Turkey First Week

Friday July 25th 1:55pm Haram Hotel Istanbul

After a 10 hour flight and a one hour cab ride I arrived at the hotel in Istanbul. I was immediately brought up to a room where I hung out for a little bit. From the hotel room I could see the hotel pool and looking out across the Bosphorous I could see the old city of Istanbul. I stopped and took some photos of the pool and the skyline.
otelSunset I then went down to the lobby and Al was waiting for me. We assembled my bike and brought my bag up to fellow TDA riders Frank's room. After locking up my bike we jumped a ferry to Old Istanbul. We caught a tram over to the blue mosque. We wandered around and eventually got directions to the hostel district. After not finding any cheap double rooms we went with a dorm room. Took a shower and had a kebab on the rooftop patio. Saturday morning we got up and came back to the Harem Hotel for a briefing. I then got my bike back together so I can ride tomorrow. It should be an interesting ride. Getting to the correct place could be an adventure. We will have to see how the first day goes. The tour is mostly older people so the dynamic will be interesting. It doesn't sound like there has been that much drama so far. I didn't bring my birks so that is kind of annoying. I am not sure exactly sure why I left them at home. The rest of the day will be preparing for the trip and sightseeing. 2:10

Saturday July 26th 9:42 Åžile Turkey

4'20"44 91.07km Avg 20.9 Odo 91.07

ParkYesterday I ended up going downtown, bought some postcards, cashed travelers checks. I then checked out the palace and the blue mosque. The palace garden had a ton of couples making out most were sitting on the grass enjoying time with each other. As I walked outside the mosque a lady in a burka got a bottle of water it was an interesting process watching her drink out of it. Blue
portrait I took a handful of self portraits of myself with the mosque. As I walked to the grand bazaar a fellow came up and started talking to me.Grand
Bazaar We made small chat all through the bazaar. Then when exiting he tried to get me to play the lotto. He wanted me to choose the numbers and then he would pay for the ticket. I told him I had to get going back to my hotel. He asked to come back to the hotel. I refused and said I needed to catch the tram. At that point he gave me a sob story and asked for money. He also tried to get me to give him my things. I got on the tram and left. Start On Saturday we biked in a convoy for the first 15km. I got a piece of glass in my tire and got a flat. Ben stopped and helped me put in my spare tube. I ended up catching up to the rest of the crew and was 4th into lunch. Kitten! After lunch at 50km we biked the last 40km into camp and made it in at 2pm. We cleaned up and then went and walked the beach.Beach There were all kinds of people, girls in bikinis to full clothing covering their whole body, people fat and thin.Umbrellas Not that much different from the US. We got back for dinner and I washed my clothes. Now it is raining so they may not get dry. I need to get my pack and go to sleep. 9:57

Sunday July 27th 5:35 Kayacik Turkey

5'20"33 105.22km Avg 19.6km Max 60km Odo 196.29

AhmetAhmet is the kid I met today in Kayacik(I have his signature in my physical journal). We started the day in Sile. Luckily it didn't rain that much last night. Though my clothes were still wet so I had to dry them when we stopped. The day was very hilly no crazy long hills but many up and down.Country
road I didn't eat alot of breakfast so by lunch time I was very hungry. Lunch was great but by that time I was starting to feel it in my legs. We had some local kids who were very curious about us. Using the
chairsThe younger ones eventually got adventurous enough to sit in our chairs.
kids The older kids were busy selling roadside fruits. After lunch I hung back with the same crew as yesterday Nicole, Dan, Graham, Mike, Clive, Manon, and Stuart. We ended up stopping for ice cream in Kayachra. A doctor and his wife stopped as they drove past. She was from Massachusetts. She had grown up there and really missed the autumn weather. By the time I got to camp I was really hurting. We are camping in a "soccer field" which is really a family's back yard. The kids came running up to everyone and asked "what is your name?" They did this to everyone who entered the camp. Then a wedding party arrived and the whole "honking" party got out of their cars and danced while a drum and clarinet played. Music!
bride! It was pretty crazy. Then the whole crew got back in the cars and continued on. A few minutes later a journalist showed up. ReporterStuart talked with him and they were both able to make themselves understood. It is interesting how much you can get across with a little writing, heand gestures, and pointing at a book of pictures. It looks like dinner will be good and Al wants to go throw frisbee. 6:19

