My recently posted examples concerning the difference in elevation profiles between a typical tour day in the Alps and in Bremen missed an important detail: weather conditions.
I hope I got it right this time.
I rode to the meeting point HaW aka „little hut at the edge of the forest“ shortly before seven but nobody was there. Checking the forum again it seems that most of the members wanted to ride the following day. Looking out of the office window that doesn’t seem to be a good choice but the weather forecast indicates otherwise. Let’s see.
So I started on my own in direction Dammsiel. With a nice tailwind I made good progress in direction Kuhsiel and I thought I give it a try to ride 2 hours with 30 km/hr plus average. After Kuhsiel I made a right turn and rode down the other side of the Wümme, a road Muckel has shown me some weeks ago. Riding there for 5 km, then making a left turn brings one back to „SOS Landscape“ and the road to Worpswede. I sprinted over the huge hill in Worpswede, completely exhausting myself for approximately 34 seconds, then rode on in direction Worpshausen. Then it started to rain.
Of course I had no rain gear with me but it wasn’t that cold outside so I just went on, but taking a shortcut to Lilienthal and further on to Borgfeld. The road was very wet, it was getting dark and the traffic was rather heavy, so I decided to take the cycling road between Lilienthal and Borgfeld. I had never taken it before; it was OK, but frequent stops at major roads are preventing one from going at a good speed. Then somehow I made a mistake and I found myself on the road leading along the right side of the Wümme. Doesn’t matter I thought, eventually it will hit the road between Lilienthal and Boregfeld and I can cross the river and ride home straight. Unfortunately I was already to the North of that bridge so I continued to ride in the rain back to Melkhus /Dammsiel which was a huge detour. The road was completely deserted, some fishermen and some SUV, but otherwise I could only see people in the framer pubs that are placed at convenient intervals along the road. Long stretches of the roads are plastered with black clay bricks and were looking very slippery. I took extra care not to crash.
Arriving at Dammsiel I took a left turn and continued back along the other side of the Wümme again – the road I had originally taken when riding out in the first place. It almost stopped raining but now it was too late anyway. I was soaked and the known feeling of wet socks in wet shoes was already there and in full bloom. But again, it wasn’t that bad.
Shortly before arriving at the Kuhsiel my rear tire blew up. This was my first puncture ever with a tubular tire. I had experienced one in Mallorca and I can tell you that this is not a pleasant experience. Even if you are alone and you have no repair kit, no spare tire, no rain gear and no light.
So I continued to ride the last 10 km home on the flat tire with my super-expensive Toppolino carbon wheels. I ride them because my Ultegra wheels are still only temporarily fixed by Christain Sambi of Ravenna fame and the DT Swiss rear wheel is still with Campa for new spokes after the Berlin Velothon accident. For one reason or the other I have ridden home many bikes and many times with flat tires and it is better if a) the rear tire is flat than the front one and b) since today I know that you can go faster on a flat tubular than on a flat clincher. Perhaps this is just because the carbon wheels are lighter.
Which brings me to another important point: It seems that riding on flat tires for longer distances might damage the wheels. So I took the appropriate precautions which are: Riding home, pretending not to care about the wheels, not to look at them, leave the bike in the garage for a week or so and hope that everything will be all right afterwards.
Yesterdays summary: 80 km on the bike, 45 km thereof in the rain, 10 km thereof with a flat rear tire. Average Speed dropped from 31.1 km/hr to something which is too embarrassing to mention. However, if the weather continues as it is, this might have been a good preparation for the Bremen Challenge race on August 28th.