Saturday, 10 June 2017

Romania - Day 5 - The Epic!!

Blimey, I ache from head to foot! 14 hrs of riding, set off at 9.15am, got back at 2am!!

The plan for the day was around 90km... however we ended up doing 187km, mostly due to losing time at various stages all day...

So, we set off in high spirits, until the first uphill, which comprised of really steep damp woodland for about 800m. This took 2.5 hrs, nothing majorly technical but as it was so slippy and both Darren & i struggled a lot with both a lack of ability and traction. The 2 strokes seemed to cope much better, even when I rode one of them!

Once we cleared the forest, it was fast ridges for most of the day, with a few really tricky rock steps and scree slopes. These took more time and found weaknesses in all of the group, from vertigo to plain lack of skill, however good teamwork solved it all and the whole group pulled together to get each bike across each obstacle.

Lunch was at an idyllic spot, a confluence of two mountain streams, flowing fast and fresh, beautiful in the blue skies and lush greenery of the mountains. To get out of here took some effort though as there was another set of tricky rock steps to get over before you could get onto the easier trail above, which then flowed to another set of ridges.

All day long the views were superb, mountains unfolding before your eyes, not a soul around and for the most part no visible trails either other than the painted marker stones or the odd pole.

At 5pm we struggled to make and ascent of a peak, loose rocky gravel, grass and rock slabs, all on steep ground and the cloud was circling around driving the visibility down to almost zero. This added to the pressures of being tired and knowing you had to get over this latest obstacle.

The descent turned out to have changed too, now the trail went over a large limestone rock step, that required a full team effort to get each bike across, once past this, then the forest turned out to have loads of downed trees and the trail was in pretty poor condition, requiring us all to man handle our bikes down for the most part.

The flat bottom and a place to take on water was a very welcome sight, I'd gone about 1.5 hrs with no water and was getting really dehydrated which affected my temperament and judgement. Once we'd topped up, we wound through the dense lowland forest to a very welcome flat piste track which we then followed to a reservoir.

At a village called Ortova, I ran out of fuel so we stopped for a drink to assess and one one of the locals told us there was fuel 10km away, so a towing session ensued into Hateg, where we found sandwiches, fuel and some entertainment from some local prostitutes who wanted to sit on the bikes, so Matt helped them on whilst they took some pics of each other!

The next 1.5 hrs of tarmac was freezing and I have never been so glad to get back to a place! The lass at the accommodation had left out some food and beer for us in our apartment, so we tucked into this and talked shite for an hour before finally crashing.

The following morning I woke up so sore and stiff it was like I'd been beaten up. I'm covered in bruises and the bike has taken a bit of a battering, but on the whole we all came through it pretty good.

The boys are all packing at the time I writing this, they all head back to the UK today, a nice 2000 mile trip, so back tomorrow night. Roxy & I will head towards Sibiu after a lazy day around here. I might even buy a nice bottle of wine for myself for tonight...

An excellent week, some great lads and Gareth did a superb job of both organising and showing us around.