By the seaside

finally we made it to the Mediterranean coastline, near Marmaris to be precise. it’s January and we see palm and eucalypti trees, and other kinds of tropical vegetation. Yes!! I am the first to admit that I like +15°C at least to call it fine cycling weather. Not that I didn’t go for a spin at all the past period, but is was not really worth mentioning either. Now, it’s not all sunshine in this time of year; it’s rainy season in January here, with an average of 210mm rainfall in this month alone. That’s about 39% of the local annual precipitation (536mm/year Marmaris), or about 24% of the annual rainfall in the Netherlands (870mm/year)!

In the past period I did some cycling but nothing too serious because of the cold and wet climate, So it’s time for some serious pedalling again.

How serious? well I had already noticed that the rear brake could use some tlc, so the day before going I bled the system to get that firm feeling back when braking. Without a bike stand it requires some improvisation to get the right angle for the air bubbles to rise, without taking the whole brake off the bike, but I managed. After that I took a good look at the digital topomap to create a route. I already noticed some cycling post signs in the area around Marmaris, but these do not differentiate between road cycling and mountain biking and on top of that internet was not really working well at our campsite, so I decided to create something myself with the use of Mapsource.

So, the result was a route of about 40kms, over a mountain -of course- of about 600 masl, and then in a big circle, counter clockwise, to Marmaris and back home. After a 4kms warming up over flat asphalt, along the sheltered bay of Marmaris, the route turned right off the tarmac and into a 4×4 track, gently rising. Also worth noting here was that the surface was rocky again. The past period was remarkably muddy, with super sticky clay that accumulated easily on the bike, while being super slick in the corners, even resulting in me going sideways off the bike. Anyway, luckily that was not the case here, just rocky and loose stones, of course posing their own unique challenges when creeping uphill in lowest gear.

At the start of the climb, the scenery gave me the impression of a rain forest; lush greens everywhere. While only a modest 16°C, the humidity of 90% in combination with riding uphill, created a rain forest atmosphere as well. Soon however, the hillsides became more exposed to the wind that blew directly from the Mediterranean sea, making it a bit more chilly and a drizzle started to fall. Not enough to make me turn around however. I pushed on and after 15kms or so, with nice views into the bay of Marmaris, the clouds started to close in and it started to properly rain. Already on the highest point I put on the rain gear and went on instead of back.

At some point in the downhill asphalt was expected and I was not disappointed to actually see it emerging. Despite the wet surface it made an excellent downhill, smooth ad easy (I like that sometimes, it doesn’t always have to be off road, you know). Finally I hit the main road, the D400, that needed to be crossed in order to get back to Marmaris. While entering Marmaris, the rainfall gradually increased to monsoon properties.. Luckily I was almost back home.

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