Climbing

The Strava segment of this climb doesn't of course tell the whole story; that 7% average conceals the fact there are descents hidden in there, which makes the actual uphill sections that much steeper.

Speaking of Machairas monastery - it takes its name from the word μαχαίρι which means ‘knife’ in Greek. There’s an old religious tale about how a hermit fleeing the schism of the eastern and western churches around 900 AD, brought a painting of virgin mary to Cyprus, and hid it in the mountains to save it. Another pair of hermits (who else?) found it around 1145 AD and decided to build a small chapel on top. The story goes that they were thwarted by the surrounding vegetation which they soundly defeated using a knife given to them by God. Hence the name.  The lavish monastery you can find here now has been through various construction phases, and was initially bankrolled by the Byzantines in the 13th century AD.

But back to the climbing...(yes there was more). 

The Kionia peak houses a communications tower that rises prominently from the top, and we just had to get there. One slight problem was a road gate barring vehicles from going to the top, but we had bikes, and bikes hop over barriers. I'd been worried about my gearing since the beginning of the ride (my loaner Cervelo R3 was running a semi-compact 52/36 at the front, and 11-28T on the back) but I was coping fine. These final slopes reduced my cadence to a measly 50 rpm grind, body swaying from left to right, but metre by metre I was agonisingly inching closer to the top.