Friday, September 7, 2007

Harley-Davidson fiesta

Most of the morning I cycled on cycle paths that twist around the main road, straddling the sides of the valley. Last 10 km however, I took the main road and despite the rather busy traffic it was a pleasant fast ride, more so as I knew that just 7 km from the border I will turn right into less frequented road (#111) along the Lesachtal. The #111 started with a bit tough but nice 500 m climb to the Kartitcher sattel at 1535 m. Then instead of turning down the road waved up and down for the rest of 45 km to Kotschach. I must have made anoter 1000 m of cumulative climbing in these undulations. However, with fine warm weather, intriguing winding road, not much traffic and great views down to the valley and up to the surrounding peaks, I loved every minute of it. From Kotschach I rushed on the main road (#110) at 40 km/h with a massive tailwind and soon I compensated for all the time lost in whirling on cycling paths that morning.

I set a target at 170 km mark for that day and as I came close to it within 1 km, I spotted a supermarket, which was ideal, as I planned on a big and cheap dinner that evening. I bought about 1 kg of food, put it in a plastic bag and rode to the first guesthouse in the village. "Leider, wir sind voll, alles ist reserviert" was the answer! I just couldn't believe my luck: in Austria, the country where you can be certain to get a bed and breakfast at the most tiny settlement any time you show up, they are full! Oh well, I'll just ride then to the next village. So with a 1 kg plastic bag in left hand (about 1/2 of all my luggage) I cycled off to the next village. But there were none until Arnoldstein - which was 10 km away. And at Arnoldstein - as you might have guessed - every guesthouse and hotel was full. The reason: the big Harley-Davidson fiesta was announced for tomorrow at some nearby lake and the bikers reserved every single bed in the whole valley. Jesus! I thought bikers were more relaxed than that - reserving in advance somehow doesn't fit my image of free, unconventional, intrepid spirit seeking speed and adventure.

So with 1 kg plastic bag in the left hand, half an hour before dark, I cycled off for the next 15 km, towards Villach. Half way down the road there was a turn-off to the right to Slovenia via Wurzenpass. I stopped there to think. If the whole valley is reserviert, then I might have problems finding accomodation in Villach. In Slovenia I was sure I could get a bed in Kranjska Gora or even in Podkoren, which is about the same distance as Villach. There were two drawbacks however: the terrible 20% grade section on Wurzenpass and 1 kg plastic bag in my left hand. Nevertheless I turned right. After 100 m I saw a sign for a guesthouse "Helena". I might as well try it, it'll take only half a minute to hear they're full. I rang and the lady Helena opened. From her peculiar dialect I half-understood that someone had reserved, but with it being so late they will probably show up tomorrow rather then today, so I could get a room for 22 euro just for tonight. OK said I, OK said she, I put the bike in the courtyard, went up to the room, put a 1 kg plastic bag on the table and looked at the computer. I made 194 km today. Sometimes in the past I strongly discouraged anyone to cycle with a backpack on the back, even if there was only a sandwich in it. Today I cycled 25 km with 1 kg plastic bag in my hand and I was feeling perfectly fine. Maybe it's time to reconsider some alternative ways of carrying luggage on a bike.

Day 6: 194 km. Total 816 km.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home