I had a nice evening in Negotin. I spent my evening at the restaurant and had a skype conversation with my beautiful Lillian and my family. I’m preparing myself for a day with a small taste of the climbs that will come.
It’s early morning when I wake up in Negotin. I’m laying in bed and are writing yesterdays blogpost. I head down for breakfast and order myself an omelette. What a nice start for something I hope will be a good day on the bike.
The bag is packed and I’m ready to get my bike out of the garage. First thing I do is to check my tires if there is enough air. I’ve got a flat tire on my rear wheel. It must have happened on the bad road yesterday, and most likely where they’ve tried to fix the road with roofing tiles.
I have to clean my wheel before I’m taking off the tire. It’s full of mud from yesterdays ride. I’m sitting just outside the hotel and starts the preparations. On my right side you can see a live radio station sitting at the same cafe as me. They are having a live show outside, but I don’t understand much.
I stop at a small bicycle service shop just 100 meters from the hotel. I buy two tires from him. I didn’t expect a flat on my rear wheel, but are waiting for one on the front wheel, so I think it’s better to be on the safe side.
He looks over the whole bike. You know, it’s like when you let a IT Professional look at your pc….We do everything! He’s just like this! The only problem about this is that I’m losing so much time. I have quite a hard schedule to reach my mother in Smolyan on Wednesday next week, and this was supposed to be one of the «easy» days with only 1600 hight meters. He confirms what I already know. My brake disk on the rear wheel is defect, which is also why I’ve waited with changing the brake pads there until the mountain starts. He changes them now, and I just hope that they will last until I’m finished with the worst mountains and hopefully to Carevo and the Black Sea.
I’m ready to leave. It’s now 12 and I was ready to start cycling around 10am… I have to keep a good flow today to be able to reach my goal. I don’t have any reservation, so it’s just because I want to get as far as possible.
There’s a nice temperature outside. Some might say it’s to hot for cycling, but for me this is just nice! I’ve said that I won’t complain when it’s hot, I’ll just drink more!
I took a chance today. I gambled and hoped that I would find a store when I cycled out of Negotin. I quickly found a gas station and bought some energy drinks and water. I filled up my bottles and had one extra on the trailer.
After about 30Km i met the hill I was waiting for. I’ve been expecting this all day. I’m getting more and more empty in my bottles and stops to refill. I’m in trouble when I can see that it’s been shaking so much that my bottle with extra water have disappeared. It’s lost!
I know that it’s about 35Km left to Zajecar, which most likely is the next available place where I can buy more to drink. I have a bit left and will just have to drink slowly. I also have two energy drinks, I drink one of them now.
I’m climbing the hill. It’s hard, my legs doesn’t have too much power today for a climb. I believe it’s good for me that I get a few days on the bike before the real mountains start. Maybe my body will adjust and get into cycling mode again.
Some guys are standing at a farm, they are waiving at me and I cycle over to them. We can’t communicate at all. I’m not able to understand a word, the only thing I understand is that one of the guys want me to park the bike and join them inside… I’m skeptical! First of all, they seem drunk. Second, I don’t want to end up on news papers around the world after disappearing at a farm in Serbia. I’m probably too skeptic, but sometimes you just get a feeling. They are almost arguing with me to be allowed to fill up my bottles of water and to get me inside. I allow them to fill up the empty bottle, but the other one I just want to keep as it is.
I’m saying goodbye and start cycling again. What a weird visit. I’m not sure if I trust them at all, most likely I should! He went into the farm to get the can of water with the letters H2O on it. Is it drinkable? I decide to wait as long as possible.
I stop in Zajecar to have some food and to hydrate. There’s only 40Km left to Knjaževac. It’s not flat, but it’s not steep either.
There’s sitting two guys outside the cafe. I’m invited to sit down at one of the tables. One of them seem sober and are just reading a newspaper, the other one is drinking wine and seems tired. I get my pizza and something to drink. Both of them are trying to hold a conversation with me. It’s not always easy. One guy that knows a few words of english and one that needs a translator everytime he remembers that I don’t understand serbian or french…Yes this was the drunk guy. One guy come out with a phone and gives it to me. He only says, «my colleague»… I’m looking at him and must admit that I’m not sure why he wants me to speak in his phone. I answer and a guy ask me: «Do you have any problems, is everything ok in this city?» I reply that everything is good. He asks for his colleague again after asking the same question about three times.
It’s about time to get going. I start cycling and are back on the main road. The traffic is mixed, some guys just have to drive closely, while others give me more than enough space.
I arrive Knjaževac and quickly cycle to the hotel that they suggested. It’s closed, but the restaurant is open. The waiter gives me a drawing and a name of a place, he even phoned them and verified that there was available room for me. I cycled about one kilometer to this place.
It seems like a cozy place. I stop at my room, have a shower and are ready for some dinner. Today I just said yes to the dinner, I have no idea of what I will get. There is no menu.
The waiter comes out with a plate filled with some barbequed meat and a really nice stew. Awww…..It’s good with something different.
Picture album from todays ride:
GPS Data from todays ride: