My first hairpins

3 July 2018 - Janneke

Sun is out, clear skies, no chance of precipitation, a perfect day to start my first mountain crossing. On the menu is the famous Transfagarasan Highway. Yes, a road that transfers us through the Fagarasan Mountains, the highest of Romania. Little did I knew that this was a motorbiking walhalla, but things fell into its place when we started winding uphill. First some intermediate corners, the ones similar to a highway exit ramp, which I still take with some minor caution. Some uphill, some down, some longer curves and a couple of straight speedy parts. Like I learned: fast when its possible, slow when its necessary. I can do this. I am starting to understand why Tim likes the mountains so much, this is kinda cool on a motorbike!

Tim is a very technical driver and makes a great coach in showing me how to cut the corners and to ride the best lines to make the most out of the turns. Then, a total new chapter arises, hairpin galore! Not one, about five in a row. Holymoly, adrenaline rises, brake, shift gear, shift again, keep the gas open, follow the outside, lean with the bike, look! Don’t forget to bloody look!, But not too soon since then Im totally missing the apex, and end up at the bottom of the corner which happened multiple times, but wait for it, wait, look, then, excellerate. And again. And again. There is always a good corner, my lefties, and a bad corner, my right, something to improve, but its all about the looking.

We took the road from South to North, something we read along the way and is indeed the best choice. You start with a more forest like drive and saving the best for last. Hairpins winding uphill across the mountain range, a wide, green view into the valley and, more hairpins.

On the top it all started to sink in what I just did. 6 Weeks ago I hadn’t driven more that 200 kilometers, now I pass the 5500 kilometers mark, highways, gravel, and I can add some pretty pretty hairpins to that. And I managed to keep up with Tim, which brings a tiny heraldic smile to my face.

But then, what goes up, must come down. Forf#cksake, that is so scary. I tend to swear a lot when something freaks me out, so you can imagine it was a nice ride on our intercom. The bike weights over 250 kilogram, and I need to turn that at 15 k/h in a hairpin, on a 15% steep road, pffft! But again, once we are down, victory! Not the same type of physical feeling when I crash after a good HIT run, but mentally this was a good one.