Three Bike Treks and a Stack of Belgium Waffles (or screaming legs and killer views)


March 12, 2012 email:  “OK road warriors, I have 6 people who have confirmed riding up to Omalos this Saturday.  Jenn, Gio, Jimmy, Mel, Cameron, Andy and myself.  Lets plan on 10:00 at Alikianos, 8:30 for waffles at my house, if you are interested.  As you are painfully aware, this winter has been horrible, however, this Saturday looks to be full sun, high in the 50’s (10 degrees C) when we start.  Let me know if your status changes.  See you on Saturday!  Rider of the Cretan Mountains,  Richard”  

Richard commutes to work everyday, rain or shine, so his legs were ready for “The Ride”. However, some of us needed some warm-up runs before the big one.  So, last month a few of us set off to test our bike legs on a couple of weekend excursions around the Akrotiri neighborhood – Signal Mountain and Gouverneto.

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN

Signal Mtn. sunrise

This conical-shaped hill on the Akrotiri goes by many names.  Some call it Misty Mountain because of the clouds that obscure its summit in the winter months.  Some call it Signal Mountain because of the antennae that crown its top.  Others call it simply, “the hill outside the base” because the airfield sits in its shadow.  By any name, it provides a good road ascent and killer views.

Signal Mtn. ascent with Mt. Psiloritis over the sea in distance

Descent is sweet

The "we made it!" photo - Signal Mtn.

GOUVERNETO

View south from monastery road

The Akrotiri peninsula is the site of two of the most beautiful monasteries on the island – Agia Triada and its reclusive cousin, Agia Gouverneto.  If you haven’t hiked or biked the monastery road that connects the two, you are missing out on one of the best experiences this island has to offer.  The road narrows and ascends up into a gorge filled with bleating goats perched on the cliffs above and humming beehives tucked into a few small valleys.  But the WOW factor happens as you crest the end of the road where Agia Gouverneto is located.  The view from the summit opens up to reveal a blue panorama of Aegean water as far as the eye can see to the north.

Summit (Agia Gouverneto)

The gang at summit of monastery road

Agia Triada church

OMALOS – The Big One

Pre-ride waffle feast

What better way to carbo-load before an epic ride than to tank up on a break-feast of Richard’s Belgium waffles smothered with peanut butter and pure maple syrup, steaming sausages, fresh-squeezed OJ and rich espresso.  Ready to ride!

Starting point

Saturday morning, March 17th, a sunny but cool St. Patrick’s Day.  The “luck of the Irish” (and the good Lord) were with these the riders –  five guys and a lady ( SOMEONE had to keep all that testosterone in check.)  We were a rag-tag bunch of roadies composed of a British newbie, a couple of Greek iron-men, two 50+ American youngsters, and an Italian stud on a knobby-tired mountain bike.

Mel and Richard

Rather than take the typical route to Omalos like we did on our last ride in November, we took the road less traveled and headed west towards Sougia – a longer yet more scenic path.  Almost immediately, the two iron-men sprinted ahead leaving the rest of us to pace ourselves and enjoy the companionship of the ride.

Gio and Cam

We experienced the expected (a flat tire) and the unexpected (an attack of a couple of killer bees), but nothing could compare with the new rush of adrenaline we experienced when we crested the ridge where the windmills stood.  The view over our left shoulder was north over the Aegean and over our right shoulder was south over the Libyan Sea.   A-MAAA-ZING!   But the ride wasn’t over and, as any biker can testify, the last 12 km was the hardest.  As we headed behind the wind turbines and up the scenic gorge, our legs start screaming for the finish at Omalos plateau.

Windmills on Sougia road

After roughly 30 miles and 4 hours of hill climbing from just above sea level to 4500 feet elevation, we were at the finish point – where the beautiful, snow-covered sleepy and expansive Omalos plateau stretched out before us.

Finish line above Omalos plateau- We ALL made it!

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About Melanie A Crane

Quote: "The best journeys ask questions that in the beginning you never thought to ask." (Anon) Here's my journey: Enjoying my short life on this earth one moment at a time by being intentional with God, family, traveling, cooking, gardening, Colorado living and all the perks that come with it, playing guitar, listening more and talking less. I've discovered that both cooking and travel can be messy at times but the risks can have some amazing results. The same goes for life lived with passion.
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49 Responses to Three Bike Treks and a Stack of Belgium Waffles (or screaming legs and killer views)

  1. Gosh, this must have been so fun! Your photos are truly stunning. And congrats on FP–that will be a heck of a ride, as well.
    Kathy

  2. Looks like those were amazing treks and even more amazing waffles!
    Congrats at being Freshly Grilled…oops (waffle on the brain) I mean Freshly Pressed.

    Mr. Bricks

  3. aFrankAngle says:

    Fun and outstanding views. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  4. Wow, sounds like quite the trek! The photos are absolutely beautiful, and totally sounds worth it. Side note: those waffles are AMAZING.

    Halie

  5. Man those pictures make we want to go to Greece.
    Spectacular views, and with friends, you can’t beat that .. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Ron

  6. You did a great job capturing the journey…

  7. Chris says:

    Looks like a tremendous amount of fun from the photographs, Agia Triada church looks stunning and cycling by the wind turbines must have been amazing! Greetings from Limassol!

