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Spring at last

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  • Post category:2023 / General

Since mid-May it’s finally spring weather as far as temperatures are concerned. Just in time for a long ride with all the luggage I want to have with me on the multi-day tours in Switzerland and the Transcontinental.

Training went well this month, more longer distances on the weekends. Then on May 19 I started on the actual multi-day tour, which was originally supposed to go to Munich. But somehow, for the past year, something always gets in the way when I want to make the 600 km or so. Also this time the trip had to be postponed again. In June the next attempt starts (hopefully). But an alternative was found quickly. From Aachen to Neckarsulm and back. There along the Rhine, Koblenz, Worms, Mannheim, Heidelberg on the Neckar, then over the last hills to Bad Wimpfen and Neckarsulm. Back via Phillipsburg, Annweiler am Trifels, Kaiserslautern, Bernkastel-Kues, Daun, Schleiden to home. In the end it was about 787 km.

This tour was a lot of fun and I could additionally check the setup and some routines.

Since I could set out on Friday, 5/19, only with an almost 4-hour delay (a swarm of bees still had to be caught), the actual schedule and the originally planned route did not work out. From Koblenz I wanted to continue on the eastern side of the Rhine, in order to cross later at the Loreley with the ferry back to the western side. But when I arrived around 20:00 in Andernach/Koblenz it was clear that I would not catch the ferries. Because the operation is stopped, depending on the ferry, already at 21:00. I then afforded me a Subways menu and during the waiting time, which seemed eternal to me, I re-planned the route. It was also clear that I would not reach the sleeping place that I had targeted in advance. I also did not want to drive through the night, but instead test my sleeping system. So I found after nearly 230 km in Ober-Hilbersheim a quiet, off the road, bank for the night. Meanwhile it was also already 1 o’clock in the morning.

At 5:00 o’clock rang then the alarm clock, which was completely superfluous. Because quite obviously also the Frankfurt airport opens at 5:00 o’clock. And due to the wind from the north-east, my sleeping place was in the flight path. Back on track, it took a few kilometers to get warm, and to find a bakery. There I had a coffee, rolls and a nice chat with a customer about my bike and equipment. On towards the A6 near Mannheim. Pedestrians and cyclists can cross the Rhine in the middle, between the lanes. You just have to carry your bike up stairs first, and down again. A really great feeling between speeding cars and trucks it was not …

In Mannheim, I briefly refilled my bottles, and then I continued towards Heidelberg. Slowly it had become really warm. After Heidelberg, it went once again in the hilly area north of Sinsheim. After a small Powernap I was then shortly after noon at the intermediate destination in Neckarsulm, where a shower and a delayed breakfast awaited me. Actually, I wanted to be in Neckarsulm 3 hours before, but you can’t make up for the delay.

In the late afternoon around 17:30 I continued towards the Rhine. In Bad Mingolsheim I treated myself to a pizza. I still wanted to go as far as possible in the direction of Kaiserslautern, at least to Annweiler am Trifels it should go. After the crossing of the Rhine it became slowly dusky and the castle Trifels I could see only in the illuminated state. The temperature dropped noticeably. This was more than compensated by a long climb on the B48. There was no traffic there at all. A few incredulous drivers still approach me from the direction of Kaiserslautern. Fascinating is my dynamo light with high beam. Because most do not want to dim, or the automatic does not get it. A short fade on my part and “voilà!”.

I couldn’t really find a place to sleep uphill, so I was already back on the downhill before I found a suitable spot at Johanniskreuz. That was good, too, because every kilometer further downhill meant falling temperatures. At 10 degrees it was no problem to spend the night. It was shortly after midnight and 4 1/2 hours of sleep were ahead. I was satisfied with the 270 km since the morning despite the long break in the afternoon.

In the morning I continued to Kaiserslautern, where I climbed the Betzenberg. Then across the city in search of a bakery. But cities always wake up late. The first bakery I found in a little north of Kaiserslautern, in Otterbau. Freshly fortified, I headed towards the Mosel. I had planned a few extra climbs into the route, just to test how I would cope with steep bits with luggage and my form. Up to Mosel it was a long and challenging route through the Hunsrück.

After crossing the Mosel Valley, I slowly came to more familiar climes. It was a super warm spring day and at some point, after much up and down in the Eifel, I reached NRW and shortly after Schleiden. From Schleiden was a lot of traffic, at least faster. Too many motorcyclists, or colleagues who came back from the 24h race at the Nürburgring, and think they can drive on public roads like on the Nordschleife. Shortly before Simmerath received me a black Audi, which stood very suspiciously at an intersection. Why doesn’t he drive? It was a former teammate and his guys, who were also driving home from the 24h race, and cheered me up with a loud “venga venga venga”. Shortly after, a work colleague was standing at the track with a non-alcoholic wheat beer, to whom I had sent my track in the morning. Super service. And after a few minutes of chatting, we headed home for the last 35 km downhill into Aachen’s Nordkeis. About 280 km it was since Kaiserslautern, and I arrived with 3 hours delay at the end at home.

Conclusion and findings:

  • The distance per day seems doable. In the high mountains certainly not, but otherwise at least a good guideline for the TCR09.Planning ahead is limited, spontaneous rescheduling is part of the business.
  • The sleeping system works and the equipment seems complete.
  • The weight of the bike with luggage is already pretty optimal.
  • Charging the electronic devices during the ride worked without problems.
  • Better to shop or eat earlier than to have no option later.

Comments or remarks? Let’s hear from you.

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