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Tales from the Trails

I met Jim while doing the Don Valley trails just off Pottery Road. He talked about his forth-coming trip to Greece and I thought it was great material to feature his bike trip for this edition.
-- TheLoneRider
August 2, 2001

Jim Vandekas Rides Greece

"I returned from riding in Greece on Monday night. I have to tell you that it was the most fun I have had on a bike in many, many years! To think that I was riding on trails beside ancient ruins that were hundreds of years before Christ!

I especially felt a source of energy when riding in the mountains and climbing the Palamidi Fortress (built in 1714) in Nafplio (the first capital city of Greece/shown in pictures below). The condition of the trails were for the lack of a better word 'rocky'. I believe that every rock on this great earth has been dumped in the southern province of Greece (Rovince of Peleponese).

The rides were on average between 50 to 60 kms. They broke down in this fashion:
  • Start - 3.5 kms. of level road
  • 9 kms. of gradual climbing through the seaside mountains passing by three villages (Drepano, Vivari, Lefkakia) absolutely breathtaking!!
  • 10 kms. of rocky descent (at times, these ancient trails scared the #$#@ out of me!!)into the outskirts of Nafplio.
  • then a climb up the Palamidi Fortress. I think it was about 1.2 to 2 kms.
  • 5 kms. road ride into the city of Nafplio where I would refill my water pack at a fresh mountain spring water stop.
  • Then, for the most part it was the same on the way back but depending on how I felt I would cut it short or continue as normal.
  • Other cities I visited were Argos and Tolo.

    Some of the other trails I hit were for example a dried up river bed which was just around the corner from my house in Candia Beach. To envision this this river bed, it stretches (I was told) for over 100 kms. from the top of a mountain to the ocean. I rode 15 to 20 kms. in different stretches and it was pretty impressive! When you are in it the river walls are 40 to 50 feet high plus the surrounding mountains hovering over the river make you feel like an ant." -- Jim Vandekas

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