pt.3 – Disaster

Ellie and Chris Cycle Touring
Ellie and Chris hot on my trail

Toady should have been simple, all we had to do was ride down the tiny stretch of land where Trieste is located (the airport is quite a distance from the actual city) and at the appropriate juncture hop over the border into Slovenia and continue South. Moreover I was quite certain things were going swimmingly for sometime, until after a while of riding at the head of the pack I stopped to find out how everyone was doing. I knew Chris, Lallo and Ellie were right behind me, I could see them when I looked back periodically as I cycled. Sure enough Chris, Lallo and Ellie rolled up beside me and that’s when I realised there was no one behind them so we waited, and we waited, and it soon became clear that I had lost over half of my group on the second morning of a month long tour – that’s going to change things a bit.

At this stage I didn’t know what any one’s riding ability was, and I thought I was taking it slow, but the real problem was that we had no system in place where, when we turned a corner, we checked to see the next person behind was aware of the change in direction. From the front of the pack I could only see the next 3 or 4 people when I glanced over my shoulder. I had, very wrongly, assumed that because Ellie, Chris and Lallo were still following me that everyone else must be doing the same.

Lallo's first bicycle border crossing
Lallo's first bicycle border crossing

We’ve now left the main road that leads to Trieste and taken to the hills directly towards the Slovenian border. There are a network of beautiful rural villages near Malchina and we’ve stopped in the shade of a church for some lunch whilst sending out text messages to the others letting them know our location. It’s such a bizarre thing to lose so many people, I’d completely underestimated the range of cycling ability and will have to change my practice to stop this from happening again. But for now we just need to regroup. Chris has just confided in me that not only does Joe (one of the lost ones) have all his food and water, but also all his money – I feel I owe it to him to provide lunch.

No one came during lunch so we arranged another meeting point at Dutovlje in Slovenia, it was a hilly route and we were cycling in the heat of the day, which I usually wouldn’t do, but it was necessary given the circumstances. I had to keep in mind that everyone would soon settle into a rhythm and then everything would be smooth sailing. At that point however I really just wanted a new day, I hoped that the guys didn’t think touring was always this chaotic and hard, I thought I might have put them off before we began.

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