Back from Sofia-Varna-Sofia (София-Варна-София) 2004!

I was worried that the photos might not turn out - I was pretty rough on the camera, but they've been processed and I'm so pleased with the proofs I've thrown together a small sample below. It'll be a few days, maybe a week, before the hi-res photos are available. I expect to finish up my write-up tonight and integrate some photos. More later...

Update: Here begins the full story with lots of text and lots of photos!
(Use the pointing hands to navigate fore and aft - they're at the bottom of the TEXT, not necessarily at the bottom of the photos.)
Table of Contents
  1. Getting there - Friday, 11 June 2005 Raleigh -> London
  2. Monday, 14 June 2005 London -> Sofia
  3. Wednesday, 16 June 2004 Two Days in Sofia
  4. Thursday, 17 June 2004 SVS Day One (Edno) - Sofia to Popovov - 359km (223mi)
  5. Friday, June 18, 2004 SVS Day Two (Dvo) - Shortcut (Abandonee) - Popovov - Isperih - Shumen - 156km (97mi)
  6. Saturday, June 19, 2004 SVS Day Three (Tri) - Back on Course - Madara - Sliven - 179km (111mi)
  7. Sunday, June 20, 2004 SVS Day Four (Chetiri) - Home Run - Sliven - Sofia - 276km (171mi)
  8. Monday, June 21, 2004 Sofia -> London -> Home
See also the official home page on the Audax Bulgaria / Sinite Kamani website.

Related Links

I found most of these useful in preparing for my visit:

Photo Previews

Gathered in Sofia the day before the ride. Deniz-Sabri Uksel, Lazar Vladislavov, Me, Docho Dochev, Chavdar Chernikov, Dimitar Balanski (crouching), ?, Stanimir Gyurov
Dawn Breaking on Day One (Thursday 17 June 2004). Heading east from Sofia
The Viaduct, I think? This photo is NOT retouched!
I knew there'd be horse and donkey drawn wagons, but I saw a lot more than I expected. There was also a lot more motor-cars than I expected. Note the red pom-pom on the horse's forehead.
These Birch stands where surreal.
Heading out on Day Four
Docho races along through the valley between the Stara Planina and the Malyovitsa mountain ranges
A roadside waterfall - lots of fresh water in Bulgaria and it never sits still - cascading from the mountains and being oxygenated. Roadside springs allow cyclists to refill their bottles with fresh cool and clear water - I've never drunken so much water on a ride!
Shaking hands with Mitko at the finish arch in Sofia. Having finished ahead of me, Gyurov and Docho look on.

Route Map

My shortcut (in blue):

copyleft Copyright © 2004 Adrian Hands.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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