Being based in the UK has its positives and negatives. The main negative being that in the winter it’s dark, it’s cold and it’s always wet. This may not be 100% accurate, but for someone who has to haul themselves out of bed and go out on the bike for hours on a daily basis, returning with freezing cold hands and toes and the need an hour long warm shower to be felt again. The motivation to do this day in and day out slowly slides and it feels like a never ending cycle until spring begins.
With this in mind I mentioned to my parents that I was thinking of going somewhere warm for a week in April. This was the first chance around track commitments that fitted. My little sister immediately piped up asking to come along and so it was settled. I’d take my 17yr old sister for our first adventure together.
Croatia was where I decided we should go. Split more specifically. Split is on the Dalmatia coastline but with a beautiful expanse of mountains in the background which were inviting us to climb!
We were there for 6 full days aside from travel and we rode our bikes for 5 of them.
Our training days mainly consisted of as much sightseeing as possible, whilst riding a bike at a pace that was not easy. Our longest ride was along the coastline to a town called Trogir. It’s situated half on the mainland and half over the bridge and onto a neighbouring island. We rode over the bridge and started exploring the roads around the island. It was super hilly but the roads were well maintained and quiet: perfect for 2 cyclists. The views from almost anywhere were breathtakingly beautiful. My sister couldn’t stop taking photos whilst we rode and we pedalled round with beaming smiles. On the way back to Split we added on an extra loop up one of the mountains and towards some small towns tucked away out of sight. It was a little cooler here thankfully and not a car insight! The descent back down was long and fast with switch backs the whole way, but it provided some more excellent views and made us forget about how tired we were. We rode home along the coastline and back into Split, clocking in 4hr 08mins and 108km. This may not seem like many miles for the time (average speed 26.1kph) but with nearly 1500m of climbing I think that can be justified!
Some other beautiful places we rode through include Omiš, Kaštela and Klis. Klis has an old fortress that we rode up a steep, cobbled climb to get up to! Although we weren’t as high as some of the mountain peaks we climbed too, it was a much shorter climb with lovely views of Split and the surrounding area.
We took our only rest day in the middle of our week. This was very much needed after three hard days of riding and two more left, but didn’t quite go to plan. The day started with breakfast at a little gem of a cafe called “Fig Cafe”. It’s tucked away in a private courtyard with old stone walls and plants that spiral upwards. It was away from the hustle and bustle of the town, whilst being in the town. The waitress there said we should find this quiet beach on the outskirts of the Marjan National forest. It was only a 1km walk so we finished up our breakie and set off. Turns out we went the wrong way and set off on a 2hr/10km round trip hike through the Marjan up into the “mountain” part. Big mistake! Thankfully there was a beach at the end, so we stayed there for a couple of hours to recover and then made the hike home. The way home was shorter as we stayed on the sea front rather than hiking up, but I must admit we were exhausted and after a snack in town, we went back to the apartment. Although it ended up not being the relaxing rest day we were after, we explored a part of Split that we would have missed and because of that I’m secretly happy for the non-resting rest day!
If you’d like anymore details about routes we cycled, some of the best climbs or anything else then drop me an email and I’d be happy to share! My Strava profile is private and staying that way for security reasons, but I’d be happy to upload some of my routes to my blog, if this is something that would interest you!