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!

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