Day 25, Gyor to Esztergom, Hungary, 108 km
It seems like it rains every night so that we get the fun of packing up wet tents. The good part of this is that it cools down from the 30+ C we have been having during the day. Breakfast has been set 30 minutes early because of the heat of the day. I think that this has encouraged the early risers, as people were walking around at 4:30 Am. The four of us left camp this morning and took a couple of wrong turns riding several kilometres out of our way. Jurg found a woman, whose son was studying German and he was able to give us directions. It was a good thing we had Jurg with us. The roads turned from bad to worse. The pavement ran out and turned to a dirt track. However as we were seeing people coming from the other direction we knew we were on the right road. Joco found some marijuana growing wild beside the road. But we decided that it was more likely its cousin hemp which does grow wild throughout Europe.
We passed though a number of small towns but there were no coffee spots. The small towns are really just groupings of farm houses, so there are no services. As a result we got to lunch which was at the 65 k mark, by 10:30. After lunch we set off though the town where lunch was along this extremely busy road. I reached down to get my water bottle out and just as I did this I hit a rock which pitched the bike into a curb. I knew I was going down so I grabbed the brakes hard and fought to regain control but there was no saving it because I couldn’t go to the left where the traffic was. So I ploughed into the curb spilling me into the grass. I hit with my right knee and elbow. I sat on the curb for a long time just trying to collect myself. Trying all the parts making sure everything still worked. After what seemed like half an hour I got up (Jim says it was only 5 minutes). Surly is one tough bike and was unhurt by my carelessness. Sorry buddy. I should treat you better. Getting back on was a real tough job as every thing hurt like hell.
I guess I should explain that when we went to Gyor we had left the Danube River valley and entered a side valley. To get back to the Danube we had to climb out of the side valley before we could re-enter the Danube Valley. The hills are easily 1000 feet high and to get from one valley to the next you sometime have to cross a lot of hills. The climb for the day had been set at 1500 meters. We had 45 kms to go it was 34C and there was a huge climb in front of us. About 2 k up the road we turned off the busy road and started the 10 k climb. The road wasn’t pavement the way we think of pavement. That is one continuous piece of asphalt, but more like pieces of asphalt one beside each other. If you took one wheelbarrow of asphalt at a time so it was more like cobbles. Every bump and rut jarred up though the handle bars to my aching shoulders. But I put my head down and Surly into low gear and ground up the hill. The summit was beautiful. Wineries spread out below us and the whole Danube river valley. The road down was steep and riding the brakes put all my weigh on to my shoulders. At the bottom of the hill there was about 10 k of extremely busy road so I got behind Fred and he drafted me in, while Jim rode shotgun behind me. Thanks guys!
At camp I lay on my ground sheet in the sun for about an hour, before setting my tent up and then just crawled in and slept for two hours.
There was huge electric storm around 1:00Am. The wind came up and then the lightning and finally the cloud burst. I understand that the same storm hit the big soccer match drenching 100,000 spectators.
A really tough day.
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