Day 14 – Knin, HR

Oh no, we’re two weeks on the road already? I had to check the title of last night’s post to see where I was. Anyway, I was so determined to finally make another 200+ day again, that I made zero photo’s. So I just made a picture of some of my clothes instead. 

Just be happy you can’t smell them

It’s actually not that well visible on the photo, but my jersey is all covered in white marks left by the salt of my sweat. My base layer was definitely once whiter than that, I wonder if I can ever get the neck and armpit area to look white again. My bib shorts are actually not too bad, that one gets the most washes of everything. My socks on the other hand, which by the way also get by far the most washes, are almost standing up on their own. They could basically double as shoes. I do have an extra pair, which so far have been used after rainy days, so I could have something dry and warm on my feet. But I think the time is about right to completely switch over to them. The hardest one to actually deal with are my gloves. They smell quite bad, and since they are on my hands, I smell it very often (whenever I drink, or even just itch my face). And it doesn’t matter how often I rinse them, one hot moment in the day or one decent climb and my hands start sweating and will make my gloves smell.

Now everyone is up to date about my clothes, let’s quickly talk about today. Last three days really felt like a walk in the park, the ride out of Italy for obvious reasons I already discussed, but yesterday and today where I was faced with hills and wind felt quite easy too. Of course, I still break a sweat, but every bit of soreness is out of my legs and no other body part shows any sign of stiffness. It’s not that the body doesn’t work hard, but even after today’s 230km ride I get off the bike like I just got back from getting groceries. So you’d think the time is right and step it up, but unfortunately the last few days I’ve been struggling with keeping my head in the game.

This is a hurdle I never once saw coming, and I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it all day. Was it a secret disillusionment of falling this far back? Not really, I couldn’t care less if I ended up last. Maybe the whole fact that my body is doing so well could be the reason. During the mountains my brain as working non-stop to keep pushing the body. Now that’s not really necessary anymore, maybe my brain got bored with cycling. I’m really not sure, maybe it’s also just that I don’t like what I’ve seen from Croatia too much. The 8 route was pretty, but touristy. The backland showed pretty landscapes, but boy, is it remote and desolate. The villages are few and far in between, and they mostly seemed so empty. The town where we tried to have dinner, but couldn’t because they didn’t have a restaurant, really looked like a shithole that’s had it’s best time. The town where we’re now in a hotel, doesn’t appear to be much better.

Either way, the inner voice I mentioned yesterday was even stronger today. I had to have firm talks with myself all morning and tell myself to be in the present and enjoy the moment. That kind of worked, but I snapped in and out of that state of mind. Because of my early start I had overtaken Henning in the morning, but I sensed I could use a bit of company. So around lunch time I sat down on a terrace (in the city of Otocac, which was the only place that seemed nice) and waited for him to catch up with me. Talking to him and riding together definitely helped to distract the mind a bit. It also helped that the route was so calm and the road so nice and relatively flat. Everything felt so perfect and empty, that we sometimes got a bit suspicious. Did we cycle right through the Apocalypse? Are we going the wrong way? But it was all OK, and when I found out I advanced another 230km by the end of the day, I was really pleased. So I’ll just approach this the same way as when my body was failing me: I just keep going and will take it one day at the time.

Tomorrow hopefully a bit more upbeat news from Bosnia!


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