Tour of the Fofenk
This is Berk Okyay. I have prepared this article to share with you all the adventures of a 5-day ride of 1000km, 15,000m climbing, starting from Yalova in the North of Turkey and reaching out to Antalya in the South. Hope you enjoy reading.
First of all, I would like to thank my friend Emrah who accompanied me on this journey and all my sponsors who made this journey so called ,Tour of the Fofenk, possible.
During the Tour of the Fofenk, I used the 2018 Giant TCR Advanced SL disc; Emrah used the 2013 model Giant TCR Advanced SL. In addition, I can say that the Giant TCR Advanced SL model, which I went on this tour, did not tire me at all. The bike, which showed maximum performance on uphill, almost flew on downhills and straights.
I used Pirelli’s P-Zero Race 30mm tubeless tires which I was extremely satisfied with because the roads were generally cold asphalt, and there were no punctures during the lap at all. I would keep using tubeless tires.
As for the outfit, I used Biehler’s technical outfits, as same in my other tours. Bib shorts and jerseys are designed from fabric that wicks sweat for long distances and increase your riding quality with breath technology. The most important part is that Biehler is a brand set their mission for being ecologically and socially more fair to the planet. We live in. So that, from manufacturing to packaging process, they prefer recycled fibers and compostable
materials. These reasons alone are enough for me to prefer Biehler products.
On this occasion, I would like to introduce you to another sustainable product, Sungod glasses. While producing the frames of its products from recycled materials, it is a brand that takes a very important step towards sustainability by giving a lifetime warranty to each products. Repairing the product and providing continuous use instead of a new demand is the other way of ecologically conscious. Fo this tour, I used the Airas model which is very light, you do not even feel wearing it, that is what makes it so ideal for long rides. The lenses are produced with 8KO technology, providing you max. optical clarity whatever the condition is.
Finally, I can say that I am very satisfied with the Pack2Ride bags, which I used for the first time in this long new series. Bags, which provide storage and transportation of materials that will meet your most basic needs during the journey, should not hinder your driving comfort, do not give you an extra load with the weight of the bag, and will not let you down in harsh weather conditions. In this sense, Pack2Ride’s new bags will meet your expectations from a travel bag thanks to their design and functionality as well as their water resistance.
At last but not least, Pack2Ride bags that I used for the first time on this tour, are definitely worth a try which I am very pleased to choose them. Bike Packing Bags, which provide storage and transportation of materials that will meet your most basic needs during the journey, should not hinder your driving comfort, do not give you an extra load with the weight of the bag, and will not let you down in harsh weather conditions. From this point, Pack2Ride’s new bags will meet your expectations with their new design and functionality as well as their water resistance. For more, let’s drill down the details.
I used 4 different pieces ( Inova, Mira, Toprock, Karman) of Pack2Ride which have different functions on bike and all the products are waterproof.
“Toprock” is an top tube model of Pack2Ride bags.
I used “Toprock” bag for snacks (such as nuts, bars) which is must for practical and quick energy source throughout the ride. I used “Mira” frame bag for carrying powerbank, charging cables, sanitizer , electrolyte supplement.
“Karman” is like a small wallet where you can store credit cards and coins.
And the Inova is behind the saddle, carried the following materials;
- 1 inner tube
Repair maintenance kit (such as 1 tube tubeless fluid, tubeless repair kit, tire patching kits, super glue, chain links, valve converter)
- 1 rain shorts – used
- 1 shorts – used (for sleeping at night)
- 1 buff – used
- 1 sleeveless underwear – used
- 1 pair of long finger gloves – used
- 1 pair of arm warmers – used (lost one in the last 2 days but didn’t need to use it since we went south)
- 1 vest – used
- 1 thin raincoat-wind cover – used
- 1 pair of socks – used
- 1 short sleeve summer shirt – used
- 1 leggings – used
The First day
Topçular – Kütahya
253km – 4427m
As we slept for 4 hours the night before the tour, we got up a little late in the morning and when we caught Marmaray at the last minute from Kadıköy and arrived in Gebze, we just came to ourselves. Fortunately, we crossed the street without waiting for the Eskihisar-Topçular ferry. We hit the road towards 9.30, it was not raining, but the ground was wet. The fog we encountered when we entered Altınova brought us back to nature. We got rid of the sluggishness of the morning thanks to the bumpy slopes on the village roads. The wonderful landscapes looked even more beautiful in the fog. While covering distances, we did not neglect to put something in our mouths to gain energy. By the way, if you remember, we showed you that we found money on the road and asked you a question about what we should do with this money. thanks for the replies this was totally our game. it was a nice experiment. Of course, I will not explain the result of the experiment and why we have so much money with us. I leave the answer to your imagination 🙂 When we came to Iznik, we decided to stop and have soup and then hit the road again. Although the village roads were not so bad, it must have been rough enough that Emrah had lost his backlight, and when he realized it, it was too late. We continued from Iznik via Yenişehir-İnegöl and from there on Domaniç-Tavşanlı. I think the best thing about being on the road is the fruit trees by the roadside that give you pure happiness and pure taste. The last climb was about 1000m and then the descent to Kütahya. By the way, Kütahya is the porcelain production center of Turkey. The landing was quite cold, we arrived in Kütahya at around 12 am, the weather was freezing. We had heard of the inner Anatolian frost, but we did not expect it to be this cold. Fortunately, before we arrived in Kutahya, we were able to quickly meet with the apartment we had arranged on the way and go home and fell asleep at 2 am. By the way, for those who don’t know, I can say that daily rental houses (like airbnb but cheaper) are the cheapest and most comfortable option for accommodation. Moreover, hotels may not allow you to take the bike to your room. therefore, you can choose the “Günlük Kiralik Apart” as an option where you can both take your bicycle with you and wash your clothes in the comfort of your home.
