Day 51 : Tough!

21 Jun

The second phase of the Caucasus ascension was much harder and steeper than the first one. After a morning swim and some time spent enjoying the camping area, we got back on the road and rapidly gained altitude. A group of italian cyclists told us it would be really hard for us, loaded as we are, to get to the top of the mountain, which was about 2000 meters high, main problem being the state of the ‘road’, a mix of rocks and sand after the city of Khulo. It went indeed smoothly up to that point, even if the road is somehow dangerous -narrow with big cliffs ; and started getting really steep already few kilometers before Khulo. We climbed that part under the midday sun and arrived in town pretty exhausted, aware this was just the beginning of the fight. 🙂

We filled our tanks with soup, meat and bread, rested for a bit, then hit to road at about 3PM. Straight after the town, the road downgraded to a steep path of sand, earth, dust and rocks. The conditions didn’t improve for the next 20 kilometers, which were among the hardest, if not the hardest, that we’ve cycled so far.


Steep one

Getting there, slowly but surely

Gaining elevation

Chocolate stop on the way

We arrived at the top of the mountain for the sunset, with magical views over the valleys. It was right on time before the only shop miles around closed, and we bought noodles and beer to celebrate our physical achievement. We were above 2000 meters high, it was cold and we could see the eternal snow closeby. We asked Guguli, the owner of the shop, if there was a warm place to sleep in the area. There wasn’t, but she offered us to stay in her house, with  her 13 year old grandson. We obviously felt very grateful to not have to spend the night outside in the cold, and discovered with amazement the lifestyle of the family, from another era. The house was entirely warmed on the same wood fire used for cooking ; they were eating only homemade natural products : milk, cheese, cream, bread, and various types of conserved vegetables. The water they used was taken directly from the source (no showers and that sort of things), and the toilet was just an elevated platform where the stuff felt directly into a compost (no paper, just water). It feels like a great way to live at this time of the year, but it is probably a much tougher lifestyle during the winter, when they have to deal with the 3 meters of snow they usually get.

Anyway…we quickly crashed in our beds after dinner.

Guguli, cooking for us

Morning view over the shop and the house we stayed in, in the background

91 Responses to “Day 51 : Tough!”

  1. Miguel June 22, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Great stuff, keep going guys

  2. The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife June 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    oh, that hill did look tough. how neat you are documented this experience on a blog.

  3. iRuniBreathe June 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Looks like an amazing journey. Thanks for sharing your photos with us. Cheers, Tania

  4. segmation June 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Wonderful blog and digital photos ! What did Guguli cook for you?

  5. Mikalee Byerman June 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Beautiful pictures — LOVE the “chocolate stop” dude! 🙂

  6. OneWeekToCrazy June 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    That looks like a fun adventure…and great photos!


  7. beautywhizz June 22, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Just read all your posts from the beginning and can’t wait for more! Great story, it is really good to read. Amazing photos. It could be a pretty nice book here!

  8. Tuxedo Sophisticated Cat June 22, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Wow. What a wonderful adventure. I wish I was still young and able to do something like that. Enjoy!!!

  9. makais June 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Reblogged this on Makais Blog and commented:
    thanks for sharing

  10. Richard McCargar June 22, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Very cool experience you had. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  11. theliftblog June 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    How incredible and beautiful your journey is 🙂

  12. cyclingdutchgirl June 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    Yay, Chocolate 🙂 Keep on riding!

  13. Donkey Whisperer Farm June 22, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    Nice blog

  14. finola June 22, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    Love the pics and good effort on the cycling! – makes me feel a bit inactive in my own adventures at the moment…

  15. thebrightoldoak June 23, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    Beautiful pictures! x

  16. Meghna Sapui June 23, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    Happy cycling, great posts 🙂

  17. Novelty June 23, 2012 at 5:35 am #

    What a great journey! Rightly chosen for Freshly Pressed. Congratulations.

  18. The Harebeat June 23, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    Hey, are you heading towards Armenia? If so, I guess I could host you if you need place to sleep or take shower. I will be away in the fisrt half of July, but after that no problem.

