It is much easier to tolerate the cold when there is snow around. I don’t know whether it is because I am so enthralled by the snow that I can forgive it for making it cold, or simply because I have something right in front of my eyes causing it to be cold i.e. there is something physical to blame rather than it being an invisible force. I slept on and off, but with more than 12 hours between bed time (about an hour after sunset) and wake time (about an hour before sunrise) it didn’t matter that I spent some of the night awake. I wasn’t alarmed by anything, though I woke to dogs pit-pattering around and wind flapping my tent fly.

Staff of the supermarket arrived just as I was emerging from my tent, having dressed and breakfasted inside it. No one (not even a policeman who did some shopping) took any notice of me as I finished packing up. The carpark was super icy so I had to walk my bike gingerly to the road to avoid slipping over. I stopped to put plastic bags on my feet to stop the light rain from wetting my shoes. Then I began climbing. I estimated (based on the location/direction of rivers on I had 15km to climb. After a few kilometres I entered a cloud that was sitting on the pass. It was a thick cloud with a perfectly flat bottom so one second I was in a clear world and the next I had about 50m visibility. I slowly warmed up and had to remove a base layer.

I was delighted to discover the climb was half of what I expected. I put my base layer back on and covered my face with my buff, ready for the cold descent. Once again my brakes proved an issue. My Magura front brakes were absolutely useless and my rear V-brakes struggled to make the descent safe. I was wondering whether to stop and sort them out when the choice was made for me when my rear tyre blew. Luckily I was within 100m of an autoshop. I wheeled over and asked if could work under the cover of the garage. I set about adjusting my brakes and changing the tube. I put in one of my spare tubes (a used one) but it had a puncture. I tried repairing the puncture but it was so cold the glue wouldn’t hold. I put in my other spare tube, which already has about ten patches in it. I need to buy some new tubes as soon as I can find a bike shop.

From here on I enjoyed a relatively cruisy ride. It rained lightly which kept me cool as I followed the Vrbas River downstream to Jajce. I stopped off at the waterfall on the way into town, then went in search of a home. First I went to the Central Jayce Youth Hostel close to the town centre, but found it closed. At a nearby café I was informed that they run a second hotel just outside the centre and that this one was open. On my arrival, the lady running the show tried to give me a private room for 15 euros, saying that they didn’t want to heat up a dorm room for just one person. I think my look of confusion (maybe it was disgust) made them change their mind. Or maybe it was the fact that I said I would take the dorm room even if they didn’t heat it. The dorm room has only four beds so it is not very big and could be heated very easily. This made me think that perhaps they didn’t want just one person – I’m the only guest – having access to the hostel’s amenities, like the kitchen, to save themselves from cleaning. Anyway, I ended up with a nice room with attached bathroom. The whole bathroom is less than one metre wide and has shown me just how narrow I can have a bathroom in the tiny house I might one day make. It was still comfortable to use.

Fresh, I wandered into town for dinner. The town is absolutely dead. I eventually found a nice little restaurant open and had a vegetable stew, burger and 0.5L beer for 9.50k (AU$5.60). On the way home I stopped off at the Tropic Supermarket for lunch supplies.

Today I was almost knocked off my bike in a big gust of wind on my way into Jayce. I was told at the garage where I fixed my bike that tonight and tomorrow will continue to be super windy. I have planned to ride tomorrow anyway and do battle with it.

Desperate times…

Accommodation $ Hostel
Distance ridden today 88.80km
Average cycling speed 18.2kph
Total distance ridden 28,129km