Mediterranean Cycopaths

Life is a Rollercoaster (and we’re riding it)

28 March 2007

After spending so many days kicking around enjoying the good life in some of the Middle East’s best cities and sites, we reviewed our progress and realised it was time to grind out some serious distance on the bikes to put us right back on track for a few rendezvous’ organised in Western Turkey and Croatia.

As always, we set our sights high and drew up a tough schedule.  The conditions proved to be some of the most challenging we have encountered so far – characterised by poor, resistant road surfaces and lots of big mountains to climb.  Our fortunes and spirits over this period rose and fell as regularly as the undulating terrain …

  • UP – We arrive at the Turkish border.  It’s been uphill all the way from Lattakia (Syria) so we are glad to make it.
  • DOWN – Oops.  Our eagerness to whittle away all our Syrian Pounds has left us with no money to pay for the Turkish visas and there is no bank at the border. Sean rides to the next town (while they keep me as collateral) but the ATM is out of action.
  • UP – After a couple of wasted hours we finally convince one of the dodgy blackmarket money traders to lend us some coin and we will pay him back in Antakya.  We’re on our way again with a long descent!
  • DOWN – A big, big mountain to climb. We’re hungry, tired and the sun is falling.  We have to dig deep.  The lights are strapped on.
  • UP – A long descent into Antakya (aka Hatay / Antioch) we pull up at the first shop and annihilate a couple of Snickers bars.
  • DOWN – We call the guy to pay him his money back (with Interest) and agree to meet him for a beer.  His wife has been spewing at him for lending money to strangers and he is blind drunk.  He spills beer everywhere and we have to pay for a taxi to get him home.
  • DOWN – We set off the next morning and get 15 kms down the road before we realise that we have left the passports back at the hotel.  Idiots.  I jump in a local service taxi and head back to get them.  Get back an hour later and we’re on our way.
  • UP – Summit a big mountain to catch sight of the coast again.  While Sean is cautiously negotiating the descent into Iskenderun (observing the 50 kph speed limit and stopping every now and then to help old ladies cross the road) I decide to cut loose and launch an assault on his land speed record.  Break it!  New record 81.75 kph.
  • DOWN – Just as I top 80 a big black bug (similar to a Christmas Beetle) cannon’s into my face, most of it ending up in my mouth.  They don’t taste great.
  • UP – We turn left and start heading west for good along Turkey’s D400 road which we will follow all the way to Marmaris.  Brilliant camping spot at Snake Castle.
  • DOWN – Good progress to Kizlakesi but driving rain and logistics curtail plans to wash cycling gear, socks and jocks.  Have to pull them on again the next morning as we set off into a gale force head wind for the most mountainous stretch. This continues for 2 days. Our clothes stink and saddle sores are a burgeoning problem.
  • UP – The spectacular coastal scenery is a big consolation for the slow progress and the wind turns as we get out of the mountains.  We cover 200 kms in a day to get to Antalya – where we are finally able to wash all our clothes.
  • DOWN – Cycle to Olympos the following day.  Descend a very steep and slippery road.  My back wheel slides out and i’m on the ground in an instant.  Minor damage to the bike, I escape with a few scrapes and a bruised ego.  I had it coming having gone out of my way to scare a herd of goats a few corners back.
  • UP – The goats didn’t get to see me crash.
  • DOWN – We had taken a wrong turn anyway and should never have been on that road.  Finally get to Olympos after carting our bikes over a beach and through several streams.
  • UP – After another undulating ride we have a breathtaking descent into Kaş.  Rest day coming up and we are weary but elated.  We have covered 1300 kms in 10 days straight on the bikes since leaving Beirut.

So there you go – It’s not all beer and skittles being a member of Team Cycopath.

Jon

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March 30, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

8 Comments »

  1. Guys, keep riding and enjoying this great rollercoaster !!!! As you apparently may appear on a front page of a special magazine, looking forward to see more lycra pictures as well, since they are lacking on this blog 😉 hehehe !!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by audrey | March 31, 2007 | Reply

  2. Whilst I’m truly horrified at the mental image of saddle sores, I’m more greatly influenced by these amazing and inspiring stories! You’ll def be using these with the grandchildren.
    Keep up the inspiring work team! I’m going to run up and down the stairs at work for a while…

    Comment by Josh | April 2, 2007 | Reply

  3. Speaking of Grandchildren, When a man wears tight clothing, in this case bike shorts, there is the potential for increasing the temperature of the testicles and removing the body’s natural mechanism for cooling them as the scrotum can’t easily expand away from the body. Add to this the constant rubbing and pressure on the area from your bike saddle and you could potentially have a problem.

    Comment by Fertility Advice | April 2, 2007 | Reply

  4. Boys, what is your plan for Greece? Are you island hopping or going up around the top. You could pick up some new Lyrca in Mykonos.

    Comment by Query | April 2, 2007 | Reply

  5. Dont worry guys, i know we are putting too much pressure on you with this Lyrca but i am sure the third cyclist will have plenty;-) looking forward to that pictures!!hehehe…:-)

    Comment by Samia | April 2, 2007 | Reply

  6. Re Fertility Advice: I’ve found that havıng a dip in the Mediterranean this early in the year is all the cooling those boys need! Add to this the excessive virility of Team Cycopath and you’ll see there really isn’t a problem.

    Comment by Sean | April 2, 2007 | Reply

  7. Fellas, surely you have some stories, how about an adults only post?

    Comment by Dirt Digger | April 4, 2007 | Reply

  8. To those who enjoy reading the comments and haven’t put one up themself, get onto it. These two love a bit of banter and need plenty more of it to keep them going.

    Comment by More banter... | April 4, 2007 | Reply


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