Day 20 - Bitola to Resen: Snow day - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

February 4, 2015

Day 20 - Bitola to Resen: Snow day

After a day off in Bitola, a day of a fruitless search for bike parts, a day of sunshine and pleasant wandering and watching everyone enjoying the rare day of sun, I woke up to rain. Of course.

With two passes between Bitola and Ohrid, I planned to take two days to cover the 70km. The passes aren't like the one before Prilep, but I wanted to avoid running-out-of-daylight issues. Sunset is before 17:00 and I am slow on hills.

Before I even left Bitola city limits, the rain started changing to snow and my chain came off when I shifted to the small chainring. Must have been freezing up a bit. Roadside fix, add oil, and on my way. It's funny how adding a bit of snow makes people really stare at you when you're on a loaded bike. There are people on bikes all over this country, biking in the rain and this bit of snow, but I'm the crazy one. Fair enough, I can't really argue with that. A man even stopped me on the road to insist I not continue because there was too much snow on the pass. Even if there was that much snow, it's no problem for someone with food, a tent, and some patience. I figured by the time I got there, they'd have the road cleared anyway.

Riding in snow isn't unpleasant--it was actually nice to bike in snow again--but it's slow, hard work. Going uphill is hard work. Riding with a load is hard work. So after the snow started accumulating on the road and on me, I got tired and decided to push the bike for a while, if only to save my legs for the next pass tomorrow.

Not knowing where the pass was, only how slow my progress was, when someone stopped and offered a lift to Resen, I accepted. Almost immediately, we were going downhill! He invited me to stay at his house, said his wife spoke some English. He mainly spoke to me in Italian. I figured it was fine, that since he didn't know I was a woman when he pulled over (my bad weather clothes are shapeless and I had my face covered), he would just treat me like a random crazy cyclist. Not exactly, but he didn't try anything, either. Just something to deal with in places with less Westernized cultures, and yes, Macedonia is more traditional than I expected.

Between him and his wife, I think I reached a new record for languages used in a conversation (of very limited scope except for English), at 5.

The snow stopped by the evening. The news was all about flooding in Bitola and Strumica, the weather forecast questionable, my hosts saying the road to Ohrid wouldn't be any good for a bike tomorrow. But I am a winter cyclist, and I say it'll be fine.

Take away the hill and it was pleasant cycling
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Today's ride: 23 km (14 miles)
Total: 1,001 km (622 miles)

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