March 3

Great day today! We’ve climbed up onto the Anatolian plateau, currently sitting at about 900m above sea level, and covered about 120km, a significant amount of it climbing.  Met some lovely people and finally got around to using the stove! 

Day started early, with a beautiful sunrise and the cars waking me about 7am – no adhan which was nice.  One of the warmest nights we’ve had in the entire trip and I was sleeping halfway out my bag all night.  We were on the road by 8, and spent the first hour climbing before it flattened out again and we moved through Bursa.  Ryan had a bit of a hairy moment when he got caught in a tram line and went over his handlebars into the path of incoming traffic, but luckily it was all moving quite slowly so he was fine.  After Bursa we headed to a place called Inegol and we had a beautiful stretch of road towards it, flat as a pancake and we were making amazing time – by noon we’d done 65km – so we were fair chuffed.  We stopped in Inegol to grab a bit of food and a man started chatting to me about our bikes and where we were going.  He didn’t have great English, but he asked if we wanted to come for some cey at his work, a furniture factory further down the road.  Well sure we do, so he took us, on his bike, across to Beramo, where we met the boss (who luckily had great English) and they gave us some delicious cey, and the boss man, Cevdet, gave us his card and told him to call us if we ever need help.  Just as we were waving goodbye, another man across the road grabbed us and wanted to know where we were going to, what were we doing etc, and offered us even more cey.  We had to refuse and got back on the road. 

We had a beautiful piece of flat riding from Inegol, but it didn’t last long at all.  We were cycling straight towards some pretty serious mountains and soon we were climbing again.  The gradients weren’t too steep, all below 7%, but it went on for about 40km, taking us from 200m above sea level to over a 1000.  Considering the clouds were pretty heavy, I was concerned about us having snow once night fell, so we made sure to push to the top and get down the other side.  Admittedly, once the other side came we only dropped about 100m before it flattened out again.  We were able to find a nice place to camp in a small copse of trees, just as darkness fell.  We were both pretty hungry, so I decided to finally fire up the stove I’ve been carrying all this time and make us some pasta.  It was far easier than I was expecting and the stove was brilliant – water boiled and pasta cooked in ten minutes.  Both of us pretty knackered from the day, and hope my legs are still able to work tomorrow.  Hopefully by end of day tomorrow we should be over halfway to Ankara.

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