This week has been a bad one because we both sucumed to travellers sickness. And it’s been horrid.
At the start of the week we left our first guesthouse and started climbing. We knew it would be a long and hard climb, but we had no idea it would end up taking us three days of riding!
Georgia is beautiful, really amazing green hills dotted with houses and stunning valleys filled with rustic farms and fields along a winding river. The climb on the A1 was nice and rolling, and gentle, up until Khulo, where after an amazing lunch stop we found the road became unpaved. Suddenly we got so much slower, and needed many many more stops. So we called it a day and swapped our tires over as the backs were getting quite worn.
The next day we carried on climbing, slowly, bouncing around on the very rough, gravel and boulder-filled road. As we got higher and higher, visibility dropped massively, and by 1700m we couldn’t see more than a few meters ahead of us. So no rewarding view!
Finally, after some punishing hairpins, we arrived at the top of the gorderzi pass (2025m). A long climb up from the black sea. We couldn’t see anything and the col sign was a 4 meter tall white tower we couldn’t even ruin with a sticker!
This tough ascent was quickly followed by a gruelling descent, bouncing around with the brakes firmly squezed we tried to avoid big boulders and loose sandy gravel. But the sun and views came out, and we stopped at a waterfall and pool for a good bath and to wash our sweaty lycra. It was a relief to be back on the tarmac.
It was down in the valley we got sick, and after a horrible night wildcamping we managed a few miles to the nearest town and promptly checked into the Grand Palace hotel, where we enjoyed Aircon, BBC world news and a bathroom.
Despite being ill for the next few days, we pressed on with the cycling, managing to get to Borjomi, then Guri, where we found hostels for a treat. The cycling was easy, rolling down through a big valley, and it was lovely to have a bed each night.
We continued east, enjoying staying in the valley and having rolling quiet roads though the hills, untill we had to ride on a 6-lane motorway to get into Tbilisi. Georgia has some crazy drivers, but they seem quite cycle friendly. We are already fed up with the well intentioned blare of the horn which they like to do just as they are overtaking. It still makes me jump!
We stayed at a nice campsite by the Tbilisi sea last night, and today started towards Azerbaijan. Unfortunately it reached 40°C today and we discovered than Jim is far too northern for that kind of heat! Tomorrow starts the getting up super early to avoid melting routine.
Jim’s words – Hard, Pass, Ill, Recovering, Better, Bark and Rabbit.