The second day
Kütahya – Denizli
308km – 3400m
On the second day, we had a long way to go, but when the lack of sleep was added to the cold of Kütahya, we were able to hit the road at around 10 am. Due to the fact that the first 150 km is the main road and the strong blow of the headwind, we were quite battered. When it got dark, it was as if we came to Uşak, a city on the space road, we still couldn’t understand what was happening here, after taking a short break there, we entered the dark country roads. I think narrow and dark country roads are a very good opportunity for you to listen to yourself and question your life. It was very good for Emrah and me to be able to spend time mentally and physically for this late at night. After a while, the hours passed, but it started to feel as if we were stuck in the moment and the kilometers were not moving. At 220 km, the clock was showing midnight. We realized that we needed to plan a small change in the route. In such cases, I think it is also very important to pay attention to the needs of the body, re-evaluate the terms and conditions, and show the flexibility to make changes when necessary, instead of sticking to the plans. For this reason, we decided to change the end of the route to extend the kilometers and reduce the climb. We implemented all these decisions while feeding our soup, soul and body at a sweet aunt’s place in Bekilli village. Of course, life may not always offer these sweet and satisfying experiences. Just as we were on the road again, a black minibus drove madly by us and we woke up to real life when the people inside started gesturing and signaling us to stop. My inner voice said trouble is coming. The same people with the vehicle blocked us two more times, but instead of stopping completely as a precaution, we kept on the move and gave short answers to their questions and continued on the road. They were probably drunk and wanted to have fun by teasing us in the solitude of the steppe. However, this situation made us uneasy and it continued along the way. We pedaled by constantly checking our back, but they did not come. On the evening of that day and at the end of the tour, we thought that it would be good to share a location with our relatives as a precautionary measure for such situations, and maybe carry alternatives such as changing lanes during the attack, evading and intimidating spray gases. Fortunately, we arrived in Denizli around 4 am and we left behind an adventurous day to start a new one.
*Denizli, is well known with the area called Pamukkale where the mineral waters and thermal pools declared as a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE.
The third day
Denizli – Acıpayam
85km – 1500m
Since we slept late last night, the pedals started turning around 12 noon 🙂 The destination was Fethiye from here. But as soon as the dark clouds began to appear, we found ourselves in the middle of storm. We were climbing, defying the wind while constantly getting wet. When we didn’t have any places left dry, we decided to stop and stay in place close called Acıpayam at the 85th km. I could say that, this was definitely the worst stay of the tour here, but if we want to look at the glass half full we were able to wash and dry the clothes. Of course, we had to draw a new route as we could not complete the route until Fethiye. We took a nice route to Finike for the next day and rested and slept. By the way, that evening I realized that I lost one of my arm warmers, but if there is nothing to do for deficiencies and losses, continue with acceptance.
The Fourth day
Acıpayam – Finike
215km – 3000m
We left a bad house happy because the sun was shining and we were starting to warm up. On the fourth day we were going south to Finike. It looked like this was going to be the queen stage of the tour. Mountains, plains, silence, green coffee tones were all around us. We reached the highest altitude of the tour that day, 1850m. We were not tired, just peace and happiness. We were like candy 🙂 We went down the Elmalı stage of the Tour Of Turkey bike race in reverse, it was perfect… We arrived in Finike around 9 pm and crowned the day with a cold beer. Today, the passes we passed are Gedik Pass 1481m – Dirmilcik Pass 1370m – Dirmil Beli 1595m – Göğübeli Pass 1850m – Avlan Beli 1105m Now we were literally in the south. We spent the night in a beautiful apartment. We were ready for the last day, but in mixed feelings knowing that the tour was going to end.
The last day
Finike – Antalya
145km – 2900m
We started the day by eating the pancakes of the Phoenician aunt, we were full and we set out at 10. After the first 20 km of the beach, we entered Mavikent, we started with hard climbs, the body was struggling because the weather was hot and it was now the 5th day, but we were in good spirits 🙂 After 2 climbs, we came to the most special climb of the day and the tour, Olympos Mountain. We were going to climb to 1300 meters above sea level, we entered the canyon surrounded by huge rocks on both sides, out of curiosity, and we were fascinated. The bends were so beautiful that tiredness gave way to curiosity. At the top the mountains looked so big that I felt like an ant. After climbing for 20 km, we came to the summit and, as with all summits, we did not forget to take photos and put on our clothes before descending. We started our descent towards Antalya. There was a descent at 30 km this time, and it was never ending. Finally, welcome to Antalya and chaos again. People, cars, concrete piles. We immediately threw ourselves at the bus station and bought bus tickets. The tour is over here, in fact, we can say that everything is just beginning for those of us who are returning from the tour, because we have decided to turn these tours, which have been our dream for a long time, into an organization where everyone can participate. Stay tuned 🙂
Text and Pictures by: Berk Okyay / Emrah Çakar