    • cyclingfurther June 23, 2012 at 6:08 am #

      Unfortunatly we are not going through Armenia, but thanks by the way 😉

      • The Harebeat June 23, 2012 at 6:12 am #

        Oh, I see. If you’re going to visit Tbilisi, there are free city tours starting 2 PM from the Freedom square. If you’re interested, I can give you more details. Oh, and if you’ll get the chance, visit Uplistsikhe cave town in Georgia, it’s near the city of Gori! Nice place for camping, too 🙂

  19. arul June 23, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    nice adventure

  20. Kiki June 23, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I wanna be in such adventure too. May be someday

  21. Kinza Ahmed June 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    How lovely!! Would love to go on a trip like this actually.. Adventures are such a weakness. Thanks for documenting!

  22. Anita Mac June 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Very cool. Love the scenery! Sounds like a great adventure! Happy cycling (and totally digging the chocolate stop!!). Nice that you got to experience life with a family too! When I cycled across Canada, that is what stuck with me the most. I can’t imagine how wonderful the experience would be when far from home.

  23. Shane Lynch June 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    I did a similar hill in Boilvia! Keep it up 🙂

  24. joiez June 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Fantastic journey. Thank you for sharing – I love that first picture, it’s very beautiful. Namaste, Joie

  25. awesomebadgirl73 June 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    i really liked this,beautiful pictures to.

  26. AnaJ. June 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I am so ready for an adventure like that!!
    …all I need now is to learn how to ride a bike 😉
    well, I am sure I will one day 🙂
    Great post!!

  27. coolcatcal June 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Wow,very inspiring. I may have to start riding a bike with these gas prices…(chuckle). Your blog photo is absolutely breathtaking. BTW- Great smiles guys.

  28. cathynd95 June 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Reblogged this on What's For Dinner? and commented:
    Something I came across on freshly pressed that sounded interesting

  29. JL June 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Looks very adventurous! Particularly love the first photo!

  30. restlessjo June 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    How fit you must be! I’m worn out just after one hour’s zumba. Fabulous adventure. Something to show the grandchildren. Thanks for sharing.

  31. followechoes June 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Such a great blog. Thanks guys for sharing your amazing journey 😀

  32. coloradoprairiegirl June 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Loving your journey. What a fantastic adventure.

  33. gangulysubhajit June 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Nice post..:-)

  34. Ivynettle June 24, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Reminds me of that day last year when we ended up on a gravel path so steep that it took two of us to push one bike up it. In the rain, and with gravel sliding under our feet… luckily only for a short way, though.
    And that was just boring Italy – your journey sounds like a true adventure!

  35. Karen June 24, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    Wow! Just, wow.

  36. Anna June 24, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    Wow! What a great adventure! I love the story of your overnight stop….to experience real local life, fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  37. aheikkinen June 24, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    Great adventure, wonderful reading, beautiful pictures 🙂 Looking forward to new posts.

  38. achievements4life June 24, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    This is truly an inspiring story! That’s all I can say really.

  39. Mountain Gypsy June 24, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed AND making it up the road! Thanks for sharing your story and photo’s. It’s all good….

  40. Tarcisio June 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Very nice this. You are documenting other styles of life. I have just read your overnight at the top 2000 meters. I am sharing your blog blogging it over at mine. Now in Portuguese, from Brazil – Perfeito isto! Vocês estão descrevendo outros estilos de vida. Acabei de ler a noite dormida a 2000 metros. Estou redistribuindo a experiência de vocês

  41. laurence of arabia June 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    someday you and i will travel to the far side of the world

  42. marviiilous June 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    great adventure, great photos!

  43. Anarya Andir June 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    Wow, now that’s an experience! The Caucasus is a region I’m very interested in and I love the photos! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  44. ivavasadze June 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    People who seek the real adventures, Georgia is waiting to you)))

  45. ffcuk June 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Well done!

  46. maxthehandyman June 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    Excellent photography. How do you get more than one photo per post? I haven’t been able to figure that out yet.

    • cyclingfurther June 25, 2012 at 4:12 am #

      One by one, click “insert to post”. Otherwise you can make a gallery to embwd a slideshow. Hope you cab make it!

  47. flowerbombbs June 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    This is so cool!! What a beautiful experience, I seriously love it!

  48. pronghornwildlife2 June 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Just discovered your site, great stuff. Long trips by bicycle are wonderful (hard, but the good stuff usually is) and filled with experiences unknown to those who haven’t done such a thing. Many years ago my wife and I did a 6 month tour through 9 countries and would not trade that experience for anything. Roll on.

  49. l0ve0utl0ud June 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Ah what a beautiful place and a unique experience. Well done for all that challenging physical work!

