Friday, 24 February 2012

Oh YEAH!!


On the day to the Pindos mountains, I bored Andres Carrillo nonstop by constantly saying "oh man, I have GOT to bike this!" as we're driving up and down the mountain pass. You could easily tell from driving it that it would be unbelievably gorgeous as a bike ride - one of those drives that would have made me mental if I didn't have the bike on this trip!
The village of Pyli ("Gate") is about 18 km directly west from Trikala. On the left are the high mountains soaring over the town church. From the neat 16th century stone bridge that Debbie wrote about previously, the steady climb starts. The climb is one of those perfect combinations: stunning mountain scenery, on the sunny side of the mountain, gentle curves so that it's not a boring straight grind, and about 6-7% steady grade makes it a hard but enjoyable effort rather than a death march.
There was no snow on the ground in Pyli, but that quickly changed as I started ascending. There's something incredibly cool about climbing a mountain with a big wall of snow on the side of the road. You can see how high the piled snow gets from the white car on the right. And on the left, you can bet this van isn't getting out any time soon - Into The Wild!
The Elati town sign on the right, 11 km and 643 m up from Pyli. This was where we went for the fancy hot chocolate. Did the bulk of the climb in my 36x23. Was broiling on the way up with my thermal jacket, thick leg warmers, and booties, but I did certainly appreciate the extra warmth when I descended. Had a banana and started the fun descent, averaging about 50 km/h. The scenery was so terrific that I had to remind myself to keep at least one eye occasionally on the road. Just happened that my iPod shuffled to Yello's "Oh Yeah" (remember the song from the classic 80s movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off) - perfect song to be rattling in my brain during such a fantastic descent!