Few months ago I received an email from a courteous gentleman that lives in a town along the “Lake Balathon” in reference to promoting cycling in the area.
After copious amount of emails,I finally travelled two days ago to Hungary to take part at the Tour De Pelso 2015(Balathon Marathon 200KM).
Flew out from London on an early Friday rainy morning to a sunny & scorching Budapest. Picked up the car I drove nearly 2 hours in a South East direction to reach the little touristic town of Balatonboglar.
On my arrival at this stunning house less than 100 yard from the lake,I was welcomed by an amazing couple, “The Gentleman” above mentioned and his wife.Laszlo & Sheila. An Hungarian Gentleman with an huge british history, and Sheila ,exquisite Yorkshire Lady.
They let me into their premises and I was embraced by 2 gorgeous Labrador Puppies, 2 young sisters one black and one white that escorted me to my 2 bed apartment.
The bike was reassembled really quick due to my rush to get out and explore the area while 33 degrees Celsius was stomping in our heads.
A gentle ride was the aim of the day, to regenerate fresh oxygen into my body and an injection of pollution free air into my lungs. It was a short day due to the early start the following day.
A 4am wake up call was needed to have a good breakfast(coffee and bread ) before embracing a long race at fast pace. An high temperature of 34 C plus was forecasted then plenty of fluid inside my body was needed.
Got to the start line after setting up the bike, and because I was invited and be part of one of the local team I was at the front with the “Big Boys”.
While waiting for the start gun to be fired up,I was wondering why some of the big boys had 5 big waterbottles with them. 2 in the normal standard location plus seat waterbottle holders like for triathlon and a final one inside their Jerseys like hunch backs. I did find out later during the race.
BANG…we started and a neutral zone of 20km was due to the road works. Police escort all the way about 35 motorbikes, leading cars ahead clearing up the road for us at the front. A good pace of nearly 45km/h was held for the first 90Km with peaks of over 50 KPH. Temperature was raising and my water was dropping quickly,I needed urgently water. We were at mark 112km and I was expecting a water station but I misjudged the mark on my computer.I was pumping hard and after 3hour 30 minute at the 140km mark I had to find water, I was licking my own sweat to get some salt into me as the computer was showing 34.7 Celsius. Initially I did find pleasure in leaking my sweat but it was just temporary ,my body was in urgent need for H2O. I knew if I stopped I would never be able to rejoin the main peloton I was riding in the top 50 and feeling confident. My aim was finish ,therefore decision was make to stop. Few others along the route dropped out but no one wanted to push any harder. So average dropped down to 34km/h including the lovely head wind to cool us down.
I was pleased to finish the 203 Km race around the Lake Perimeter in 5 hours and 53 minutes. Finishing in GC in 98th.Still good result out of few thousands.
There was a lovely pasta party with an amazing concert by the finish line along the lake admiring the sunset.I was even lucky to cool down by jumping into the water for a swim.
Some interesting numbers;
20 kg of cheese
840 liters of Coca-Cola
1,008 kg of Bananas
2800 Powerade bottles
6190 pcs Horalky wafer
6519 liters of H2O
My personal considerations about this stunning Hungarian region are absolutely speechless.
The Cycling is catered for the fast & furious but also for the more relaxed cyclists.
The lake offer all the way around a flat cycling lane on the edge of the water.
This sceneries are completed with delicious restaurants , bars, vineyards and warm and friendly people willing to share part of their lives with you.