On the Road to Slovenia
Zgornje Jezersko Travel Blog› entry 10 of 23 › view all entries
Ride - Day 5, Lavamund, AT to Zgorjne Jezersko, SL
71 km (44.7 miles)
Tuesday morning dawned another gorgeous day. Waking up to step out onto the balcony and look up the Drava river valley was just an amazing sight. While I haven't mentioned it, previously most mornings we would enjoy a continental type breakfast in the hotel restaurant (bread, pastry, fruit, oatmeal, yogurt, breakfast meats, etc.). Everyone sort of had their own schedule. Steve was almost always the first one down to breakfast in the morning. Jeff and Carrie, Chris, and myself were typically next usually in that order. C.C. was the straggler if he even made it down to breakfast some mornings. Klara and Renata would come in for breakfast at some point while the group was eating, typically having already been out shopping for our lunchtime meal.
Today would be our last day in Austria. We would be cycling up the Drava valley for a while before turning off to the south and beginning our climb into Slovenia. But first we would get to enjoy the long descent into the valley. Our hotel sat at around 960m (3150ft) while the town of Lavamund itself sat about 600m (2000ft) lower in elevation. And we made that ground up in around 6.4 km (4 miles) of biking. The only problem with these descents were in not knowing the roads, so you had to be somewhat cautious in approaching some of the blind and hairpin turns as you never knew what could be right around the corner. Still on our hybrid touring bikes it took us less than 10 minutes to glide down the descent.
Up through lunch the ride was pretty uneventful.
We rode through some more small Austrian towns. Traffic was a bit more of an issue today, being in the middle of the week, and we were on a mix of roads/trails/sidewalks on the early portion of the ride. We made decent time and stopped for lunch at a small park with a lake shortly before noon. I finally managed today to get a good picture of the lunchtime spread before it was consumed by hungry riders that (on this day) Renata had prepared for us at the park. Lunch was always a time to sit back and just revel in our surroundings, whether it was along a lake, at an old wine press in the rain, or in a small park.
After lunch a few brave (or foolhardy) souls thought it would be a grand idea to take a dip in the lake that we were sitting around.
After drying out a bit, proceded back onto the bikes for the second half of the days ride. And it would prove to be a ride unlike any I had done before. After the fast descent in the morning our ride up the valley had been an almost imperceptible uphill grade.
Everyone rode together through the town of Eisenkappel, at 555m (1820ft). A kilometer or two outside the town we met Renata and the van for a quick break and some final food and fluid replenishment.
Initially the road was still pretty gentle (maybe a 3-5% grade). It was a bit more work, but nothing hard. The road had kilometer markings painted on the road and the first one we passed leaving the van was 55.0km. The second one we passed was 55.2km and I turned to C.C. riding next to me and said, "9.8 km to go". That's right every 200 meters up this road we would be informed of our progress and just how quickly (or slowly) we were going.
Waited for the rest of the group to get to the top before crossing over the border into Slovenia. Quickly put on some extra gear as it was a bit chilly and exposed in the pass with the wind blowing through. Everyone was up and to the top within 15 minutes or so of my arrival and we crossed over and added a stamp for Slovenia to the passport. We zipped down the opposite side of the pass in a short quick descent to 880m (2890ft) that opened up into this absolutely picturesque valley.
It was finally decided that we shouldn't keep Renata waiting much longer, so we payed our tabs, and made our way back down the road/trail and on to our hotel. Renata was waiting with a welcoming committee to celebrate our journey into Slovenia. We snapped a few pictures and took our luggage to our rooms, and prepped for dinner. After another tasty meal, most of went out to walk around the small town of Zgorjne Jezersko. We circled around back to the hotel, and sat out watching darkness descend over the mountains.
- Topo Info for all entries comes from some online maps I found when I got back to the States. Info is as accurate as my reading ability and the maps accuracy.
- I still can't believe how frigid the water at the lake was. I'm definitely not up to be a member of a polar bear club.
- Introduction to "Pogey bait" for the ride to the pass
- (Google map of the climb from Sittersdorf to Seebergsattel/Jezerski Vrh)
- Found some additional information on the climb at climbbybike.
- Sitting outside the hotel chatting in the evening darkness