Prague to Istanbul – 40 Day Road Cycling Tour
On Tour With Ralph – The First Few Days!
I’m on tour, riding from Prague to Istanbul on what is set to be my highlight of 2018 riding calendar! I’m accompanied by 24 guests, 4 guides, 2 support vehicles, 2 drivers. The tour is 40 days and covers 3,000 km passing through the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece and Turkey!
We started in the Czech Republic and we’ve ridden into Austria, along the Austrian Alps and in the Bavarian region of Germany, covering almost 600 km and climbing 9,000 m. There are a few groans about sore bums and swollen feet, but all of that is soon forgotten once we’ve showered, rested and tasted our first drink!
The tour is going well and the guests are loving the scenery, the food and the après cycling!
My favourite moment and the reason why I love my job
Craig is a long-time Global Cycling Adventures’ guest and Alice is Craig’s daughter who lives in New York. Alice wanted to surprise her Dad so, she decided to join him for five days of this trip. It all unfolded yesterday when Craig was walking along our hotel passageway when she arrived hiding behind big sunglasses. He stopped, looked back and Alice turned around and took off her sunglasses. To say he was amazed and delighted is an understatement. It was so great to be part of the planning and watch this great surprise unfold.
The toughest day so far -The Grossglockner Pass (Glocker Pass)
Most of the guests began the day a little apprehensive with almost 2400 metres climbing today over the highest sealed road in Austria. The first 21km climbs upward to almost 3000 m (10,000 feet) with a gradient of mostly 10 to 12%.
The plus side it was a much cooler day of about 14 degrees and we were wearing our coolest kit. The temp rose to about 16 degrees early on, yet every 100 metres the temp drops a degree, so at the top, it was full sun, no wind and 4 degrees, ideal as the heat of previous days had been knocking everyone about.
We were enjoying a hearty and much-deserved lunch when one of the ambitious guests suggested some should ride up another 200m to an observation post. Like hungry fish, they took the bait and off they went. It was so steep and cobbled the whole way, not great for creating a climbing rhythm. Anyway, they all got to the top, more snow, more views, more photos.
After that, it was an enjoyable 50km to our evening’s accommodation, through tunnels and some thunderous downhills.
On the slightly downhill 5km long section about 15km from our hotel, some of the ambitious roadies decided a team time trial with three of them lapping it out would be a good idea and thought they’d put ‘the hurt’ on me. However, when we hit another 200-metre climb all of a sudden the E-bike dominance came to the fore and their time trial seemed like a very dumb idea.
It was an outstanding day with everyone knocking off the Grossglockner Pass.
Virtually all our guests have told me this trip is beyond their expectations which is nice. What they don’t know is, the best is yet to come!
Check out guest, Craig’s account and photos of the first stage of the Prague to Istanbul Cycling Tour here!