"When the skies open..."
by Patrick Burns
We rose early to sunrise views overlooking the Adriatic.
After 11 days of hugging the water, today begins our turn inland, away from the coast and into the mountains. We started with a bit of excitement and a bit of trepidation.
The symphonic intestinal tremors had now subsided into a mild vibration, but tired legs ruled the day.
We started off fast and furious, with the mountain climbs looming in the distance. The goal was to conserve energy while minimizing ascent. Unfortunately, a quick wrong turn led to a precipitous descent into Bakarac, Croatia, which meant a large and slow climb back up to make up for the lost elevation.
...and then we began to climb, and climb, and climb.
A quick breakfast of sliced meats, cheese, yogurt, cookies, and sodas and we were on our way (if I come back heavier than I left, I will not be a happy person!).
We were delighted by a prolonged descent and then to our 6th country: Slovenia! But first we stopped to clean up our bikes at a fancy gas station.
Side note: I will avoid Melania comments for now...and the country truly is lovely, but a guy on the other side of the road decided to honk and flip us off as we biked on by - we are just going to assume that a bicycle did something bad to him at some point and he holds a big grudge.
Now here's another pretty photo:
Miles seemed to go by in seconds as we coasted through small villages and raced with new found vigor with the changed landscape.
We saw lots of interesting flora and fauna along the way.
Hunger took over as we searched for food, being offered toasted bread and ham at one establishment before opting for a restaurant up the road with more substantial fare.
Justin even ran outside with blatant disregard for his own arid state to defend the honor of our trusty steeds as a Jeep was about to park on top of them.
We donned our expensive plastic trash bags and continued our journey.
The skies cleared and we once again could show our A2A shirts as we sped down country roads.
We were stopped by construction workers who told us that we could go no farther due to a large hole in the road. The only option was a dirt path and a river crossing through it proved no obstacle for these road-weary travelers.
We continued on to Ljubljana on a 10-mile bike path and ended up at a bike store for some quick maintenance (but really needed Chamois Butter - which we have given lots of colorful names on this trip).
We arrived in the old town and took a few photos before being escorted to our palatial suite for the evening.
We quickly showered, dressed, and went to Jakob Franc on the advice of our host. The place is virtually made of pigs and boasted a toasted pumpkin seed oil that makes any salad incredible.
Per routine, our night ended with a walk through a beautiful, old European city as we rushed to squeeze in a few sites on the way to gelato.
Tomorrow begins the big ascents! My legs hurt just thinking about it.
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ABOUT PATRICK BURNS
Patrick is an emergency medicine physician at Stanford University. He lives in San Francisco but grew up in the Boston area, where he attended medical school at Tufts University. He has been an avid triathlete and ultra-running enthusiast for many years, and has wanted to bike across a continent since 2014 when he hosted the other three in Seattle before launching them on their ride across the U.S. from Seattle to Boston.