The smell of cycling.

We stink. Not through exercise and sweat as you may imagine, but because of the persistent rain and damp we are enduring. I’ve not smelt a bag of dead kittens before, but I imagine they would be preferable to our current condition. We have tried to clean our clothes a number of times but just cant get them dry, so they sit and fester in our bags. Our towels are awful so after we have cleaned ourselves we have to smear their bad smell over us only to put clothes that smell back on. Everything feels greasy through body grease, bike stuff and cooking. Our shoes haven’t been dry for at least four days, we can’t wear our last precious pair of dry socks with them as they will be instantly wet, instead we have to put a cold wet pair on every morning. Its pretty grim and we are really desperate for some dryer weather. Today was supposed to be our rest day and we were going to stay in a campsite at Bovec, a small town in NE Slovenia where we could do some hiking nearby, but it was further than we thought. We had camped last night just over the summit from the pass, it was cloudy but dry otherwise and we had found some old WW1 ruins near a stream. The view was amazing, huge soaring bare rock mountains filled the panorama in front of us. We had enough food to throw something together had access to water, Sheena was still carrying the bottle of schnapps we were given so we cracked that open to celibrate – it was deadly. It was dark by 8pm and 30 minutes later we were out for the count.

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As always our alarm went off at 6, the familiar sound of rain on the tent meant it was put on snooze a number of times before we made any effort to try and wake up. Unzipping the entrance for a peek out left us wanting to crawl up and stay inside, we were clearly up in the clouds and it was wet and windy. We made the effort to sort ourselves out and were ready to set off about an hour later, it was really quite cold and very wet so we were keen to make a move. Essentially we thought the morning would be easy, we had 1000m of vertical descent, but the road was very steep with sharp switchbacks. Our bikes are heavy and the brakes are not very good at stopping, especially when it is wet, so constant attention is needed! Sheena didn’t feel particularly comfortable so we had to take a few breaks to let our hands rest, but we made it down the 20km or so without peddling and very quickly, passing through clouds and with the occasional amazing view. The rain continued as we descended, however the 30km along the valley floor was not as flat or downhill as we thought. The road passed up and down the sides, crossing tributaries with steep sides. We were broken after the day before and these unexpected climbs did not help. After arriving in Bovec we were soaking again and passed a hostel, although cheap in the back home sense of the word staying there was going to cost us. We needed a rest and couldn’t camp in the pouring rain again so decided to stay there where we warmed ourselves with cheap wine and hot showers.

And our camping spot in the morning!

And our camping spot in the morning!

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The fire water!

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