DID WE SPOKE TOO SOON?
Just when we were congratulating ourselves on avoiding any serious bike troubles so far, stages 4 and 5 came back to haunt us. Both were big stages, stage 4 had two big climbs over 1000m and stage 5 kept on going and going and going for 135km. Those who suffered the most were Mike (minus 3 spokes and 4 gears) and James (minus two spokes and another flat). It has been hot too, but our major nemeses are the trucks.
We are stuck on highway D100 for a few days and it seems eastern Turkey is not the usual place to find a bike convoy. Most cars, buses and trucks are excited to see us and honk away as they pass, and all the locals wave and say hello, but about one in ten of the trucks seem to have decided that their role is to rid Anatolia of all two-wheeled transport. Donâ€™t worry, though, the hard shoulder is usually enough for us to dive off onto for safety!
We are now in Turkeyâ€™s tea and tobacco growing region yet would you believe it we are staying in one of Turkeyâ€™s premier ski resorts!! You wouldnâ€™t think it to look at it but skiing has really taken off here so the temperatures must dip below 30* at least for a couple of months!!!
Two more days to the rest day but everyone seems to have found their cycling legs by now and the pace is, if anything, quickening. We now feel like a real group and eagerly gather round to sample Miles and Haticeâ€™s culinary delights! Joan is up and running too with a few aches and pains to â€˜doctorâ€™ and we are enjoying our mix of camping and teacher dormitories.
We have 12 â€˜ridersâ€™ and 4 â€˜racersâ€™ so pictures of all will follow. Todayâ€™s stage caused a big shock, however, as a â€˜riderâ€™ (Dan) beat all the â€˜racersâ€™ â€“ but he modestly attributed all his success to The Duck to whom he gave the honour of crossing the finish line first!
Punctures: 4 today, total 12
Days to go: 105