Page 9 - DLNjan2016-1002
P. 9

Continued from last month - Jaynes Race across Europe

              : The alarm as usual went off at 03:30 I heard Katie get up and
then get back into bed. By 06:00 she admitted defeat and scratched from
the race. I was to carry on alone so taking her Garmin, the only unit which
still had the planned routes intact, and the paper maps I packed up and
headed out alone hoping that Katie would somehow make it to Istanbul to
meet me on the finish line.

This was a defining moment for me although I didn’t know it at the time. In
hindsight I realised that I hadn’t thought twice about riding through the
remaining countries alone, Albania, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey, I was
confident enough to do this; my time with Katie had taught me that. This
was the first event I had ever ridden where I was the stronger and more
experienced person both physically on a bike and emotionally and I had
naturally taken responsibility for our progress through the race from quite
an early stage. So it was with mixed emotions that I left the hotel that
morning, sad that Katie would not complete her challenge and excited that
another adventure was about to start for me. Perhaps this is why I loved

I push on through Albania with no issues at all, it’s hot and the climbs are
frequent and long but not too tough, I even came across this monument to
TDF champion at the top of 1 long climb.

My next decision was whether to stop for the night in the town before the
border crossing in to Macedonia or to try and cross before it got too dark.
As I approached Pogradec a brief glance at my Garmin showed the end point
of the day was in sight, Struga in Macedonia, and compared to the scale I
was using on the Garmin it appeared to by only about 5 miles away. It was
twilight but with just 5 miles to go I decided to go for the border. Big mistake.
The border crossing between Albania/Macedonia must be one of the highest
in Europe and as I approached the hill ahead of me the Garmin map unfurled
itself to show switchback after switchback, it may have been only 5 miles but
that was as the crow flies! Having left the town behind me I was committed

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