Today is D day, time to start actual adventure. Weather is almost perfect, blue sky with no clouds. Start of the first offroad section is almost 2 km away from start point. Good gravel road leads me over Igman
mountain. First break is at Hrasnicki Stan
Road gets better and better so naturally speed goes up. One deceptive corner almost managed to end the trip early on. After another short pavement section I arrive at Babin Do
, ski resort at Bjelasnica
Next stop: peak of Bjelasnica. There are two roads leading to the top. Normal one at the south western slope, almost suitable for passenger cars, and another one at eastern slope. Second road goes over ski slopes and it's poorly maintained. I choose second road as it's closer and because it allows me to make full circle, by going down on "normal" road.
Road is easy to ride until you reach final "plateau", few hundred meters bellow the top. You can see weather observatory at the top, almost straight above. Even from bellow it's obvious that this next section which will lead me to the top is very steep. Regular maintenance is done by snow and ice every winter and by wind and rain during other seasons :)
First part, until you reach first hairpin, is steep. "Roadbed" is made of large, loose and sharp rocks. Second section is even steeper. Luckily there is less loose stones so it's easier to find a good line. There are few places with rocks that act like steps. Only one thing on my mind "Don't stop!" Oh, and another one: "Don't go over the edge" :) Slope is so steep that it's very difficult to walk straight up or down... At next hairpin I met a group of climbers, they looked soooo surprised to see me there
By that time I was riding on pure adrenalin. That's what it is all about. It was short, it was challenging. It was, without any doubt, my most intense riding experience. After that road becomes normal again and I'm soon at the top.
Usual disclaimer applies: It's steeper and more difficult than it looks
Following the ridge I got to another ex military communication center. It's completely destroyed and abandoned now. I take a long lunch break and spend time photographing the place. Remember my freshly shaved head? You also know that sun shines stronger 2000 m up? Well, I forgot... After that my head was red as a lobster for next few days. :)
You can see weather observatory in the background
High res panorama:
Going back from the top I counted seventeen hairpins before reaching base of the hill... Loose gravel made descent a slow one.
Monument to the founder of weather observatory back in 1900. This area was extremely remote back then. Even 30 years ago (before olympic games) there were no roads. Only way in or out was on a horseback, or 12 hour walk to nearest civilization. And there are several villages even further away, my next destination.
Next destination is Lukomir
village. It's now being advertised as medieval village to promote tourism to this area. And indeed, only 20-30 years ago this was as remote as you could get. No roads, winters lasting more than six months. People had to be completely self-sufficient. Life is much easier today. There is a good gravel road leading to the village and most inhabitants leave during winters. Village is located in perfect spot, on a plateau at the edge of a deep canyon (canyon of Rakitnica
river, one of the deepest in Europe). I'll let the pictures do the talking.
Life was a bitch. Can you imagine removing all those stones from the ground to try and create some agricultural land???
Couple hours later I was ready to move on. I had to backtrack few kilometers to reach shortcut that will lead me to Umoljani
Damn traffic jams. I hate when everybody in traffic is behaving like sheeps...
After Umoljani I'm back on pavement until Sinanovici
village, some 10 km away. Close to Umoljani there is another medieval graveyard.
Pavement ends in Sinanovici and that marks the point where I venture into the unknown.
To be continued.