Monday, 2 July 2018

Day 26

Mark has a limited signal at the end of day 26 so I'm still waiting for the stats to upload for mileage etc. Anyway, I've managed to receive 'the blog'...

I think I woke up every hour during the night so by the time I set off I felt very tired. I was also very hungry. I delayed the start a bit and decided to go to the cafe in Maidan where I’d had the dumplings the night before. 

The same girl was serving as the night before. I ordered an omelette and a coffee without the aid of Google Translate. It was delicious. I took the opportunity to use Google Translate to tell her about my journey and point her in the direction of the Run Geordie Run Facebook page. The look on her face was one of amazement. It was nice to have a conversation albeit via an app. 

The roads were horrendous as I started from Maidan just after 0900. I put a lot of effort into avoiding the many potholes. In fact, this was to continue all day. 

I met two German cyclists (Joe and Albe) in the village of Verkhnii Bystryi. Their English was excellent and we talked about our respective journeys. They were touring for a couple of days and had previously cycled all over Ukraine. 

Further up the road I was stopped by an elderly lady in Torun'. She spoke no English but I could make out the word “coffee”. I decided to take her up on the offer and I told her about my journey using Google Translate. She also gave me a sweet bun of some sort. She then asked me for money and I gave her the contents of my phone pouch. It was the equivalent of 58p. She was quite a tactile lady and very enthusiastic with her speech. I didn’t have a clue what she was saying. She used the word “Bambino” to me when we said goodbye and I gave her a hug. She reminded me a bit of my Mam’s Aunty Vi from Coventry. She sadly died in 1991 I think. 

Further down the road I had “the conversation” with an elderly man. He spoke Ukrainian but I think he was trying to tell me about the mountains ahead. 

The climb up the Torun' Pass was as tough as any that I’ve done on this tour. It seemed to go on for ages! A man in a van stopped and asked if everthing was ok. 

When I reached the summit I didn’t feel too bad. The climb had been made all the more difficult due to the amount of potholes everywhere. It was this point where I left Zakarpats’ka Oblast and entered Ivano-Frankivs’ka Oblast. 

The descent was very pleasant (apart from the potholes) and I used Chappie’s break to good effect. 

I soon reached Vyshkiv and the climb out of the village was the toughest and steepest of the tour. Chappie felt like a ton weight and I had to work extremely hard to keep the momentum going. Yet again, the potholes made life even more difficult. 

I was stopped a few times on the descent including by an English speaking man from Kyiv. There was also a Ukrainian family after that and my standard conversation was met with gasps of amazement by them. 

The potholes got even worse on the descent into Myslivka. I felt like I was skiing most of the time such was the zig zag action required to avoid the potholes. 

Apart from some unused sections of Route 66 these are without doubt the worst roads that I’ve ever ran on. I suppose it’s unfair to include those decrepit sections of Route 66 as they have been replaced by an adjacent interstate road. I wondered to myself how many more years did these roads have left in them if left unfixed? Could it mean that some communities would get cut off by roads? Chappie took a right hammering on the roads today. How there is no damage or punctures I’ll never know. One thing is for sure, I couldn’t have brought the usual support team and motor home on these roads. 

My mobile phone signal kept dropping in and out all afternoon. That’s why there aren’t many pictures from this point in the blog. I’ve actually sent this text to Donna via my satellite tracker. She has uploaded it onto 

Back to day 26 and, as I continued downhill, I had a feeling that there would be an almighty exit out of the mountains. It didn’t happen but hopefully it will tomorrow morning. 

I started looking for a place to camp after 25 miles and found the perfect spot on 26.5 miles. Unfortunately, there were some people cooking there already so I settled for a spot right on the 27 mile point for the day. 

I set up camp and cooked an all day breakfast ration pack as well as a beef stew one. They were ok and it got my calorific intake over 1500 for the day. 

I think there are just over 30 miles left to Kalush and two days to get there! If I can leave early enough tomorrow and the weather is as kind as it has been today then I should be in touching distance by the end of the day.

The fund has increased today which is great news. If you're enjoying the journey and would like sponsor my efforts in aid of St Benedict's Hospice please visit