Friday, 3 July 2009

Leg 5, Strasburg to Regensburg

Thurs 25th June to Thurs 2nd July, 426 miles

Been going through Germany of late, but not that fast. Let me try and explain... The first day I spent heading south around the Black Forest (have a look at a topographical map: it's hilly!). The second day I was lined up to shoot across it with just one section of brutal climbs, maybe five, six kilometers max. When I say brutal I mean 1 in 10. For five kilometers. On a dirt track...Let's be honest, I knew I could never climb it all with a fully laden tourer but I figured I could do half a mile on, half a mile of pushing, half a mile on. I gave myself an hour to make the climb. And it was working! I was maybe 4km in when the rain came. Did I say "rain"? I mean full on thunderstorm. Full on. Torrential downpour, massive lightening strikes roughly every minute or more less than a mile away (during the height of it less than a second elapsed between lightening and thunder). I'd started in 30C hot humid sun and was soaked through. Temperature dropped to 15C in five minutes and stuck there. I left the bike 100 yards away and got wet further down the track (it's a large lump of metal OK?).

Eventually the ligthening died down, although not the rain, and I made a brake for it (and I mean brake) back down the hill... no way was I pushing on and I'd passed a hut some half a mile before. Made it to the hut and huddled under the eaves until the lightening which had started up again was a good two miles away. That took the best part of an hour. I was not in the happiest of spaces.

Ended up back where I'd started at the bottom of the hill some three hours later, with the option of going along a major road artery with no hard shoulder or on the train for 11km. Tell you what, them German trains are great...

It was still raining the next morning which lead to me packing a soaked through tent in the pissing rain. I still wasn't in the happiest of spaces and was contemplating getting a hotel. As soon as I found one... the first was full, but soon after the rain stopped and I risked camping again. Miracle of miracles the clouds cleared and I began to dry everything out. Made it onto the Danube cycleway the next morning but my legs had taken a beating from the attempted crossing. Still aching now, almost a week later and I've not been able to do the 70 mile days I was doing before. Hopefully today's rest day will sort that out.

Weather wise the temprature has been 30ish for the past few days with minimal effect on me which bodes well. Unlike the situation in Iran which does not bode well at all... looking into either going via the 'stans or flying over :(


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