Friday, June 27, 2008


Day 26, Esztergom to Budapest, 55km

I crawled out of the wet tent, stiff and sore but alive. There was a terrible lightning strom around 1:00 am. It started with a huge wind and then came the lightning and thunder and then the rain it lasted for about an hour. This same storm hit the big socccer game and dreched a 100,000 fans.

Thankfully we have only a short day today. The first part of the ride is 15 km hill climb which is billed has having a 1000 meters of climb. Somehow I think that number is inflated. However it was pretty steep. Jim had his first flat about half way up. It always amazes me how the tiniest piece of metal can find a cyclist's tires. Thousands of square feet and the tire magically finds something a millameter in diameter. The ride was though a steamy rain forest canopy. It sure helped keeping us cool. From the summit down was easy pedalling but put all my weight onto my sore shoulders. Every rut was a jolt. Thank fully the lunch was at the 35 km mark.

At lunch we were held for a 24 km group ride into Budapest. Duncan, the tour leader and Olivia, the tour mechanic had ridden into the city and back to make sure of the route. I lay down in the sun and had a nap for about an hour. This sure helped my shoulder. When they got back we headed into Budapest. Duncan described the route as a "bit dodgie" and he wasn't kidding. The route was tourtous down side streets, bike paths, alleys, and even a train station, which drew more than a few stares. We arrived on the opposite side of the river from the hotel with just the bridge to cross. Unfortunately we went down the wrong side of the bridge. The path just ended. There we were facing 8 lanes of screaming traffic. Duncan spotted a break in traffic and darted across. I amde it to the center island. However there I was with noway across. Duncan leaps out infront of the traffic with his hands in the air and stops traffic and I darted across. However there were still several riders trapped on the center island. Duncan is waving his hands but traffic isn't stopping. One lane would stop but the others wouldn't. Mike said Terry we have to help so we jumped out into traffic waving our hands, amongst a tremendous screaching of tires. The traped riders shot to saftey. I think I am going to take up something safe like base jumping with out a parachute. Once there all that was left was to head down to the hotel 2 km in the crazy traffic. I never head the horns or squealling tires all I heard was the pounding of the adrenalin in my head. My shoulder had stopped hurting. This is probably the scariest cycling moment I have ever encountered.

They say that Budapest is the Paris of the east. I believe it. It has the same look and feel. It is in much rougher shape. The roads are poor condition and everything is covered in graffiti. However in credit to the people of Budapest there is no garbage like in Mexico.

Tomorrow is a rest day and I get to recover.

All and all an exciting 58 km.

Thanks for visiting and thanks for your comments


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