Day 148 - Gračac

8 May 2022

Rain is forecast for the afternoon. We are up early, have breakfast, and are on the road. Today we take on our biggest single climb. Overall we gain almost 900 m in altitude. I can’t recall ever doing that much on a single ride. Most of the incline is a long single climb to 750 m.

“To see what others can not, you must climb the mountain” ― Ron Akers

Our first 10 km is flat going. Off the coast, on the foot of the mountains, the landscape has changed. Rocky and little plant life. Wild iris grow everywhere up here.

The climb is tough, but in taking on a challenge there is a determination to finish. There is satisfaction in an effort undertaken if completed. It drives you on. The body is capable of far more than we give it credit for. The mind is what usually quits.

“If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start.” - Charles Bukowski

The incline is steep and we have some heavy winds. Mostly crosswind, but occasionally a headwind. It is cold after the mild coast weather. We are in very low gears and the pace is slow. When we stop for breaks we take in some remarkable views.

We finally hit the summit and there is a strange feeling that we could have done more. It was taxing, but we both have more in the tank. There is a sense of achievement, but a strange anticlimax. We coast down the other side and hit our fastest speed ever on the bikes, 50 km/h.

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ― Henry David Thoreau

We hit the bottom and Gračac. Suddenly we are both exhausted. I think adrenalin played a role in the climb. I remember the first time I had a scuffle at school. My first fight, really. Just a kid, Year 3. I recall about ten minutes afterward I sat down exhausted and cried. The adrenalin is dumped and a hole remains. It is a difficult emotion to explain, but this feels similar. One moment infinite energy, the next exhaustion.

“We were all feeling that bit shagged and fagged and fashed, it having been an evening of some small energy expenditure.” ― Anthony Burgess

We grab some lunch and make some calls. Get some groceries for dinner and arrive at our place. It is a great spot. The room is awesome and the bikes are locked in a garage.

Shell has a shower, orders me to make some tea for her, and settles in for the afternoon. She gives me a few more jobs and a few more teas to prepare before I finally crash.

Just as I am typing there is thunder. Now it is raining. We beat the rain.

I am washed, warm, dry, and comfortable. I am proud of us both for tackling the mountain today. There were no bears, just three snakes.

I will cook dinner later. Maybe I will have a nap. Shell is asleep.

Today’s ride -


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