t complain when it’s warm. I’ve been freezing so much earlier on this trip, so I’m basically enjoying the good warm temperature, even when climbing. I’ve prepared myself for a day without the possibility to buy to much drink, so I’ve got more than enough to refill my bottles a couple of times.

The road quality is mixing between quite good asphalt, some horrible asphalt with huge holes and gravel. In other words you need to concentrate, especially in the downhills, you can’t trust that it will be good road around the corner.

20140913_135348I’m stopped by boarder police. I’ve had full control over the time today, but the boarder police that stopped  me in Treklyano wanted this to change. They are showing me a stop sign. I’m stopping on the side of the road and they are asking me for my passport. I’m giving the passport to them and they are looking through it 100 times. At the same time they are interested about my trip, the bicycle, trailer and everything. Clock is ticking. I’ve been standing here for 30 minutes now. They are calling their boss and gives my details to him. It seems like they want to check where I crossed the boarder, or maybe they are bored and are just happy to get a visitor. 40 minutes have passed, finally they give me my passport and wishes me a good trip.

20140913_145832I’ve got one mountain left and about 43Km to Kyustendil. This was not according to my plan. Something like that should take them maximum 5 minutes. Anyway, I’m in the climb now. I know that I’m over the top when I reach 1000 meters over the sea. My GPS clock is giving me these details.

There are beautiful views when you are climbing the mountains. Imagine how it will be when I’m cycling over the biggest mountains on my trip. I will pass them on Tuesday and Wednesday if everything goes as planned.

Finally it’s downhill. Helmet is on again and I’m cycling fast down to Dragovishtitsa, at this point you need to climb a little bit again. It’s getting darker and darker at the same time, but it’s still easy to see the road, and I feel confident that the traffic will see me.

20140913_185022I’m cycling through Sovolyano. I can feel a bit rain. It’s not bad yet, but it looks crazy in the horizont. My rain jacket is packed all the way down in my bag. The rain wasn’t supposed to come before tomorrow. I don’t care, I’m continuing even if it changes.

7 kilometers left. It’s crazy now. I turn on my rear light to be visible for the cars. The rain is extreme and it’s getting darker. I have to concentrate to see the signs when I cycle into Kyustendil. The rain is hard and painful.

The place I have booked is 3-4 kilometers further. I’m not sure if they have food there at all, so I decide to look in the center for a place to stay. The first hotel is fully booked, second one have a room for me.

I have a quick shower, something to eat and are allowed to put my bicycle into the garage. I log into booking.com to cancel my other reservation.

I’ve felt good all day. My body is in cycling mode again, the climbs are not going fast, but there is no problem to cycle 120km and 2300 hight meters as today. How will it be tomorrow? I know that they are reporting rain for the next days as well….

Until next time!

Picture album from todays ride:

GPS Data from todays ride:

Skrevet av Stian Torland

Elsker turer, utfordringer og fysiske aktiviteter. Har gjort det til ein livsstil å utfordre andre til ting de normalt ikkje ville gjort. Driver Challenge4you.com som er et nettsted som skriver om turer, eventyr og utfordringer. Mine fullførte utfordringer og hovedmål: *Nordkapp-Lindesnes: 2700Km, tid: 18 dager - 2011 *Danmark-Italia: 2500Km, tid: 18 dager - 2012 *Trondheim-Oslo: 542Km, tid: 22t 55m - 2013 *The Iron Curtain Trail: 10000Km, tid: ca 4mnd - 2014