To anyone willing to listen the last couple of months, I proclaimed that the nice thing about riding up a mountain, is that you also get to ride it down again. I usually use this as a motto, to stay motivated to get to the top. However, the last few days I seriously started to doubt this motto, because it was working the other way around as well. During the Alps and Dolomites I realized every meter I was riding down, I would also have to climb back up again. But not today. Apart from a few very very minor passes to get out of the Dolomites, I would be descending down to just about sea level and I would stay there for the rest of the day. Today was a good day.
I set the alarm at 6 with the intention to start early and assure arrival in Slovenia today. But I had a very restless sleep and it continued the rain, so I ignored the alarm, woke up at 730am and decided to feast on the breakfast buffet. After breakfast it took me a while to find the courage to face the rain, but when I finally did take off at 10am, it miraculously cleared up. The high mountain tops around me were all covered with a fresh layer of snow, but I never got to feel a single drop of rain today.
I knew there was still a minor pass of about 3km climbing 200m up, straight out of the village. As soon as I got there, the legs tried to urge me to just start walking. But the mind was stronger than the legs and I can proudly say that I’ve cycled every single centimeter today. Fortunately the couple ascends I was faced with weren’t too bad anyway.
After the Staulanza pass, it took me about 30 minutes to descend below 1000m altitude. It was such a great ride down, knowing that the worst of the climbs were now over, the road wasn’t too busy or too curvy, so I could stay clear from the brakes most of the time and the surroundings looked beautiful. Even startled a deer on the road and buzzards were flying over (I think it were buzzards, but I’m no expert in birds. Could have also been just crows. Or what other birds are brown?). This part of the Dolomites is really gorgeous and I’d love to come back there someday. But maybe next time for a ski holiday or a hiking trip. You know, without pushing a bike forward.
The rest of the way was actually quite uneventful but also so extremely enjoyable! The legs were having such a good time just easily spinning, and not a single body part was complaining. Knees, neck, back, butt, everything was in full harmony with the bike. I even got to use the aerobars the way they are supposed to be used, so even when the wind picked up on the flatlands, I could maintain a very decent pace all day. Everything just felt like a well oiled machine and physically this was the best day so far.
Unfortunately I just fell short of making it to the border, still have about 40km to go, but my rear light is out of battery and I couldn’t find replacement yet, so Slovenia will have to wait for tomorrow. Henning is a bit ahead passed the Slovenian border and told me the wind is horrible. Once I hit the wind and hills in the Balkan, we’ll really know how I survived the Alps. For now, I’m just going to be content with today.
See you soon, Slovenia!