The Crimson Trail continued from Kiev towards the Ukrainian Carpathians. We were both pretty done with the North European Plain, so we opted for a fast aproach to the mountains on tarmac and superb dry rally trails. As soon as we reached the foothills we were greeted with thunderstorms and rain.

The mountain trails were sublime, but all sections in the Carpathian forests were muddy and nasty with deep puddles. My Maxxis rear tyre was pretty spent so I was having a hard time with traction. The deep ruts were treacherous and we spent a lot of energy in digging out the bikes. Luckily the weather improved as we proceeded to a higher altitude the next day and got to enjoy the Ukrainian Carpathians in all their glory.

All good things come to an end, or rather are replaced by another good thing. Namely the Romanian side of the mountains. After a smooth border crossing we climbed back up into the mountains. Unfortunately luck was not on our side and we were hit yet again by a thunderstorm. The trail stuck to the tyres and progress was slow. It was time to get down from the mountains.

On the descent our luck deteriorated further as Perra’s top bag was sucked into his rear tyre and shredded. It contained all of his camping gear, which was badly damaged. As camping was no longer an option, we pushed on to Cluj Napoca for a much needed service break.

We were hosted by Alex and Ramona from Heavy Duties and did our service in their workshop, surrounded by the cool panniers they manufacture. Perra managed to repair all of his camping gear except for the tent which was toast. My buddy Jon from KIT690 came to the rescue and picked up a tent for Per in Bucarest and will bring it along to where we meet in a couple of days.

After a great stay with Alex and Ramona we pushed into the Apuseni Mountains and to the La Gruber hostel, where I spent the days after my injury last year. The two days of rest and recovery have been bliss and I was eager to get back on the trail today.