Spinning Recovery: Korkuteli to Antalya. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

February 25, 2014

Spinning Recovery: Korkuteli to Antalya.

Looking out first thing this morning it is damp, grey with low cloud; looks like I've a day of dripping rain ahead of me.

Breakfast is included in the thirty Liras hotel price. The usual Turkish breakfast: white cheese, olives, cucumbers and tomatoes and of coarse Cay, tea. Most of the other guests are men working locally. The hotelier is a young man who speaks some English. He interrupts his conversation with another guest and calls over to me "Michael" that's my other name "you ride to Antalya today" he grins with his forearms making a laboured spinning motion, to demonstrate pedalling, then nods in disbelieve that it is possible. Difficult to contemplate and crazy to try.

Symmetrically cultivated strips not far from todays start.
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The long road out of town back to the highway is wet under wheel, the air damp with a few spots of rain, though it doesn't look like its going to rain much. Or it could turn out to be one of those days with low dirty cloud where it begins a dripping from the sky, gradually building up to steady persistent rain. A real miserable wet day.

I put my rain-jacket on, as that usually means it'll stop, and vice versa, if I don't put the jacket on the rain usually comes on heavy.

I've now turned back onto the main four-lane highway and passed a sign: Antalya 56 KM. Its steady downhill, then curves around a corner of a hill and ahead I see an incline straight up and through a deep vee-cutting in the hill. But the rain is holding off. The road is dry here and I sweat as I begin climbing, so stop and take off my alpaca hat and thick gloves. I keep the rain-jacket on as it'll be needed soon against the chill of descending.

Beyond the crest in the cutting there's only a short sweep down and bottom out and a long incline leads up and onwards through the hills for a couple of kilometres more to a crest, whereupon begins an extremely steep descent, which is not enjoyable with my crappy cantilever brakes. I hold onto the brakes. They slow me enough but if something gets in my way, I wouldn't be able to stop quick enough. Further down there is snow at the side of the road. Looks like here got the brunt of yesterdays downpour. Most of the trucks are having a nervous time of it too as they lurch slowly down. One just ahead is overlapping the shoulder with the airbrakes hissing. I'm hoping it doesn't suddenly move the whole way into the crash-barrier as I try passing on the inside.

When the downhill eventually begins to level, I brake to a halt on a wide gravel apron to the side and see what can be done to improve the effectiveness of the brakes. I unscrew the front-brake pads which have worn wedge-shaped. Then retighten the screw, toeing the front of the pad in; that is the front of the pad nearer the rim's braking surface than the rear. This will result in the wheel partly locking when the brake is applied hard, meaning I can stop if a vehicle unexpectedly pulls out in front of me. The brake-cable is also slack, so I unscrew the fixing bolt carefully, only enough so I can using the pliers on my multi-tool, pull all the slack in the cable through and retighten the bolt firmly on the cable. I do the same with the rear-brake cable and now have reasonable braking power.

The remainder of the way is gently down with pine-clad slopes either side, then levels through tall pine forest with grey crags in gaps to the side as I approach the coast and Antalya. The run into the city-centre is straightforward following signs: Centrum.

Playing Backgammon.
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I've just eaten lunch but still have to find somewhere to stay. For some reason there was nobody in the tourist office, where I lifted a city-plan. On the back there are lots of photos of sights, but no info on places to stay. It does show another tourist office elsewhere. Riding along tramlines toward it, I spot a coffee shop and perhaps there I'll be able to google cheap hotels. There are lots of English and also a big table of Germans sat outside this café. I politely stop and ask the servitor twice for the WiFi code. Twice he said he'd come back out with it, but never did. I resort to asking the nice Turkish couple at the table next me, he was scrolling on his smartphone before she returned from inside. The network connects up, but then kicks off and fails to reconnect after many tries. Then having drank my coffee its time to leave, so I signal for the bill. The servitor is effective this time in answering my request. He returns out with a little folder and sets it on the table. I open the folder and gape in horror, as I see L 12,50 written upon the paper-slip therein. I turn to the servitor and bark "twelve fifty! That's absolutely incredible!?" I put down a twenty Lira bill and when he's gone to get change, I repeat angrily "twelve fifty. That's F--king incredible!"

I make my way along to the other tourist office and from there, I'm pointed in the right direction, to where all the cheap hotels are located. There I find a pension for twenty-five Liras a night. The price of two coffees.

Today's ride: 61 km (38 miles)
Total: 11,397 km (7,078 miles)

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