Monday July 28th Düzce Turkey

5'46"51 115.98km Avg 20km Max 67.7km Odo 312.27
Started out today the 2nd to last to leave camp. I had to go bathroom and was late getting out. That contributed to a mindset where I tried to hurry up and catch the rest of the crew. While going around a sharp downhill corner I was going 10-15km too fast and couldn't make the corner. As I passed the dividing line I leaned to far to the right to try and make the corner at some point I knew I wasn't going to make it so I bailed. I think it was a similar motion to sliding feet first into a plate in baseball. I ended up with a pretty good cut on my chin and bruised left thigh, both elbows, and right leg. Luckily it wasn't very serious and my bike didn't get damage beyond riding condition. Clive, Louise, and Joan stopped to help me. The local family who lived on the corner brought out napkins and antiseptic. The father was asking if we wanted to call an ambulance but I told him we didn't need on. Joan had a bandage which she put on my face. I continued down the hill and the rest of the group was having a break so I stopped. This led to a big production of buying a razor. Max payed 5 YTL for a .5YTL razor. They then were able to communicate the need for a mirror and Joan shaved the area around my wound while Stuart tipped me back in a chair.Patched
up Joan ended up putting butterfly bandages on my chin which held through lunch. Look
bikes!It is a requirement to take a picture of your bike against a rail. Beach Lunch was at a beach near the Black Sea and they had bought very delicious peaches which were amazingly juicy. The hills today were torture. It was very hot and my left hand is acting up. It is numb from being on the handlebars so long. LoungingAt the top of one really tall hill there was this nice overlook into the valley. We made it to Düzce without any more incident. Luckily we were staying in a teacher's hostel so I was able to take a real shower and clean up from my accident earlier in the day. We had dinner and Joan patched me up. After that I walked into town to find an Internet cafe. I found one and was able to send an email to Jess. She was worried about me because of the bombing that had happened in Istanbul on Sunday. Seventeen people were killed and at least a hundred were injured. We will see how I feel in the morning I hope it isn't to bad. It would be fun to get EFI(Every Final Inch) status for my section. Time to go read and then go to sleep. 8:54

Tuesday July 29th Gerede Turkey

6'05"53 101.2km Av 16.5 Max 48.6 Odo 413.47
I didn't wake up that sore from my fall yesterday that was good because it was back on a bike to tackle a 960m pass. That was scary shit, the truckers would haul pass without giving any room. ValleyIt was an 11km hill. Ben, the tour's mechanic, got struck by a truck he is pretty sure that the guy hit him on purpose. Luckily he didn't break anything. The hill was a challenge but once over it, it was an easy ride to lunch. After lunch we had another 11km hill this one was easier as it really wasn't a pass like the one before lunch. We stopped in a village for ice cream and had an old guy run up and greet us all with kisses. They had peaches and now I don't know why I didn't grab one. Flag We are camped on top of a hill overlooking Gerede at about 1600m. Gerede While camping there a local girl from Gerede came up to visit. She is a student in Ankara who is home for the summer. She wanted to practice her English. She also spoke French with Max. She had heard about us from her mother. Hopefully tomorrow isn't as steep. 8:27

Wednesday July 30th Ilgaz, Turkey

6'39"09 143.26km Av 21.5 Max 61.8 Odo 556.8

LostI started out today with a 7km detour because the signs to get onto D100 are confusing. While riding out of town on a dirt road Max went up a hill and was chased by a pack of dogs. He was trying to see if he could see D100 from the top of the hill. Eventually we retraced our route and got back on track. Then it was just 135km of rolling hills on a busy road. The trucks and cars were obnoxious. They would pass no matter what I had a few pass with just inches to spare. Climb the
hill!At one point on the road with a lane each direction two semi trucks passed me and I saw a car passing the semi at the same time around a corner. Also had a time when a line of big trucks and auto buses were approaching me. One of the buses was baring down on me. I lost count of the number of times I jumped to the shoulder. I have to say it was not a boring day. Mosque The rule in Turkey is always builds a mosque first. After lunch I booked it into camp and made it in before 4pm. I keep on getting more sun. Go! The hills are pretty good at times. I have been having dreams involving Jess. I think all the conversations I have been having about relationships with fellow riders has been partly to blame. It has also been a week since I last saw her and I definitely miss her. I think I will try and give her a call when we have our rest day. Goodnight. 9:28

Thursday July 31st Osmancik, Turkey

5'18"28 119km Av 22.4 Max 56.7 Odo 675.8
Today we headed out at 7 and made very good time to lunch. We got in around 10:30. It was pretty much all downhill which was a welcome from all the days of up that we have had. The afternoon ride was uneventful a few ups and downs but no hill more then a few kilometers. Now we just have one more day of cycling before we get to a rest day. Houses The landscape is pretty rough but in the valleys rice is growing. For some reason the traffic didn't seem near as bad as it was yesterday. I for one was glad for that. Went and walked around town. I was able to find a drugs store and get chap stick and cream for my scabs. I really like the Cappy cherry juice that they sell in stores. It is so tasteful too bad you can't get it in the states. Now reading and bed. 3:30 & 8:08

Friday August 1st Amaysa Turkey

5:11'18" 115.55km Av 22.2 Max 62.9 Odo 791.35
Today we left right around 7am. There was a good headwind so we were only going about 15km/hr or so. Luckily after the first 30km it got better. There was a huge hill which had a wicked crosswind. I felt a little rocky going down the hill at 55-60km/hr a car insisted on passing me even though it could only go a few kph faster after it had passed me. Riding Trucks weren't so bad today and we made good time to Amaysa. At one point I was going 40kph on a relatively flat part. The scenery is very badlandish with very little green in the hills. After making it into town we found out we would be staying in a hotel instead of camping. That was a welcome surprise. Al and I went and found some food. We then found an Internet cafe and I called Jess on Skype. She was just arriving at work so I was only able to talk for a few minutes. Hopefully she will get reception in NH as I am going to try and call her tomorrow morning her time. Either way it was good to talk to her. The town of Amaysa is very cool and I will have to take many pictures tomorrow. It is great to finally have a rest day. 9:20
P.S. Yesterday we had a few fighter jets fly over us as we were biking. I would bet they were Turkish. I am curious if there are any airfields near us. I wouldn't be surprised if there are.

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