The sun is shining and I’m ready for a new day on the bike! I know that there will be climbs almost the whole day. Let’s just hope my body reacts well and that I will have a good day on the road.
I’m Ready for the road after a quick breakfast, a coffee and packing my bag.
I cycle over to the gas station and buy what I need to get some kilometers. I live a simple life when it comes to food on the bike. I buy a banana if I can find any. If not? Then I buy some energy drinks, water and chocolate. I can’t describe how good it will be to come home to some normal food!
The road brings me directly towards the mountain. It’s not steep, and it won’t be. It will slowly bring me higher and higher, then down, and finally up again.
There are some small villages up in the mountains. You can see the people working by hand and not machinery. They are walking in the streets and are carrying this hours work back to their farm. You can’t see any shops, only a small local pub. Young people sitting there with a beer in their hand while they are smiling. One old guy sits there sleeping. He’s holding his beer like it is his life.
I’m cycling further up in the mountains. It’s beautiful. The climbs reminds me of when I cycled Dovrefjell in Norway. You are cycling along the beautiful river, the roads are taking you towards the top, nothing steep, just long, long roads.
There’s no trouble with energy today. My body is back, I feel good and there is no worries about reaching my destination. I’ve got more than enough groceries to reach Pirot, which is about 64Km from Knjaževac.
I’m looking for a restaurant when I’m cycling into Pirot. It’s a small city with a population of about 38800 people. There’s many pubs, a market, ice cafe’s and small kiosks. There’s not a restaurant to see, or most likely there is, I just don’t have time to look for it.
I stop to buy some more water and banana. I’m ready to continue. I’ve seen the main road a couple of 100 meters from me, while cycling into Pirot. I’m just hoping that I won’t have to cycle on this road since there are huge amounts of semi-trailers and other traffic.
You can split this day in two so far, especially after 3km’s from Pirot. What a nightmare. I won’t try to describe this by so many words. I can just suggest that you see the movie below and know at the same time that this was not the worst part…
MICHAEL CRAMER!!!! You must be kidding with me! Sorry man, but you can’t expect people to cycle on the main european road which is going to the Serbian/Bulgarian boarder. I really hope that you have a plan of making bicycle roads here!
When I reached the Serbian boarder control, she only asked me of where I was going. I answered The Black Sea. She didn’t understand and just let me pass. When cycling into the Bulgarian control it was different. What a friendly guy. When he saw my passport he just said: «Wooooow, mr Stian Torland? Have a safe trip». Of course he asked me where I was going and I replied the same thing as before.
The climb starts again. I’m fully aware that it will be like this almost all the way to my hotel. It’s so different on the other side of the boarder. Of course there are some crazy people here as well, but since they have to be controlled at the boarder, it’s not coming 100 cars and semi-trailers at the same time.
I’ve got a good feeling here in Bulgaria so far. I’m holding an ok speed and are slowly getting closer to Dragoman and the hotel.
Finally I’m over the top. 730 meters over the sea. I’m cycling into Dragoman and are passing a police traffic control. They are giving me the thumbs up, I do the same and have a smile on my face towards the hotel.
I’m allowed to have my bicycle inside. The room is good and I head over to the restaurant. They are playing loud music. It’s difficult to put words on what kind of music it is, but I can say that it’s almost impossible to have a skype conversation!
I’m ready for a new day tomorrow. It will be about the same distance, maybe a bit longer, but also more hight meters. Hope my body reacts well after this hard day. I know that my neck might be a bit sore after concentration on the main road for 1-2 hours.
Picture album from todays ride:
GPS Data from todays ride: