Day two, continiued
Next break is at medieval necropolis at Dugo Polje
, close to Blidinje jezero
lake. There are several of those necropolises in different parts of Bosnia.
After short pavement section around Bldinje lake it's time to start ascent to Cvrsnica
. Road to the top is some 12km long with some steeper sections with loose rocks but nothing to difficult.
Feet over the edge
At the top there is another ex military communication center. 25 years ago I would be in trouble just for trying to get close, let alone for photographing the place... There are several stories from those times where mountain climbers were intercepted by military just for taking pictures on nearby mountain tops... Now it's used for civil purposes and nobody cares if you're there. View is amazing. Valley (actually a plateau) with lake is some 1100m below, long and steep way down.
It was one of those really special and emotional moments. Warm sun and beautiful views. I could sit there for hours, just taking it all in. One look at the watch confirms what was already obvious: it's late, there is only couple hours of daylight left and I'm on half way point... Time to roll.
Descent was more demanding than the climb. I even managed to find some leftover snow (this was mid July).
Once down from the top I found myself on nice gravel road. I felt inspired so speed went up and up (all the way up to 60-70km/h 40-45mph :) For me that's fast when road is covered with rocks larger than fists).
At one point I realized that I'm no longer following tracklog. Since I don't like back tracking and this road is great for riding I decide to press on. After hitting one larger rock I slow down. Even then almost every contact with rocks produces nasty sound which makes me question front tire integrity. I come across some foresters who confirm that this road will take me to Mostar
, 30km further from Sarajevo than I expected. They didn't know if my originally planed route is passable (mines and landslides) so I definitely decide to stay on this road. What they didn't tell me is that there are almost 40km to Mostar, half of that on gravel.
Bike begins to behave funny, front tire is soft but not empty. Jet. I have all tools and knowledge necessary to patch the tire but decide to try reach civilization and tire shop. Riding very gingerly I reach tarmac. This was probably first time I was glad to see pavement. Tire still had some air in it so I managed to reach Mostar and gas station.
Mostar from above. Mostar is famous for its Old Brigde, as seen on next picture from one of my previous visits
I inflate the tire and wait some time to see if it will hold pressure. Few guys offer to help me but it's to late by that time and all tire repair shops are closed. After few minutes tire still looked good so I decided to move on. Now I knew that I could reach Sarajevo, even if it required frequent stops. Considering tire situation and the fact it was already dark I skipped last 40km long offroad section. 150km and 5 stops later I reach Sarajevo.
Tomorrow I took front tube out in order to patch it. I spent half an hour trying to locate the hole but there was no hole at all. In reality tire was probably just under inflated. After hitting several rocks I became paranoid and that was it. Further paranoia was fueled by different pressure reading at every gas station where I stopped. Ah, the funny games that brain can play with persons mind
Track log is at the following link:
Next time: Two short day rides around Sarajevo. After that it's back to scheduled adventure program