Witness the Fitness

10 06 2007

1st June, 2007

A killer ride today(s) – an overnight marathon to reach my friends Simon & Debbie in Nijmegen on schedule. I clocked 242 continuous km (almost) – not really a good idea, but quite an experience none the less. A perfect night for riding – cool but not cold, no wind and a clear sky, and I was feeling up to a big one.

Perhaps this post should be titled ‘Witness the Flatness’, because that’s what this part of the world is, thankfully. The thing about Germany (or Europe in general, it seems) is that pretty much everything shuts at about 5:30-6:00pm, and even camp grounds don’t really like to see you turn up beyond 8:00pm. I wanted to get across the Elbe river before calling it quits for the day, but I just missed the 8:45pm ferry, so I had to wait another hour for the next one. When I finally got to the far bank at 10:10pm (with plenty of daylight remaining), it was too late to find a campsite for the night, so I just kept pedaling.

Waiting for the ferry:

Under a blood-red moon I rode – the moon looked surprisingly similar to the sun that had set a few hours earlier – and the shallow valleys quickly filled with ghostly fog-banks. It was a little spooky, ploughing through the pink-hued mists at 2:00am somewhere in rural Germany, without a single streetlight to be seen (they even turn off all the lights in the towns at night), but quite exhilarating too. I loved it.

When the sun started to appear at 4:00am or so, I was still feeling pretty good, and my legs weren’t complaining. My stomach was, though – I really needed some more fuel, I’d eaten my entire 10-pack of choc-banana muesli bars, and the grumbling was becoming serious. I finally found a 24-hour service station (they actually have one in Germany!) at about 5:30am, and ate a bizarre cocktail of nasty treats, with a few sports drinks and a hot coffee to wash it down.

I then discovered that I’d over-run the extents of the maps I had on my little GPS, so I took an hour break on the steps of the local sports hall, enjoying the sunrise while transferring the new maps from my notebook PC. A serious mistake – my legs and rear had quite gotten used to the idea that we were done for the day after sitting on the steps for a bit, and they were very reluctant indeed to perform an encore. A few stern words and a bit of self-massage, and they finally agreed to play ball. Softball. But it was all worth it in the end – a very pleasant weekend with my great mates Simon & Debbie in Nijmegen, Holland. More about that soon…
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