Originally planned for 2013, delays by our media and sponsor consultant in negotiating with major sponsors and media companies forced us to defer it until 2014.
That didn’t upset us too much because time was always fairly tight.
Our committee members had always been totally convinced that government approvals would be forthcoming fairly quickly, but it is such a huge undertaking that we decided that at least 10 months was necessary to have everything in place.
Most of our committee members are so well connected with top politicians and diplomats of their country, that nobody has yet raised concerns about getting those approvals.
You’ll read about the most difficult issues under our heading The Balkan Rendezvous Cycling Event.
The month of August is largely devoid of any major cycling events –
the Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy) is held in May, the Tour de France (Tour of France) in July and the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) in September.
The Union Cycliste Internationale is the governing body of the sport but for the first year at least, the Balkan Rendezvous will not be associated.
Throughout the Balkans, August is a hot month but with little rain and is a good month for cycling, skating and other outdoor activities.
The most important issue is that August is also the last month of the school holidays, observed by most European countries, and it is also the height of the European tourist season.
A small conflict of dates occurs with the Glasgow Commonwealth games but as none of the European nations are members of the Commonwealth, neither Glasgow nor the Balkans will be effected.
The Glasgow event finishes on the 3 August, the Balkan Rendezvous is presently scheduled to begin on 27 July 2014.
At 10am on Friday 27 July 2014, the Balkan Sale begins in every country with a list of participating shops, hotels, restaurants and other product and service providers estimated to number in the thousands.
At roughly 5.30pm, the 25km Prologue to the Balkan Rendezvous cycling event begins in the streets of Trieste.
From late afternoon on that Friday, historical and cultural societies in every country will begin their daily activities and herald the beginning of the first Balkan Carnival.
At 6.30pm, stage 1 of the Balkan Burning skating event begins at the finish line of the Prologue.
By 7.30pm, the first Balkan Concert will be staged and expected to finish in the wee-wee hours of Saturday.
For those invited VIPs, the first gala State Dinner will also be held.
This schedule will largely be repeated in every capital city where the cycling event finishes on either a Friday or a Saturday.
For the next 3 weeks, 154 cyclists from the Balkans together with their entourage of support vehicles and film crews, will begin their long journey to Athens.
Upon arrival, the celebrations begin and at this stage, we are keeping our plans a secret.
BUT, if you miss those celebrations, it could be the last time Athens hosts the end of the Balkan Rendezvous for as long as 11 years.
This event promises something for everyone.
6+ years in planning, the Balkan Rendezvous will provide an opportunity for foreigners and locals, to experience one of the most beautiful regions in the world, diverse in so many aspects.
If you don’t make it, you can always come the following year but being the first year, the celebrations will be far more enthusiastic.
See you there.