Zadar to Dubrovnik
I had been expecting to be joined by Matt and Tom in Zadar so we could race down the west coast of Croatia over four days in time for their return flight from Dubrovnik. This journey had two surprises. The first was meeting up with Shaun, the travelling northerner, who, since I had last met him in Genoa, had quit his job in Austria, collected his bicycle from Northumberland and started a cycle trip of his own. Intending to meet for just a day in Zadar before he head across the water to Italy, Shaun ended up staying with my host family and cycling as an honourary TeachFirst teammate to Dubrovnik.
The second surprise was that the day before Matt and Tom arrived they announced that they would need space for three to stay with my host family. Three? My mind spent the entire day running through the possibilities of who else was coming, but when I arrived at the airport it was, and had to have been, the stoical and wonderfully contemptuous Paddy O’Sullivan.
Cycling with three strong cyclists on racing bikes and an exceptionally determined cyclist on a touring bike certainly reminded me how lackadaisical I have become. During the four days of cycling I do not particularly remember seeing much of the Croatian landscape, but I could describe in detail Tom and Matt’s back tyres which I was doggedly following for most of the 397km to Dubrovnik. I lost sight of the boys intermittently when they got the competitive look in their eyes and powered up one of the many hill climbs along the D8 or tucked in and soared back down the well paved road to sea level. We also lost Paddy up ahead for most of the first day as he has one cycling mode only: commuting to work. A speed which serves him well on the 14 miles to work, but was slightly harder to maintain for our first day of 83 miles.
Tom celebrated our arrival into Dubrovnik with the classic in-the wrong-gear-starting-on-a-hill-whilst-clipped-in tumble. Thanks for the entertainment Tom.
The evening in Dubrovnik we found the best restaurant in town and ordered a sizeable barracuda, prawns, scampi and chips. Good times.
An excellent few days all round: excellent company, excellent cycling, excellent accommodation and excellent food. By the looks of Shaun’s blog, he had as an enjoyable time as we did: https://shauntoday.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/the-best-week-of-my-life/
The only one left slightly bemused was Paddy, who spent most of his time trying to get the cycling over and done with so he could enjoy his holiday, unsure as to why he had chosen to spend his half term sweating up hills rather than reading and gardening. Don’t worry Paddy, I sometimes ask myself the same question.