Dienstag, 11. September 2012

The temperature peak on the peak of NRW

Summer became really hot recently. Temperatures went well above 30C with additional clear sun. While the newspaper warned to better avoid physical activity I decided to take one of these real hot summer days to cycle up the roof of Northrhinewestphalia - the Roothaargebirge with it's famous almost highest (it's only 3rd highest actually) hill the Kahler Asten with 842m. I hoped to get a fresh breeze up there.
Since it was pretty hot already when I started at about 10:00 I decided to ride a real slow pace. The way was straightly to the south where an additional reasonable wind was constantly blowing from. Unfortunately the wind was also very hot and offered no big refreshment.
A railroad crossing where you have to call to pass the tracks

After about 2 hrs I reached Rüthen which was the first town on the way that can be considered to be within the Sauerland. I took a break there at a bakery where I had lunch and had a little conversation with some locals. They suggested me another route than I had planned. I should go via Brilon. Said, done. The route to Brilon was following a major part of way an old railroad track and was conveniently to ride. A little bit behind Brilon I passed a big, forrest surrounded open air bath - it looked so freshening I really considered to stop the ride and go bathing instead, but I had no swim wear with me and I wanted to reach the Kahler Asten, hence I rode on. But the wrong way. Consulting the map, turning back and looking for the right way - I love that game!
Eventually I was on track to Willingen, which is famous for winter sports and rather high. Unfortunately the initially good looking bike track became worse and was no fun for a road bike. I even had to shoulder it up once when a lumber truck blocked the way. Well, I must say balancing over tree trunks with a bike on the shoulder is quite demanding. The good thing was that this track was going through the forrests and hence a little bit fresher.
When I reached Willingen Upland I again considered to stop there and instead ride the summer bobsleigh run I surpassed on my way and that looked like serious fun. But again I rode on. It was brutally hot now. I really don't know why it seemed that hot. In other years when I cycled the mediterranian coast it was definitly not colder, but this heat was really massive!
A bit after Willingen I lost track again. The map looked promising for a good way to the Kahler Asten, but it was not easy to find it. My gps was of little help only, because I was now in Hessen for which I had no detailed maps on the gps. Eventually I found a way that had the right direction, but instead of a nice little road it was a graveled way for hikers and forrest workers. Anyway I took that way. I wasn't able to ride that way up, too bad underground, serious climb and massive heat. I had to push the bike. When I reached the heights of the Ettelsberg (838m) I really felt close to collapsing, but when I sat in the saddle again (the way was still pretty bad, but at least it was rather flat now) it soon became a bit better. But all in all that hill was a little too much (albeit I tried to go on slowly) which was a pity since it was rather nice up there.
On top of Ettelsberg

The landscape is a heathland and the views are spectacular. But I valued that not too much instead was more than happy when I reached an asphalt road again. From there I passed the Ruhr spring and quickly went on to Winterberg which I reached much later than originally anticipated. I bought something cold to drink, recovered a moment and went on to the Kahler Asten. The way up there was not too difficult, the climb rather mild.
After 115km I reached the peak and was happy to buy another cold drink. I recovered a while and had a brief chat with another biker who was also pretty much done and wondered why the temperature was that much impacting today. Generally it seemed to be nice up there. Of course it's not the Alps nor the Black Forrest, but today the 842m felt rather like the Mount Everest.
On top of the Kahler Asten

I soon went down to Winterberg again where I had a gorgeous ice cream and then too the way back that I initially had planed. The way back was nice to ride, the way was mildly loosing its heightmeters. Unfortunately the traffic was not too little, but all in al okay.
I reached Bestwig where I decided not to go to Brilon, but directly to Rüthen which included passing another mountain. But before going up again I needed to fill at least one of my water bottles again, strangely it was difficult to find people on the road or in te garden, but eventually I found a lady who gave me fresh water but also remarks that today sporting is dangerous and I would be a fool to do so. Well, I think she was not too wrong, it was indeed too hot, but I kept my slow pace so it was okay. The way up was surprising, because in the middle of the forrest suddenly there are big cranes and huge columns. They are building a new bridge for the Autobahn to Brilon. Very impressing construction site!
The Autobahn construction site

Anyway, I reached Rüthen and it became evening already, which was welcome since the temperature lowered a bit. The last 50km were comparatively refreshening and when I reached home after 220 km it was dark already.
Evenving came with warm light and eventually the temprature lowered

All in all it was a nice tour, but a little too hot. It's difficult to keep the pace low enough. The gravel ways in the heathland behind Willingen were a bit too much. Probably it would have been best, if I had decided for the bath in the forrest a little behind Brilon.

