Out of Tbilisi
We departed Tbilisi this morning in a similar fashion to our arrival, via convoy. Everyone was on their bikes and with our Georgian vehicle out in front and the riders well protected by two support trucks at the rear, the convoy moved out onto George W Bush Street (must be dead-end!) and continued up the highway towards Lagodehki, a mere 150km away. Other than the first 20km, where the traffic was streaming past us at a rate that a Formula 1 driver would be proud of, the roads were narrow and the traffic gradually thinned out. The bumps and potholes were present here and there and although it wasn’t Grand Prix Circuit material, it wasn’t altogether too rough in comparison to what the riders faced a few days ago. Some rolling hills and a decent climb were followed by a fun downhill (nice, winding, fast and offering some great views), allowing the riders to move through the towns of Manavi and Badauri, situated in some of Georgia’s wine and cheese producing areas. There were vineyards and castles to view and large blocks of cheese and delicious fresh bread available on the side of the road to sample. Lunch was provided at 80km and before they knew it, Lagodehki was on their doorstep. It is a sweet town, brushed by the northern Caucus Mountains. It is also the last town before we say farewell to Georgia and cross into to Azerbaijan. Tonight, Miles made giant kebabs, fig salad (there are fig trees lining the sidewalks in the town here) and peppers along with delicious tasting dill and beet sauces for the meat. There were a few beers, glasses of wine (thanks to the Kennedys and Henry Gold) and shots of vodka! You can probably imagine how the riders are feeling. Summed up as “another of the best days ever, so far”, it was a nice route to follow after a rest day. So, tomorrow we enter country number 3, a welcoming festival and the promise of a ferry crossing on the Caspian Sea as well as some awesome mountain views! Tonight, try and wipe the smiles of the cyclists tired faces. I don’t think so!