If this is the first page you have landed on then you are stepping into my TCR journey somewhere in the middle, check out what has come before:
- TCR Ride Report: Day -1
- TCR Ride Report: Day 1
- TCR Ride Report: Day 2
- TCR Ride Report: Day 3
- TCR Ride Report: Day 4
- TCR Ride Report: Day 5
I was roused by my alarm round the back of the warehouse, I had slept well and it was about 0430 and still dark. Unfortunately I was desperately needed a poo, I had to use a bucket full of rain water I found deeper behind the warehouse somewhere. My apologies to anyone who found that, I did put my emergency loo roll to good use though so, you know, there was that.
I didn’t know what to expect of today. I knew that it was going to be a (very) hot one again and knew that it was going to be (very) flat after heading due east after a little bump to kick off the morning. I went up and over the bump to Congeliano, by the time I reached here it was already well over 30 degrees Celsius and the sun was barely over the horizon. This was a problem because I had run out of suncream the day before and there was no way I could ride on with confidence without resupplying. Unfortunately nothing in the town that would conceivably sell suncream would be open for another 1.5-2 hours. I should have resupplied yesterday, I certainly thought about it but was too focused on moving forward to CP2 and now I was paying the price. I killed some time heading to a bike shop to ask them look at my derailleur as it had taken a knock and was running into the spokes on the biggest cog, the bike shop was shut for the summer. I was actually grateful for this because it forced me to resolve the situation myself, good practice. It only needed the limit screw adjusting and I got back the full range of gears, I had got lucky and haven’t touched it since.
After doing circuits of a few shops when they were open I picked some food and suncream up. I was frustrated at this point and my morale was low, the first shop had kicked me out with my bike and I had been too stubborn to lock it up and go back in. Losing my head had been the biggest threat to my race before the start line and this morning was testing me. It have been a long time since I woke up, going on for 3 hours at this point. I finally rolled out of the and took some inspiration from Jonah Jones’s account of TTing it to CP2. I got on the road that would take me pretty much all the way to Slovenia, got down on the bars and rode hard. The road was big and busy but with a big shoulder for bikes, it was also devastatingly straight and uninspiring. Keeping my head down and riding stopped it getting me down, I met Rob Walker briefly on this road who was struggling with the monotony of the road compounded by the fierce heat of the day.
The heat, it was so hot! The infrequent reasons to stop on this road were akin to being plunged into an oven, at speed on the bike I could at least simulate some sort of breeze to feel a little human. Stopping was hard, getting going again was even harder. I religiously emptied and refilled my water bottles, refusing to succumb to dehydration. I powered on until I rounded a corner 100km into the day just after Cordroipo and was confronted with a grand set of columns and gardens and estate buildings. I had stumbled in to the Parco Di Villa Mannin. This was one of those moments that I knew I needed to soak it all in and put the race to one side, it was clearly old and clearly very grand. There was a very upmarket bar to one side where I ordered an espresso under the critical eye of the patrons it situ and took a seat outside.
A gentleman sat down near me after not too long to smoke and after a while struck up conversation, one of those vaguely awkward ones from just too far away. He turned out be a really lovely guy who worked as a gardener in the huge gardens that was part of this estate. We talked about the race, where I had been/was going and how he preferred sitting by the river with some beer. He told me Slovenia was the most beautiful place he had ever been, which was nice to know seeing as I was headed there today. We talked for a while and he really wanted to do something for me. He wanted to buy me my coffee, buy me food, something. We settled on him showing me his favourite tree to sleep under in the gardens as I fancied a nap and the hottest part of the day had crept up on us. I think being in this place and meeting this gentleman could well be the highlight of my race, if only I could remember his name!
I can’t remember how long I napped for, when I woke it was still baking it hot but I couldn’t stay still any longer. The run to the Italian/Slovenia border from here was much the same as the morning, head down on a long monotonous road crossing one vast dried up river bed on the way. The border itself, where I crossed a very low key affair dumping me onto a residential road. I stopped shortly after crossing at a petrol station for coke, water and probably some crisps and had a fascinating chat with two gentleman working there. They were very intrigued that riders kitted out similar to myself passing through, as quite a few had stopped here as well. I showed them the trackleaders map and explained what was going on and they told me the first rider had come through 2-3 days ago, that could of been James Hayden because he did come through Slovenia and was out ahead this way. That was was a little surreal for a moment, an odd feeling probably down to being very tired. The folks at the petrol station wanted to know where I was going immediately from there so I showed them my route which they approved of and told me some others had gone the ‘wrong’ way over the mountain ahead. Hearing that was heartening and topped up my pot of faith I reserve for trusting my route when times are hard.
I stopped at the petrol station longer that I could have, I was enjoying the conversation. Chatting in petrol stations was a recurring theme in my race. I pushed on eventually and climbed over the top to Logatec where, after information from the petrol station, I was going to stay the night. The climb up was dark but quiet, I was clearly in logging country and the scenery was gorgeous and the smells were divine. I was slow climbing but I liked it, the villages on the road were oblivious to my passing for the most part. Down into Logatec and I stopped pretty early, 2100, race-wise and in hindsight I might have made a different decision because I wasn’t that tired. I had reasoned that pushing on I would hit the capital Ljubljana when I would want to sleep and then it might have been more difficult to grab a hotel. I wanted a hotel.
The place I stayed was called a hostel but didn’t feel like it, for the equivalent of £25 I ended up with two bedrooms, a corridor and a bathroom with a bath behind my locked door. I didn’t have time to make use of the bath unfortunately it but it endeared me to Slovenia. Pity I couldn’t justify the time to have a bath, only a shower. I ate spaghetti and sauce from the restaurant downstairs, where the staff were so lovely, and also had a beer. I instagrammed the beer and blamed it for any misfortune ahead, I did scratch from the race eventually but I’m not sure I can get away with blaming the beer.
I dragged myself upstairs, plugged everything into charge and fell very asleep setting my alarm for 0630 to take advantage of breakfast.
Carry on the adventure with me on Day 7.