Tomislav Galin told us about his 310 km cycling ride, all the way from his hometown Bjelovar to the island Rab. On that adventure he met beautiful surroundings and kind people, but most of all he reaped the opportunity to get to know himself better.
What is cycling? Professional sport. Sports activity. Fun recreation. Yes, all of the above and much more. I have always considered riding a bicycle a privilege, a pleasure. I was happy whenever I had the opportunity to ride because the freedom on two wheels and the multitude of options it offers has always appealed to me. I would be in a world of my own, sailing along various paths like a boat on water, merging with nature and enjoying the view that reaches into the sunset. That love, passion and ambition pushed me to try to make a breakthrough. My driving motives have always been the same. See something new, experience something different, overcome the climbs and enjoy the view it offers.
Maybe I got tired of riding the same roads all the time or I just wanted a change, but last summer I turned my bike from the continent to the sea. I embarked on a 310-kilometer adventure and cycling ride that took me from a small town in the heart of continental Croatia to its beautiful coast. The route took me through beautiful cities across the country, which was my main goal. This was not a competition, just me with myself. The ride was divided into three parts. The first day I drove from Bjelovar to Karlovac. The tame plain that stretches along the entire route pleasantly surprised me. The mighty rivers that surrounded Karlovac were truly a breathtaking sight. Although there were not many uphills, the long journey required a lot of effort from me. I traveled 150 kilometers and was only halfway there. I spent the night in a beautiful apartment where I gathered strength for further challenges that were ahead of me.
The second day started ideally as the weather outside was partly cloudy with a pleasant temperature. Passing through Duga Resa, I enjoyed the view of the river Mrežnica, and not long after I found myself in the adorable little town, Tounj. I knew that in front of me was the most difficult part of the road, the ascent to Kapela (a mountain massif). Its highest peak is at an altitude of 888 meters, and I didn’t plan to stop until I reached the top. I can characterize this ascent as Sisyphus’ work. There was never an end to the hill, and the serpentine turns that lined up only gave me false hope that there was an end behind the next bend. But, persistent as I am, I reached the top of Kapela and stood there to absorb all the emotions that were coursing through my body. After I had given myself a breather for the challenge I had overcome, I headed down the hill into the vastness of the greenery of the Lika region. Descending, I enjoyed the wind that cooled me and the wonderful view of the environment in which I was. I was close to my goal for day two, city of Senj. The journey to Senj itself was extremely tiring for me because I struggled with several factors. The car traffic was extremely heavy, the climb was steep, and my energy was low. I had to be very careful, and strong gusts of wind didn’t make things any easier. Despite all these adversities, I reached the desired point and could finally fall asleep.
Only 40 kilometers to go, I told myself. Piece of cake, right? Not. That was the longest 40 kilometers of my life. In the eternal uphill to the ferry port that leads to the island of Rab, I squeezed the last atom of strength out of me. Surrounded by hot asphalt, bare stone and a view into the unknown, I headed to the end of this adventure. The kilometers continued, and the heat was getting worse. Halfway through I ran out of fluids even though I had brought plenty. The last day thus turned from the easiest to the hardest. On several occasions, I wanted to throw myself off the highway into the sea that beckoned me, but I had to keep my composure. I just kept talking to myself and tried to trick my mind that I was nearing the end. After a arduous climb, I finally found a gas station where I stocked up with the necessary amount of liquid and sugar and all that was left for me was to go down to the ferry port. Tired from the sun and driving, I enjoyed the sailing of the ship that transported us. All that’s left for me is to head to my destination on the island of Rab and finally relax and rest.
At the beginning of the text, I mentioned the reasons why I like to ride a bike. This adventure gave me all that, and more. I saw numerous natural beauties, met various people during that trip and recognized the good in them. But the most important thing for me was that I got to know myself. I realized that the human body has no limits and that fatigue is just a state of mind. We can do absolutely anything we set our minds to and I highly recommend this experience to everyone. In the words of a person who has covered a considerable number of kilometers on a bicycle: “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”