Aaaaaah the total bliss of another beautiful, fast and early riding day for the Silk Route contingent! I mean, at present most of them think that “life is good” again today as the majority of the crew were in at Olympic Park (yes, it really is and complete with the Olympic Rings as well!..and all the other nice facilities that we have no access to) by 4pm and were they happy or what????!!!! As Jan G summed it up: “my best riding day so far!” The day included some ups, more so after lunch where we had a sweet little 3km “grunty” climb that so far no one has complained about (I dare say that the riders have become immune to the word climb and just go ahead and do it anyways now) but was also complete with the fast little down hills that only our mountain bikers could love just a little too much. The road was oh, so-so with a few off road sections (nothing to write home about) and some bumps and potholes but the best was saved till last – I mean with lunch at 60km and the road finishing at 99km instead of the predicted 115km, who couldn’t be happier????? Scenic vistas dotted the route, mountains in the distance, rolling hills at our doorstep and the usual speeding traffic but right nowâ€¦â€¦soup and bread on offer, tunes on the stereo, cold beers up the road, hot showers that make you appreciate having a hot shower, a grassy place to pitch our tents, ipods and books getting some use and word has it that apparently we are getting some traditional meat dumplings for dinner.
Samaxi is a fairly small town on the side of a hill – what the riders really want are ATM machines and markets that sell beer, chips, ice cream and whatever other snacks they crave. Samaxi has all of this so of course it is a hit. Our accommodation is on the outskirts of town so most riders have done the quick dash in to get supplies and it seems that many have decided to hang at Olympic Park (it really is set up for athletes and elite sporting programmes) and rest up before the onslaught into Baku tomorrow – full riding day plus our normal convoy into a city may mean for a long day…but with a few rest days coming up no one is complaining. Yeeehah! Riding the Silk Route in Azerbaijan just rocks!