Freitag, 13. Juli 2007

Vaccation with bike

It is summer vaccation time and again the summer vaccation is with the bike. But this time the tour is not as closed as last year's BCN-NCE or FCO-NCE of 2004 but more open. The flight goes to VCE and leaves again from VCE.
In the meanwhile the bike will cycle to Slovenia (Bohinj - a short hike is planned there) and maybe to Croatia. But this is not known yet, it will be a spontaneous decision. It will be no "eat kilometers" ride, but shall be pure recreation.I hope the weather will be fine and it will be a great time. Will take a lot of photos. See you in August.

Dienstag, 3. Juli 2007


I needed a 2nd chance for the 600 km Brevet and took that chance in Hamburg. The tour went from Hamburg to the Lüneburger Heide via Vorpommern to the Baltic Sea and returned then to Hamburg.
Start was Saturday (23-06-2007) at 7:00, I reached the finish on Sunday (24-06-2007) at 17:20. Pure riding time was something about 24 or 25 hours.
The tour was not too difficult, there were 11 controls, the weather bad but not too bad (on Sunday it was even a bit sunny). Most of the distance I joined a small group of 9 ppl (7 men, 2 women). Their pace was nice to follow, the speed was 27-29 km/h. During the night I really appreciated the group, because they knew the way. Also it was quite nice to have a dinner together with them. We all ate some pasta. I was surprised how easy eating was this time. At evening there was a little dispute how to manage the slipstream-driving. I thought it would be okay if we all agree on one rule and follow that rule strictly then. Well, the rule was not followed strictly...
In the middle of the night we came to a control where a party was running. Quite strange when some tired cyclists who already did a good 300 km and still have to face close to 300km are entering a party scene where the ppl drink and smoke. Most ppl declared us to be stupid or at least nuts - I guess they have a point somehow...
With the progressed night I became a bit tired. But talking with others keeps you awake. Watching the horizon, which never became toatlly dark, helped to stay awake. The rain was annoying, but also good against sleep. The speed got reduced.
A bit before reaching the baltic sea, we had a bit longer break at a control point and I took my first brief sleep of 15 minutes. After this break the group was split up and I rode mostly alone or in loose conjunction together with some other guy. But he was a tad faster than me, so we fell apart several times, but met at the controls again.
A while before I was a bit disappointed by reaching the Baltic Sea: The control was at some nice hotel and I thought of meeting th erest of the group again and taking a good breakfast there, having beautiful views of early sun over the sea. But the hotel offered no breakfast at that early time and instead of sun it was raining. What a pity - it could have been so nice... I just left that place w/o waiting for the others, having a small breakfast at the next town and coninue to Plön.
The day came and the last 200km were progressing rather slowly, I took another short 10 min sleep in a bus stand which was surprisingly refreshing.
Then the rain stoped and the weather bettered. Together with my cycle mate of these last 200 km we took a wrong way at somewhere behind Plön, lost a lot of time and gained some additional kilometers. But the way was nice.
About noon I got really tired and took my third brief sleep in another bus stand and was happy to realize that the distance left was less than 100km. I mobilized last energies and went on. This time alone. At the last control I met my cycle mate from the last 150km again. He and three others were there for a while already, I just took a quick drink and the last kilometers we rode together again.
At the finish us 5 "superrandonneurs" (four men, one woman) had a big cold beer and some sweets. About an hour after we reached the finish the rest of the group (the one I was going with earlier) reached the finish as well. I was quite surprised that they were still behind me and we all gave us gratulations to be "superrandonneurs" now. Then after about one and a half hour I left that place to return to my staying place and was happy to take a shower.
Hope to see them all in Paris.

Some notes: eating/drinking was okay this time. the dinner was very welcome. Also I ate whenever possible. The energy drinks were good, too. I guess I drank a bit too less, but not much too less.
The route was fairly easy (no big mountains). The brief sleep breaks are surprisingly effective. Anyway, for a longer distance they are not sufficient I guess. A real sleep break of a couple of hours will be good then.
I got some nice support by some nice ppl via sms. This time the ride was not too hard, but when you are dead-tired and have absolutely no energy left, these motivating messages can bring you back into the saddle and push you forward.

I really hope my registration for Paris-Brest-Paris will be successful (well, I am late!) and I am sure it'll be a hard, but great time in France.