  8. Claudia says:

    Insane pics! I can definitely empathize with the pain of the final stretch of a ride, though I’ve never done anything like this. Looks like it was a lot of fun!

  9. I think I might take up riding just for the pre-ride breakfast feast. YUM! 🙂

  10. Wow. Gorgeous photos. I have never heard of eating peanut butter with waffles and syrup — since I like all three, I’ve GOT to try that! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  11. The Guat says:

    I love the “we-made-it” photo

  12. anaslense says:

    Lovely pictures, thanks for sharing!

  13. Audrey says:

    Looks like a ride of epic proportions! Excellent photos and congrats on getting FP!

  14. Chef Nusy says:

    This looks like ridiculously much fun! I ride my commute, and have done some longer rides, but never any serious climbing… I would LOVE to do it, even if I die halfway uphill! And I bet the downhill parts were a lot of fun, too. 🙂

  15. This looks great. Are you on road bikes? Who organized this trip?

  16. Your pictures are lovely, lol, I can honestly say we have nothing like that here in England, seeing that much green here would be a shock to all those who have not come across it in the countryside for sures. 😛

  17. forefoot says:

    Nice view indeed!

  18. looks wicked!!!!!!!!!!! I’ll have to join you some day!! Congrats on being freshly pressed!!!

  19. Wow. Love the pictures. I’m a fellow cyclist. I haven’t tackled something that epic yet. I’ve been on a few cycle touring trips to the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Shetland and Orkney (they are off the coast of Scotland near Scandinavia).

  20. Ο Αιρετικός says:

    That hill on the Akrotiri peninsula actually does have a name: Rizoskloko.

  21. kerryalina says:

    Oh wow, this is just gorgeous!

  22. roberto88264 says:

    I love cycling & bike, so compliments for your interesting post. Amazing photos. Good work. Thanks for sharing. Greetings from Italy!

  23. Grumpa Joe says:

    Oh how I wish I could have been with you. The rush coming down the mountain had to be worth every second of the burn. I can only recall my past rides to experience what you still have ahead of you. Keep on stroking.

  24. L. says:

    Wow! Looks like a blast! Props to whoever rode the mountain bike…. That would be hard work! I mountain bike, and have never been into rode biking, but you make it look so fun!

  25. go green and get healthy with bicycle

  26. absolutely absolutely fun packed!!

  27. csailland says:

    Sounds amazing ! Great job all of you ! I thought that I was totally mad and hyper strong because I did Bali by biclycle…You ruined it for me ! ahaha. But next adventure could be this one !
    Cheers, Les Baroudeurs

  28. amazingved says:

    great photos, great post, thanks for sharing!

  29. Ajay Mishra says:

    Great photographs and great buddies in a group. And congrats on being on FPed.

  30. Jal Panthaky says:

    Great Pics & A Great narrative… especially from cyclists. Keep it up!!!

  31. Matt Mason says:

    Thanks for the reminder how beautiful the world and reminding me that I don’t make waffles nearly enough.

  32. sam says:

    How beautiful the pics are. Nice place.

  33. Jill Barth says:

    Awesome photos, thanks for sharing!

  34. boatengmuwa says:

    wow great photos 😉

  35. Wow. Kudos for doing this guys. The photos and the waffles look amazing! 😉
    Keep up the good work!

    Jen from
    http://www.go-scuba-dive.com

  36. pinangqaseh says:

    If I were to ride on a bike in this distant, I need spare tyre for my bike…
    Thx for sharing =)

  37. Loved all of your photos. That is a beautiful side of the earth I have never seen before. Congrats on two great rides! – MoSop

  38. Huffygirl says:

    Looks like an amazing ride. What country is this? I’m a little worried about the guy without a helmet though. Maybe you can all chip in and get him one 😉

    Congratulations on being FP’d and have a great summer riding.

  39. Anon says:

    Amazing pictures! I especially love the sunset one. The pre-ride waffle feast made my mouth water.

  40. Ryan Sprout says:

    Excellent photographs! Looks like a lot of fun and inspires me to go on a bike ride!

  41. Wow…those killer views were most certainly worth the screaming legs (YOUR screaming legs…I wouldn’t think the same if they were MY screaming legs…just do you know…) 😉

  42. What an amazing ride! I would love to do a ride like that at some point in the near future.

  43. yourhealthychicks says:

    You guys rock! I have never been a big bike rider due to an accident I had as a child, but this sure is inspiring! You make me want to jump on the lame bicycle in my garage and hit some pavement. Sadly, we don’t have any views like this….but you never know.

  44. Love the variety of bikes in these treks!

  45. Richard Clark says:

    I have just discovered your wonderful blog and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon reading it from the beginning. I was lucky enough to live in Crete in the early Eighties and return most years and have written a book called The Greek Islands – A Notebook and have just completed another specifically about Crete which will be published later this year. If interested I can send you a .pdf of the former.

  46. Beautiful photos! And achievement with enjoyment – what a combo!

  47. brulionman says:

    this is great enough to encourage me to ride tomorrow no matter the weather 🙂
    thnx!

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