Montag, 19. März 2012

Rescue mission for toads

I randomly came across a web page that was seeking for people who may join the "toad taxi" service, i.e. help to collect toads at streets that they want to cross. I joined that initiate.
During the last few evenings I collected quite some toads at a little road. If you go their on about 20:00 - 21:00 you will find about 50 toads sitting on the asphalt. Usually about all 5 minutes a car crosses that place. A road sign calls for attention, but many drivers just ignore that. If people wouldn't collect the toads, most would die because of the cars. It is said that 10 cars per hour is sufficient to eleminate a toad population within a few years if nothing is done to help the toads.
Many people don't like or just don't care about toads and indeed they aren't exactly what most people would call cute on first sight, but eventually they are nice and funny. And if you collect them, bring and set them free at the watersite it gives you a good feeling to actually have helped those little animals, that just don't know about cars and streets (and the danger of that), but find the asphalt quite attractive, because it is a bit warmer in the evenning.

A few toads and a frog waiting to get released to safe waters.

Sonntag, 1. Januar 2012

2011 - Radfahrbilanz

2011 wurden 9034km pedaliert. Das ist seit 2008 die geringste Kilometersumme. Dabei hat das Jahr aus radfahrererscher Sicht sehr ordentlich begonnen. Bis Ende Februar waren die ersten 1000km schon beinahe zusammen und der März war mit 1172km der insgesamt kiometerreichste Monat des gesamten Jahres. Der Sommer war radfahrerisch schwach - doch gab es dafür einen guten Grund. Und dieser gute Grund ist nun einige Monate alt, beschert die ein oder andere schlaflose Nacht, volle Windeln aber vor allem sehr, sehr viel Freude.
Im Herbst begann sich das Leben dann auch wieder zu normalisieren und ich fuhr viele kürzere Runden (so sehr lang weg sein mochte ich noch nicht), das gute Wetter war dabei sehr hilfreich.

Dieses Jahr nahm ich an keinem Brevet teil, auch gab es keinen Fahrradsommerurlab. Als radfahrerischer Höhepunkt ist somit ganz eindeutig die Tour nach London gegen Ende März auszumachen. In zwei Tagen von Bielefeld nach Rotterdam/Hook van Holland, dann mit der Fähre nach Harwich und von dort an einem halben Tag nach London. Das ganze bei milden Temperaturen, ordentlich Sonne und auch mehr Wind als unbedingt immer gewünscht. Das war eine sehr schöne Tour.
Der 200er und 300er Brevet im Weserbergland lagen zeitlich dieses Jahr unpassend, andere Startorte waren mir zu aufwändig zu erreichen und ohne einen 200er oder 300er gefahren zu sein, wollte ich auch keinen 400er oder 600er angehen. Paris-Brest-Paris stand dieses Mal ebenfalls nicht zur Debatte.

Die Kilometerverteilung zwichen beiden Rädern war dieses Mal recht ausgeglichen. Die vielen kurzen Runden im 2. Halbjahr fuhr ich überwiegend mit dem Specialized Rad. Lange Touren gab es tatsächlich nur recht wenige. Die 100km Distanz wurde nur einige wenige Male überschritten.
Als Neuerung kamen in den letzten Wochen noch Fahrten mit Anhänger (Croozer Kid 1) hinzu. Ein ganz spezielles Training. Vor einer Weile sah ich ein Rennradpaar (insgesamt also 3 Personen) mit Croozeranhänger. Sie fuhren aber in die Gegenrichtung, so kann ich nicht sagen wie schnell sie unterwegs waren. Croozer sagt 25km/h wären die zulässige Höchstgeschwindigkeit.
Mal sehen was 2012 so kommt. Ein Brevet und irgendeine hübsche Spezialtour sollten in jedem Fall wieder auf dem Plan stehen - aber wohl ohne Anhänger.