I know that the mountain is waiting for me, the only thing I don’t know is how the road standard is on the route I’m taking, I have my suspicions. Anyway, I am ready for climbing and I will do it with a smile!

20140807_114140Ilsenburg is a small nice town. Many of the people walking around in the streets here are tourists and hikers. They live at hotelsĀ or pensions here at the foot of the Hartz mountain and take daily trips to the mountain, maybe even to Brocken, which is the highest peak and is situated 1141,1 meter above the sea level.

I’m preparing myself for a day without the possibility to buy anything, so my bag gets even heavier. I’m ready!

I set course towards the mountain and the climbs starts immediately. Cycling slowly up the streets and there are less and less buildings and suddenly you are in the middle of the forrest. The road have switched from cobblestones to compacted gravel. It’s still easy to get a good grip, but I’ve IMG_2948decided to sit instead of standing, I have to get as much weight as possible on the rear wheel.

There’s not many people around. I can see some hikers on the path on the right side of the river.

Is it raining? No, it’s just my sweat falling from my helmet and face down to my hands. I am soaking wet. The climbs on the way to the first top was in average 12-15% and had a maximum at 25%….That was hard!

The roads starts to normalize but there still some minor hills that needs to be climbed. There’s much more people up in this terrain. On the way up I even met a bus…Are they cheating??? I can’t believe it!

IMG_2952I’m back on the main road after some steep downhill. I cycle over the road and stop at a small place with a guy selling bratwurst and drinks. He’s making this in something that looks like a steel engine, most likely a home made steel oven. Good fantacy!

Some german hikers asked me a few questions about my trip and we spoke for about 10 minutes before I said goodbye and continued.

There is a railway station a few 100 meters down the streets. Normally I wouldn’t stop there, but I’m facinated about the steam lokomotives that are passing. They smoke down the whole area while I take pictures. It seems like this is a tourist attraction. Many people are sitting on one of the wagons without roof.

I’m just staying on the main road for some kilometers. I’m back in the woods. Crossing the railways several times.

There are some signs pointing to a «grenze route». I guess my route will take me there, and so it does. There are some steep climbs on loose gravel first. I met some dutch people in the hill while climbing, they are just smiling when they see me struggeling to get to the top.

Finally at the top. The first sight you get is some old barbed wired fences and a boarder sign. I stop here to take som pictures and then continues along the concrete road full of big holes.

IMG_2937I’ve been on the road for hours, but my gps tells me that I’ve only cycled about 30Km… I’m not gonna get far today. My plan was already from the start to stop at a camp site in Walkenried, but we will have to see. Even if I fixed my gear yesterday, there are still parts that needs to be changed. I will ask for a bicycle repair shop.

Along the «Grenze weg» I can see watch towers and more barbed wired fences. I speak with a couple from Denmark. They’re on a car holiday and wanted to see «the grenze».

Suddenly I’ve got a extremely steep downhill ahead of me. The road surface is concrete plates with big holes. You might lose control over the bike and fall if you hit one of the holes, this is how big they are. I slowly cycle down and can see that another hill like this with the same road IMG_2956standard is waiting for me on the other side, the only difference is that it’s climbing!!! Should be impossible, but I will try, stupid as I am!

It feels like there’s no ending. It’s difficult enough to keep the balance, so I have full focus to stay on the bike. Finally on the top, it wasn’t easy. If you hit the holes you can fall and if you hit the grass, your wheel will spin, in other words, you have only a few centimeters to cycle on.

My gear is giving me trouble. I’m not able to spin my pedals backwards, then the chain starts jumbing. This makes it much more difficult for me if I stop in a hill and needs to get the pedal in the correct starting position. I really need to change these parts.

I’m back on normal roads, finally! It looks like it’s about time to cycle down from the Hartz mountain again. I’m ready!

I quickly arrive in Elrich and turns west towards the camp site in Walkenried. I have a quick look at the camping and basically IMG_2958decides to stay there, but when I ask them about a bicycle repair shop, they say that there is one in Bad Sachsa, 6Km from here.

My bicycle really needs a repair, so I decide to continue and try my luck there. It was easy to find the shop, but not that easy to communicate with them. When he looks at my bicycle and the parts I need he replies with one word: Nein!!

In my head this means that he doesn’t have the parts that I need. But after about 5 minutes in the shop he find the parts and put it on the desk. He tells me that he have no time! When I ask him about when he have time, he replies: Tomorrow. For me this is perfect. We agreed that I will bring the bicycle tonight and that it will be ready by 10am tomorrow morning.

I quickly find a cafe. I figured that I will have some food and then search for the cheapes accommodation in Bad Sachsa. At my first search I find a cheap one and just book it right away. It’s 600 meters from here.

My plan for tomorrow is not 100% set, but I have an idea and have seen several campings on the way, so that shouldn’t be a problem!

Picture album from todays trip:

GPS Data from todays trip: