Day 37 – Novi Sad to Belgrave

As days go, today was not the best of days – headwinds, non existent gravel roads, Serbian traffic and mosquitos.

It had rained overnight and when we left Novi Sad at 08:30 there was rain in the air. Getting out of the place was not too bad, the traffic was heavy but there were bike lanes and once we had crossed The Danube we were on a paved highway.  However, Serbian drivers appear to show little respect for cyclist. I lost count of the number of times I could have touched the vehicle passing me and to be honest, it was probably the worst experience of cycling I have ever encountered.

Shortly after leaving the outskirts of Novi Sad there was a choice to be made, stay on the main road or take a left and follow a different route. Whilst Roger and Mary Clare chose the main road, Paul, Lou and I took the other option- it was hell. For the first mile or so we were riding on mud with big potholes, many covered by puddles of water.

It improved slightly for a short while and then went into a small track which got narrower and narrower. It was rutted, potholes, water, climbing and worst of all, mosquitos. Whilst we were moving the mosquitos were not too bad but when we stopped to put on some repellant they were everywhere. We were now committed to the route and ploughed on through the mud and gravel climbing for several hundred feet. Eventually we came to a proper road and fortunately we managed to find someone to point us on the right direction although this did involve yet more climbing.

Eventually the road improved but we were then hit by the headwinds. It was horrible but we eventually teamed up and used a pace line to make better progress.

Lou had staked out a place to stop for lunch at mile 32. It was a small restaurant but was really a locals house and we were made very welcome and provided with a pork and potato lunch. We also got to be shown around the property.

Heading onwards we continued to pace line and then we hit the outskirts of Belgrave.  Traffic was again very heavy and it was unpleasant. It was also spitting with rain which didn’t help the situation.  Lou tóok a tumble close to the hotel but was ok and I think we were all glad to arrive safely at the hotel this evening.

Not the best of days by far but I think we all knew that the roads were going to deteriorate the further east we travelled. Tomorrow is a short ride of just 44 miles and we now have under 1,000 miles to go.  Onwards and upwards as they say, it’s an adventure that not many have the opportunity to experience.

Oh yes, Sarah and I are celebrating our 42nd wedding anniversary today – Happy Anniversary darling.