Day 5 - Sultankoy to past Tekirdag: Getting the hang of it - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

January 20, 2015

Day 5 - Sultankoy to past Tekirdag: Getting the hang of it

The first 30km were easy--I had planned to stop early and rest for the upcoming hills. But it was too early, even with a gas station tea break. I stopped at all the gas stations along the way, looking for a chamois-type cloth, which I finally found and promptly stuck in my underwear. I was too cheap to buy bike shorts, plus the ones in Istanbul had more padding than I like, but I found I desperately needed something for chafing.

No accommodation was forthcoming in Tekirdag, so again I continued on--the hills! First a short one, then an endless one. I had some fun when I passed a sign for an odometer test section because stuff like that amuses me. After the 5km between signs, my computer showed 5.02km, which is pretty darn good, though I don't know how many metres my uphill wobble added.

Then I saw a wonderful 7% grade/2800m sign. I didn't even get a rolling start because of traffic exiting the highway. I had to stop twice on the way up, but I managed to pedal the whole thing. But that was it for the day.

I was told I could camp on a gravel lot next to a restaurant, pretty sketchy, but I was finished. While waiting for it to get dark, I pondered how much I was sweating in the sun and wondered where winter was. I thought about how tough this highway route is for accommodation and looked forward to being done with it. I could potentially cross into Greece on Friday, if my legs hold up, but a rest day somewhere would be better.

Then an Azerbaijani cyclist showed up while I was waiting. And the story changed, now no camping after all, the dogs would keep us awake. Apparently the military said there is no camping, that tourists must stay in hotels, so the gas stations won't let us set up. So my new friend led the way and we camped in a rather open field. Seems the most important thing is to be out of sight of the road, not necessarily everyone else. I suddenly felt like I'm on an epic quest and my mentor appeared just when I needed him.

My knee is feeling better. I'll have to play around with saddle height, cleats, etc, and find the best of everything.

A note on the Jandarma (military): they were all over the place between Tekirdag and Malkara the next day. Maybe something's up locally, and the no camping rule is actually for safety.

Random plane before Tekirdag
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Pure evil
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Almost halfway up, looking back on Tekirdag
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Today's ride: 60 km (37 miles)
Total: 199 km (124 miles)

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