Saturday 12th October 2013 – Pogradec to Kozani, Greece.

Pogradec to Kozani, Greece. 110 miles.

Good ride today, no rain and a lot of downhills, I did have a biggish climb to get out of Pogradec first thing this morning, but apart from that it’s felt mainly down hill, or maybe because the sun was shining it felt a lot better!
Bit of a wait at the border to get into Greece earlier but nothing too bad, I jumped the queue in the end seeing as it wasn’t moving and got through in no time.
Seen loads of signs telling you to watch out for bears, never saw any.
The last fifty or so miles have been on a motorway, so it was a fairly fast ride for me, I was going to stop a lot earlier and get off the motorway but all the towns I saw didn’t look very much or were up a hill!
I could hardly walk at all once I did stop tonight, don’t think the girl on reception could believe I could ride a bike considering I couldn’t even walk!

Friday 11th October 2013 in Pogradec

My leg is really starting to play me up now, it’s not even that good when I’m cycling, although I can cycle a lot better than I can walk. When I’m peddling I’m not too bad but as soon as I stop and put a foot down that’s when the pain starts! And I’m now finding any excuse to stop although I don’t know why as I’m in more pain off the bike than I am on it! Just need to pull myself together and get finished, I might change my finish point I’ll see tomorrow it depends how I feel when I’m cycling, I’ve got about fifty miles to do before I have to decide!
Why I want to go home though I don’t know (apart from seeing family and friends which is always good) as I know I’m going to be in a lot more pain, but at least I can get some stronger pain killers, which will hopefully help and maybe I’ll have to try and get this sorted once and for all!

Thursday 10th October 2013 – Elbasan to Pograbec.

Elbasan to Pograbec. 54 miles.

Really struggling again with my leg again at the moment!
Been riding up through a valley following a river for the best part of the day which was nice, always like being near water!
Also had my first puncture on this trip, just as I went round a bend and started to go up a hill it went bang, literally! Well that’s a pain I thought! But hey ho can’t complain really, so I just pulled over to fix it, not being able to find the puncture I just replaced the inner tube with a new one, put the wheel on and all my bags and started to proceed on my way again. I’d just turned the pedals a couple of turns when it went bang again, surely I didn’t run over whatever gave me the puncture in the first place again did I? Again I pulled over to fix the puncture, this tine I did find it and it was too big a hole to fix, so I fixed the original inner tube and again put it all back together, it was only while I was pumping the tyre up that I noticed a split in the side wall of the tyre with the inner tube bulging out! Once again I took it all off, put a new tyre on (I always carry a spare) and once again put it all together. As I was pumping it up the bloody pump broke! The plastic casing had obviously got brittle and just snapped, managed to bodge it together with some gaffer tape, it doesn’t work fully but allows me to get enough air in the tyre so I can at least cycle on it. That little episode must have taken nearly two hours in total.
Once I did get going it was the normal cycling up and down hills for an hour or so until I could see a huge mountain in the way, hoping I was going to go round it or through it perhaps, but the closer I got the more I thought I could see traffic crawling up it, yep I certainly could that was the way I had to go!
A thousand metre climb with most of it on a 10% gradient! I had a beer at the top of that one! Going down the other side was good fun!

Wednesday 9th October 2013 – Bushat to Elbasan.

Bushat to Elbasan. 80 miles.

And there was me saying how bad the hotel was yesterday, yet I had the best nights sleep I’ve had in a while, not sure whether it was because it was cooler but my leg didn’t keep me awake either! Calm before the storm I think I’m in chronic pain again tonight!
Nice flat ride this morning all the way to Tirane, although according to my map I wasn’t there, before I knew it I was in the centre of the city lost! Eventually I found my way out!
The weathers not been too bad today I had a shower first thing this morning and one really heavy cloud burst this afternoon with thunder and lighting, I can still hear it rumbling all around tonight.