Describing todays ride by words will be difficult, there’s been so many thoughts running through my head. Saying goodbye to Morten and Kathrine, climbing steep hills on wooden sticks, mud, and grass with too narrow tires, and with the trees coming out on the «road»… I’ll try my best to describe how I felt during todays wet and cold experience!
Morten’s alarm is going off. It’s time to wake up. Morten and Kathrine are going home today and I’m cycling further. That’s of course if my bicycle is still in the garage where we left it, 60Km from here!! RISKY BUSINESS!
We had our breakfast, a cup of coffee and kakao. It’s time to go. We need to find our way back to Lauenstein, which is where my bike is.
For all of you that are reading about this trip, I really hope that you would help somebody that are in the same situation like we were yesterday, I can promise you one thing…I would! To be honest, I thought about it today, I remember the face of the drunk owner of this pension, he’s sitting there playing cards with his friends and didn’t even bother to look at us or to talk with us. If he comes to Norway and are in the same situation, I would help him, even if I remembered how he treated us….I don’t want people to freeze like that, I don’t want them to get hit by a car in the dark. «That’s todays lesson of how to treat people in need of help».
I’m writing yesterdays blog post while we’re driving to Lauenstein. It’s not easy to find the way to a small place like this in the middle of the mountains, so the GPS is helping us.
We stop at a grocery store a few kilometers from Lauenstein, I need to make sure that I have what I need for the climbs that I will meet.
In Lauenstein, Morten and Kathrine helps me with the bicycle and trailer. Yes it was actually there! It’s nice that they allowed us to put the bicycle in the garage, I really appreciate it!
Morten and Kathrine are leaving. They are driving to Denmark today and will take the boat to Kristiansand tomorrow evening. We say goodbye and I’m all by myself again.
I’m sitting on the pavement, just preparing my bag, uploading the blog post and changing the SPD-SL Clits under my shoes. I’m really wondering how long these shoes will last, they are falling a part. They are not built for rough terrain and the conditions that I’m cycling in.
Back on the road. It starts raining a few seconds after I put my rain jacket on. I’m getting used to this, but I must say that the combination with the low temperature is giving me a harder time than I hoped for.
I’m prepared for a climb after 1-2Km, I have no idea of what type of surface this road is, but I can imagine. Everytime I wonder which direction I’m going when I need to choose between left, straight or right, then the correct answer is always the road with the worst surface.
The first kilometers are in good condition, but then I turn right. I cycle over a bridge that crosses the train rails. The road from here is gravel, but luckily hard compact gravel.
I’m wearing my gloves, my long bicycle pants, long jersey and rain jacket. Normally it should be enough to keep the sweat and water on the inside of my jacket warm. It’s not that easy today, the temperature outside is really low.
I’ve started climbing the mountain. The road is gravel so far. It’s a bit more difficult than normal, the reason for this is the heavy rain the last days.
Suddenly the surface changes, I can see grass and that the trees are coming into the road. I try to cycle, but I have no chance, my wheel is just spinning and at the few places I get a grip, there is a wooden stick in the road…SLIPPERY!
I’m walking with the bike. I know that I have hundreds of hight meters to climb. How will this go? I continue up the mountain side, the surface switches from grass to mud and wooden sticks. I have no idea of how long time this will take.
At one point I stop. Finally there is a few minutes without rain. I call Lillian and have a quick talk with her. I’ve been on the road for about 1 hour 30 minutes at this time, I’ve cycled/walked 8 Kilometers, I’m not able to describe the conditions with my words, but these numbers should be more than enough to understand.
Speaking with Lillian gives me motivation to keep going. Basically just listening to her voice is enough. If I could listen to her voice at all times, I could cycle forever.
I continue with my mountain hiking. It would be a nice trip to walk, but when you are pushing or pulling 45Kg in total and are wearing bicycle shoes, you can just imagine how it feels.
Finally I’m back on the paved road. Since you’ve already seen a picture of me kissing the asphalt, I don’t botter to stop again…Even if I wanted to!
I continue climbing and can’t really get a temperature in my body today. I stop for a quick picture and then continues further. I’m cycling through some small places and don’t care about looking at anything. My focus is kilometers and temperature.
It’s not as steep anymore, but the weather is quite bad. I cycle down a hill and suddenly meet a wall. This wall stops all of my speed. The rain is pouring down, I’m really low on energy and for the first time on my trip, I’m really not sure why I don’t stop…Why don’t I? This is not fun?
I climb the hill without thinking. The only thing I’m thinking about is how to describe all this in the blog. Sweat, blood and tears? What should I write?
When I’m finally finished with the hill, a car opened his window, I stop for a second to check what he wanted. He says: «You know that you are allowed to take a break, and you should! You look exhausted! There are 1 km to the next cafe, stop there and have something to eat, drink and try to get warm, you deserve it!»
Imagine that…A car that have passed me earlier in the hill actually stops and cares about me. Thank you for people like this. It actually brought a tear to my eye when cycling towards this place. I think that when you are in conditions like this and are alone, it’s really nice when people actually cares, even if it’s just the thought.
I tried to take his advice, but all the places in the next small town was closed. It’s not easy to turn your mind into continuing when you have actually decided to stop…But what can you do?
I’m back on the gravel roads. I’m passing a guy on a hiking trip, we say hello to each other, but doesn’t stop. The gravel feels like glue and it’s not a secret that the only tire the bicycle shop had for me in Heilbad Heiligenstadt is to narrow. I should have been as wide as possible.
I’ve decided to stop at the next available pension. There is no reason to continue today. The temperature outside is too low. I can’t see any big places nearby, but I hope that some of the smaller communities will have a cosy pension which serves a hot meal and maybe a glass of wine if I’m lucky. The most important would be a bed and a hot shower.
There it is…I found my pension for tonight, and you know what??? They had an available room, I’m in heaven!
I’m at my room and suddenly it knocks at my door. It’s one of the hikers that I met outside the pension. The pension had given me the only 3 person bedroom available, and they are 3 persons. They asked me kindly if it was possible for me to change to a smaller 1 person bedroom. Of course I will do that. They are probably just as cold as I am and are most likely in need of a shower as well.
At the moment I’m sitting here in the common living room. I’ve had a really nice meal and are enjoying a glass of wine and at the same time talking with these friendly people. I’m having a nice evening and are building up my motivation for continuing in the rain tomorrow morning towards the czech boarder.
GPS Data from todays ride: