Day 53, 15/10/22 Inner storm

I woke up early on my bunk bed in a hostel’s dorm, in the city of Split. I grabbed my belongings to have a stroll. My rumbling tummy got fed with a, still warm, croissant from a local bakery. I wandered, on this sunny and yet quiet Saturday, through the alleys of the old town, until I came across the local food market. With curious eyes, I walked through the stalls of fruit, vegetables, honey and meat. Women were selling sauerkraut, which they scooped out plastic barrels, with their bare hands. I was intrigued and bought a handful. Then, some traditional homemade bread, caught my eye, I bought a quarter from the old lady and local cheese to go with it. Every time I bought their local goods, I watched the old women’s eyes lighting up.

Back at the hostel I ate my prey for breakfast. When I finished, it was, once again, time to reload the bike.

I could feel an inner storm brewing. The uncertainty of the route ahead, led me into a state of anxiety. My rough idea was to ride to Bosnia in the upcoming days. However, the route was unclear. Online I was asking for recommendations of routes. Different opinions were stated, some said to avoid Bosnia at all, as cycling would be very dangerous there. No matter which route I was investigating, all of them included climbing mountains. Again?

When I finally left the hostel behind, I still was not certain about the route. I will figure it out on the go, I thought. It felt calming and proactive to push the pedals again. While I was riding I was repeating affirmations in my head to encourage myself.

The beginning of the journey was pleasant and on paved roads. Soon, was I led further and further away from the city, closer and closer to the mountains. However, everything the route laid out in front of me, my legs and body dealt with. I could feel how strong my body was, after almost eight weeks of travelling on a bike. Why was I questioning my abilities? Why did I always doubt myself before cycling mountains? I was pleased by my bodies performance and knew: today my body was leading and my mind is getting dragged and pushed by my body, until it can keep up again.

While my body was doing the work, I led my mind work on itself. With every push I got more confident. I often get asked during this journey, if I am not scared. I am scared – if I don’t believe in myself. If I don’t take this journey step by step, one day at a time, I doget overwhelmed.

Things were going really well, until my back tyre lost air. I stopped on the side of the road, turnt my bike upside down and started to remove the wheel calmly and focused. Suddenly it daunted me, that neither had I updated my puncture kit nor fixed the tubes with existing punctures. What a rookie mistake, I thought, standing in a remote area on a mountain. When I checked my tube, it didn’t have one puncture but multiple – Swiss cheese! I had two patches left and was running low on puncture glue as well. Soon I found myself in a state of fear and desperation. Stay focused! I fixed the punctures, however when I pumped up the tyre, I could instantly hear airflow. The puncture was still leaking. Now I was going through my bags, desperately looking for the spare tubes, not remembering, if both of them had existing punctures. Inspecting them, every little mark started to look like a puncture. I decided to use one, which seemed to have none or maybe only a slow leaking puncture. It stunned me, how many cars had passed me in this whole time, not a single car had stopped to check on me. Would I stop, I asked myself – maybe after today, maybe after this journey.

When finally my bike was reloaded, I was praying for the air to stay in, not knowing when the next bike shop will appear.

Again, I stopped to ask some locals to refill my water bottles. It was close to sunset, which means: refill water bottles, buy groceries if necessary and find a suitable campsite. While I was waiting for the woman to fill my water bottle, I frantically took everything out of my frame bag – there it was – an additional puncture kit, with three patches left. Deep breaths!

When I noticed that the leak, in the back tube was slow, I was eager to make up some distance.

At around 5.30pm I stopped pushing and gave in to dinner and a campsite, just after the town of Sestanovac next to some olive trees and the mountains at the horizon.

So long – dovidenja from Sestanovac!

10 responses to “Day 53, 15/10/22 Inner storm”

  1. You seem to be getting quite a few punctures! How worn are your tyres? Might be time for some new ones if you keep getting punctures…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Two of them I bought new for the journey. The other two are quite worn. I’m getting remarkable less punctures since I changed the tyres and have proper profile now. But there are so many spiky plants around here, which seems to be the main issue!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Vera Albuquerque Avatar
    Vera Albuquerque

    Hello Madeline! My husband and I will ride from Drvenik to Ploce and then Mostar from tomorrow. We are from Australia. We are currently in Hvar. Let us know if you’re in the area and maybe we could meet. Cheers, Vera (our insta is @the_cyclists_of_oz)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Vera, where are you guys now? I am in Mostar can only access internet with wifi here!


      1. Vera Albuquerque Avatar
        Vera Albuquerque

        Wow you’re fast! We are still in the Hvar island and will be in the mainland today (Drvenik). We will probably get to Mostar the day after tomorrow (Wed 19th). Are you staying there for a while?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You are right, that is the whole point: just look at your next step. If you look any further at the task ahead, it gets overwhelming. Especially in difficult circumstances like today.
    I cycled with a friend, we could pull each other through if needed. But you have only you to rely on, that makes it an even bigger accomplishement. So: Well done! Really, really very well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stay strong and trust your insincts! You’re doing great!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hallo Madeleine,
    mit großem Interesse verfolge ich Deine Reise und die damit verbundenen Abenteuer und möchte Dir wieder einmal meine Hochachtung zu Deinen Leistungen aussprechen!
    Du brauchst nicht an Dir zu zweifeln; DU BIST STARK!!!
    Was mich etwas verwundert:
    Du bist ja nun vom EV8 weg (Sestanovac) und verfolgst offenbar den N1 Radweg?
    Ich bin gespannt wie Deine Reise weiter geht.
    Wie auch immer: viel Glück und eine gute unfallfreie Fahrt !


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