|Yikes..I gotta climb over those!|
Dismissing this irrelevance I hit the gas and took the right turn at Gonendere and headed up to Tirmen. Here the mountains in front of me started to grow to silly size as the climb started gradually at first.
The villages here are quiet, dogs sleep in the middle of the road and the village tractor drives around them so as not to disturb them. UK drivers take note, this is how it should be. Climbing, the road surface changed to a rougher asphalt. On a climb like this such a surface is fine, I wasn't breaking any world speed records anyway so it was time to park my dainty derriere firmly in the saddle and enjoy the views.
|Th rough asphalt road on this climb|
The views got better as the the climb progressed. As I rode across the summit the full force of the wind I had been protected from hit me, the clouds appeared and the temperature dropped. As sure sign I had made it despite Cyclops' best efforts to bugger up the indexing on my rear de railer.
|Ok on the way up but a little bumpy coming down|
|A typical switchback here|
I turned left and followed the switchbacks down to Esentepe, a small village a quarter of the way down the other side of the Mountain. As I rode through at a 'sensible speed' in excess of 30 mph I the guy I narrowly missed exclaimed in a heavy Turkish accent, " My word, My Word Sir.... is a very BEEEEG Biksiklet!"
Now you insult my bike and you insut me. My first thought was that all other bikes are midget size, my second thought was who the fcuk was this tiny goatherder anyway, and my final thought was to accept the compliment, laugh and continue with my death defying descent from the village of Esentepe to the coast. I chose the right option.
|This could kill a cyclist drainage inspector|
|Arsen Venges next career move|
Narrowly escaping serious injury and worse, wheel damage, I just managed to avoid one of Cyclops strategicly placed cyclist traps. A drain cover designed by a peasant of ill repute with an in bred hatred of road cyclists no doubt. This is the only such death trap I have seen in Northern Cyprus, although I have seen several similar one in the south of the island.
|Smelling the Rain|
Gradually the smell of rain changed to the sound of rain. Heavy drops hit my helmet with increasing intensity. At least it was warm I told myself and put the pedal to the metal and tried to out run the approaching storm. I was soaked through within moments, my road shoes filled to thr brim with water, as the spray from my front wheel had me wondering where I could get a set of race blade mudguards from in Iskele. Sacriledge!
|Waiting for the Rain to stop|
The harder it rained the cooler it became. I took a pitstop at the first 'market' store I saw and sat under cover drinking apricot juice and water. Here the entertainment consisted of four overweight Brits attempting to get the balls out of the pool table. "Oh luv, go ask the geezer why this fing dont take me quid eh". 'Luv' duely obeyed , returning with wise words of wisdom from the 'geezer'. " Shuv a TL in it, it's Turkish innit".
Quietly I placed my helmet back on my head and rode off before anybody figured out I was also English.
Although the rain was easing the wind wasn't. Riding on a perfect surface over rolling hills hugging the northern shore, I passed familier coves, which I have been meaning to go snorkelling in for nearly a month now. I made a mental note to pull my flippers up and get wet. Oh wait a minute, I'm already soaked to the skin. Such are the thoughts of a road cyclist in such moments.
|Abandon hope all yee who ride up here !|
|25% up through a Steamed|
up lens after the Storm
The village of Kaplica had arrived. Cold wet and tired I turned Rubic into the wind and faced the climb of doom head on. I attacked reaching speeds well in excess of 3 mph as I ground my way up this familier climb.
The rain had made the road slippy with mud and my rear wheels span as I stood out of the saddle. Sitting was the only option, and boy did my bum ever wish it wasn't. The climb is beautiful, I call it the 'Snake' because of its endless switchbacks as it craws its way up the steepest side of the mountain here. As I climbed I noticed the yellow flowers were out, and the tress seemed greener in after the summer storm.
A tourist in a rental car waved at me as she came down the 'snake'. At such moment sit's important for a road cyclist to hold his belly in and look, well, 'Unknackered' really. I collapsed in a heap as soon as she was around the first bend!
At the top I gathered my breath, and headed straight out along the ridge. This section of the ride is probably my favourite of all the rides here in Northern Cyprus, well worth the pain on the climb.
|Looking back at the Storm and the Mountains|
Soon the descent was upon me, flying around the bends and concentrating more on the road than the views for a change due to the slippery surface I flew down to the awaiting plain below, narrowly missing a young boy walking up the hill from school. He cheered me as I nearly killed him. It's nice to feel appreciated.
In Iskele Cyclops had saved his worst until last as usual. A full on gale force head wind blowing in off the sea all the way back to base camp, a freshly cooked omlette full of all kinds of goodies, a Hot Jacuzzi and cooling swim in the indoor pool. Perfect.