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It was sad to say goodbye to friends in Istanbul. Tom had left a day earlier on a mission to conquer Europe by himself and now Katie and I were leaving the much loved German after having had a great time on Thorsten tours. But the show must go on despite our team of 4 only sporting 2 of the starting line up.
Katie and I rolled out of Istanbul just before midday braving some of the heaviest traffic yet but that was nothing compared to what would follow in the next 24 hours.
As usual we started to look for a place to wild camp around about sunset and seeing as we were riding along the sea what better place to spend the night than camping on a beach near the town of Gümü?yaka.
As the evening progressed the wind picked up and looking out toward the sea we knew it was going to be a rough one, but a little wind and rain was not going to spoil our beautiful beach campsite.
Man was I wrong…. Listening to my audio diary of that night reminded me of just how loud the rain was, so much so that I gave up spoiling story time.
Most nights I would do an audio recording of what had happened and how I felt. This had become a ritual and Tom, Katie and Thorsten would listen and write their dairies at the same time, to the point that Katie would be disappointed when I was too tired to do one. Still it was only rain and we had been in thunderstorms before.
Fast forward to the next morning and it was still raining and seeing as we had only managed a few hours sleep that night we decided to sleep for a couple more hours hoping that the weather would clear. Looking back it is hard to say whether this decision either caused a lot of grief or saved us from a worse fate, but not more than an hour later I was awoken by katie yelling:
“Jared, grab my stuff, it”s floating past your tent, we are being flooded!”
As I jumped into action the bottom of my tent felt like a water bed . “What the hell was going on?” were my first thoughts. As I grabbed my trusty crocks and got out of my tent I looked in disbelief as the nice beach that we had set up on the night before had turned into a raging river. Thankfully as we scrambled to get our gear, the water flow cut into the sand and out to sea.
OK, no biggie right? Except that the path off the beach was now a river. We ended up pushing our fully laden bikes along the beach and around cliffs to find a way up.
After about 45 minutes later with our bikes and gear now caked with sand we managed to find some stairs to a road. Of course what better time than in the pouring rain, covered in sand, would it be for Katie to have a flat tire. Never has the saying “when it rains it pours” been so applicable to a situation. Her only option was to “pump and ride,” in other words put a little air into it and find the nearest gas station for some shelter to fix the puncture.
As Katie fixed her tire and I proceeded to wash the sand out of our tents the weather continued to get worse, so much so that at times I couldn”t see more than 5 meters ahead.
By this time we had become totally disheartened with our start to the European leg, but despite the urge to keep going so we wouldn”t loose a days riding, our sensible sides kicked in and we called it a day traveling a mere 1.5km – the shortest day on record
Luckily for us there was a hotel beside the gas station so we proceeded to turn our room into a huge drying room and shortly after pass out from exhaustion.
Later that evening we ventured out into the crappy weather passing a group of Turkish men watching TV. The news was showing the devastation of flooding in the area. The men explained to us that the roads to Istanbul had been washed out just 20 km back and there had been deaths in towns nearby due to flash flooding.
Footage broadcast on television showed large parts of the Silivri shore inundated as flood waters gushing into the sea where cars were clearly visible among moored boats. It”s hard to explain how I felt at the time knowing that had we stopped just 20k”s early or continued on that day things could have been a lot worse. Full News Report