  50. nicilaskin June 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    wow, i remember Italy, we went on a climbing trip on lake como and area, so cool, i really enjoy reading about your big adventure 🙂

    • nicilaskin June 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      sorry i know that is not Italy, but that road reminds me of that, very much so

    • cyclingfurther June 25, 2012 at 4:10 am #

      We may pass by italy on the way back! Thanks for the tip about lake como 🙂

  51. Lee June 24, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    Sounds like an incredible trip! Bravo on making it up that hill!

  52. anditfeelslike June 25, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    The chocolates look inviting. Nice shots!

  53. crownpendant June 25, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    The Chocolate shop is calling! Beautiful pictures, Congratulations on your stamina!

  54. Rebecca June 25, 2012 at 1:54 am #

    This is an incredible journey on bike. I really appreciate how you are sharing the stories of the special people and their lives as you journey. Keep riding and keep blogging! This is amazing. 🙂

  55. arasyidash June 25, 2012 at 2:50 am #

    hmmm interesting…

  56. You Gene June 25, 2012 at 3:44 am #

    Congratulation on being freshly pressed!

  57. bocotypo June 25, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    What a great wto explore eastern europe. Happy travels!

  58. Joanne June 25, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    What a great adventure! Thanks for sharing!

  59. Pedro Alvarez Fotografía June 25, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Ánimo con el recorrido…

  60. Nahed Omer June 25, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Thank u for sharing your nice pictures with us.

    They all nice

  61. sunsetwave June 25, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Your adventure looks amazing!

  62. pawitrawidayaka June 25, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Great FR, thanks for share 🙂

  63. alisonearlsALOUD June 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    I was drawn to your post by the beautiful photo on Freshly Pressed and stayed ‘cos I love a cycling adventure.
    It’s wonderful that people like Guguli are prepared to share the little they have with others … that kind of generosity and hospitality is so heartwarming and puts many of us living more materially comfortable lives to shame.

  64. Patricia Awapara June 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Great adventure! love the pictures

  65. unpocorodriguez June 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Love the pics!!

  66. dyefeltsool June 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing them with us.
    I don’t know how you guys do it though. Some of those hills look brutally steep just for walking, but trying to do it on a loaded bike! Be safe and enjoy!

  67. kmegansmess June 25, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Beautiful photos 🙂 looks like it was enjoyable!!

  68. Maha June 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    it is always so nice to read bike adventures, it seemed that you guys had a bit of tough terrain on the way up there, but i bet that the ride was nice and rewarding. Also, i liked the way you described their way of living up there. Great post, keep them coming.

  69. Mz Zoomer (Pam) June 25, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    What a lovely blog. The stories and the picturs. Keep it up.

  70. Sherineza June 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Amaziiiinngg !!
    Thumbs up for having the courage to make such an adventure.
    I would love to do such a thing one day..

  71. msangblog June 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Beautiful pictures, and background. Enjoyed reading (for the first time) about your journey.

  72. jenmonje June 26, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    Wish I had an adventurous spirit like you guys!

  73. halseysadventures June 26, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    Inspiring. Enjoyable to read and great to see some real adventuring. Thank you

  74. gitmoslave June 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Reblogged this on Open Source Daily Source Code.

  75. juststartwithmonday June 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    This looks awesome! What country is this? Thanks for sharing.
    You Matter!. Smiles, Nancy

  76. Julie DeNeen June 27, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    What a great adventure….love the blog and the pictures and the journey.

  77. Catskye June 27, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    Reblogged this on Catskye's Blog and commented:
    Pretty freakin’ amazing!!!

  78. Rakhi Kankane June 27, 2012 at 5:31 am #


  79. urbandud June 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    very interesting

  80. hanschenklein June 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    This is awesome. Y’all keep at it!!!

  81. Joseph Ricafort June 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Amazing adventure! Would love to have my own big bikes soon!!

  82. Grumpa Joe June 28, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    It sure doesn’t sound like Georgia, but the adventure was awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  83. itchierfeet June 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Wow, what a journey. Looks amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  84. Marta J July 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    I am planning to write an article about cycling in London during the Olympics. The plan is to go to a specialised shop selling cool gear and interviewing them followed by doing some cycling myself. I am really not a cycling expert so I would love to hear your opinions and tips! Thanks and enjoy cycling!

    • cyclingfurther July 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

      Sounds like a good idea, the thing is we are not either experts, so tell us what you would like to know.

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