Day 20: Lepetane to Podgorica, Montenegro

, August 17, 2011

The old capital of Montenegro, Cetinje is an interesting town with eerie old buildings. I had a massive lunch at the excellent Restaurant Kole, super cheap and awesome food. The final 30km or so of my journey undulated a few times before I lost all my altitude as I headed down to the plane and Podgorica at just 40 metres above sea level.

Day 19: Zupa Dubrovacka to Lepetane, Montenegro

, August 16, 2011

I have now left Croatia behind and ridden into Montenegro. Due to an alteration to my route, I avoided Sarajevo and continued down the Croatian coast, entering Montenegro further south than I had originally planned. So rather than ride in the mountains today, I am still on the coast. This isn’t altogether a bad thing because I’ve heard numerous positive reports of the Kotor fjord,

Day 18: Trpanj to Župa dubrovačk, Croatia

, August 15, 2011

racked up 3000m of climbing today.

I arrived in Ston sooner than I had anticipated so stopped for a coffee. A bakery sat to the side of the cafe – one great combination. Note: Ston has a fort on the hill with an impressive walled perimeter. Refuelled with awesome local pa

Day 17: Split to Trpanj (Peljesac)

, August 14, 2011

I digress, here I am on the Peljesac Peninsula, a spit of land which juts out the side of Croatia and into the Adriatic Sea just north of Dubrovnik. The ferry this morning took me to Korcula, a stunningly green island with few settlements and some sizeable hills. I rode the length of the island from Vela Luka to Korcula, working along perfectly smooth and deserted roads that made for some nice riding.

Day 16: Rogoznica to Split, Croatia

, August 14, 2011

Alps and Dolomites. I aim to fix this in the next few days. With just another 3 days riding after today, it’s time to step it up a notch and crack on for Podgorica, hopefully gaining enough slack for a detour into Montenegros’s black mountains.

Day 15: Pasman to Rogonzica, Croatia

, August 12, 2011

Entering into Sibnenik I noticed a UNESCO sign, indicating that the town was a World Heritage Sight. A quick check on Wikipedia over coffee revealed my target; The Cathedral of St. James.

Day 14: Novalja to Pasman, Croatia

, August 11, 2011

So here I am in Pasman, just the sort of place I have been searching for this trip. A real paradise, I could certainly stay here for a few more days. But, tomorrow I continue south and keep on my bearing to Dubrovnik.

Day 13: Krk to Novalja, Croatia

, August 10, 2011

I first rode south on Krk towards the ferry at Valbuska. Krk is a nice island with lots of trees and a surprising amount of green. I then had a long 1.5hr ferry to Lopar on Rab, soaking in the sun and looking out at bright blue sea and islands all around.

Day 11: Soca to Postojna, Slovenia

, August 8, 2011

After 145km I arrived here at Postojna where I am 4 km from the largest caves in Europe, which I plan to check out in the morning. I knew today that if I could get away from the mountains, the weather would be likely to improve. I am now only 100km north of the Dalmatian coast so surely the weather couldn’t be that terrible here?

Day 10: Soca River and Bovec – Rest day

, August 7, 2011

Today I rode the 26km round trip to Bovec to get food before the shops shut at 12 and to book a canyoning trip for the afternoon. I also sat in the town and drank cheap coffee. I joined a French couple who I met here at Korita Camp in Soca for a three hour canyoning trip. The Karst limestone region here is renowned for its gorges and rivers. Canyoning, rafting and kayaking are all being carried out in a big way.

Day 9: Kotschach Mauthen to Soca, Slovenia

, August 6, 2011

At 1611m, the Vrsic pass is the highest in the Eastern Julian Alps and a climb I had read about some time ago and been wanting to ride. The descent consists of 26 tight hairpins, but this time they were paved. The highlight was a Porsche 911 pulling over to let me past as he realised I was faster then him.

Day 8: Forni di Sopra to Kotschach Mauthen

, August 5, 2011

On May the 21st I watched my cycling heroes on Eurosport as they tackled the Monte Zoncolan in the Giro d’Italia. The road looked unbearably steep, and even the for the finest cyclists in the world, the challenge of getting up the mountain was immense. I knew I had to experience it and when planning the route for this tour, the opportunity presented itself. I would start the Alps with l’Alp d’Huez and finish the Dolomites with Zoncolan.

Day 7: Pozza di Fassa to Forni di Sopra

, August 4, 2011

Unfortunately the decent was short lived, dropping 800m in just a handful of kilometres. Then the road traversed the mountain and headed up again into the trees. Another hard pass, Passo di Falzarego, forced me to stop for lunch after just a few kilometres as I felt my blood sugar levels dipping. I felt poor on this climb but eventually found a rhythm tapping my thumbs on the handlebars and trying not to think about it too much.

Day 6: Garda to Pozza di Fassa

, August 3, 2011

I set off from the glitz and glamour of Garda and having ridden 35 km to the lakes northern tip (Riva del Garda), I began climbing. The first pass of the day taking me over to Roverto was not too painful but served to warn me of what the Dolomites has to offer. I then had an awesome decent hitting a max speed of 76 kmph and in doing so lost the altitude i had gained. The route, interspersed with long dark tunnels, spat me out at Trento.

Day 5: Cremona to Maderno, Lake Garda

, August 2, 2011

The lake started looking very appealing as the temperature crept up. A quick check of the map, another 20 km up the lake, and I decided I could call it a day. Giving myself a rest afternoon seemed like real luxury, I still covered 119km through Cremona, Asolo, Desenzano and Maderno so I can rest easy.

Day 4: Alessandria to Cremona

, August 1, 2011

My route today took me from last night’s camp 7km north of Alessandria along the SS10 to Piacenza and on to Cremona. I sit now at camp on the banks of the Po.

Day 2: La Grave to Pinerolo, Italy

, July 30, 2011

From camp at 1400m I began the day climbing, working hard over numerous switchbacks that elevated me to 2058m and the summit of the Col du Lautaret with the infamous Col du Galibier looming ahead. The Galibier is for another trip so today I instead pointed the bike downhill and pushed for Briancon down a long, swooping decent which needed little braking – finally I seemed to be making good progress after a slow start.

Day 1: Grenoble to La Grave, France

, July 29, 2011

Hello, and welcome to my European cycle touring adventure blog. Over the next 3 weeks I aim to ride from Grenoble, France to Podgorica,Montenegro. I am taking in a few famous routes on my way including l’Alp d’Huez in the French Alps, Monte Zoncalon in the Italian Dolomites and the Vrsic Pass in Slovenia before cruising down the Croatian coast, cutting inland to Sarajevo and finishing up with a ride through the Montenegrin mountains. My aim was to create an interesting route, and to take in several countries with varying cultures along the way.