Somehow, I couldn’t resist the urge. Blue skies outside, on the bike and go. Another 50km. And that’s it definitely.
So I could bring up the total to 614.61 km, which looking at Strava right now (12/31 17:21h) would place me in 49th place in Germany (out of 693 participants) and in 738th place globally (out of 26,208 participants). Not too shabby, provided that nothing unreasonable will take place during the next 72 hours until all results are uploaded. Well, it „would“ place me there, but as all my distances are manually uploaded and not supported by any hard GPS evidence the excercise is fruitless in this respect. So I will rely fully on Phlipp, who finished well above the 500km mark as well.
I didn’t want to go for a long ride, however I wanted to explore some new roads. So I started at the Weser barrage and went downstream on the embankment on the left side. Not too many people were ot today, but I met one guy on a CX bike with a very nice beard and quite impressive 3/4 length bib shorts.
After passing Dreyhe I was basically lost as I had neither maps nor a GPS with me. I tried to find mey way through some of the smaller roads along the embankment. After almost 30km I was desperately looking out for a bridge to pass the river Weser. Finally, just right after Thedinghausen I could finally cross the river in direction Achim.
Rivercrossing at the road between Thedinghausen and Achim, looking downstream….
…and looking upstream.
I made much more km than I intended to do, I now tried to ride back to Bremen as quickly as possible. I had a nice tailwind that allowed me to stay in the 30 – 35 km/hr bracket all the time, if not for the urban sprawl of Achim, Bremen und everything inbetween. But finally I almost made it home when I met Silke.
Silke, except for the „Victory sign“
Silke was on her way back from BOC where she bought some new cycling stuff. I hope I will see her and many others again tomorrow at 11:15h at the Weserbank when we will have our Hangover 2014 Tour.
Home. Over. Legs alone won’t do it in 2014. I decided I need some more propulsion
I wish you and your families the best of Health, Happiness and Prosperity in 2014. Have a peaceful and enjoyable year of the Horse.
„One more and last time“, I thought when I jumped out of the bed. But there is always a next time, or „After the game is before the game.“
Most wonderful day today in Bremen. Almost like Japanese winter. Cold, blue skies BUT very strong wind from the Southwest as usual these days. I went to the Post office first to pick up a saddle for my new Moser Leader AX bike. Almost ready, except for the saddle and the handlebar tape. The guys from Ireland send the wrong saddle. Too many Murphy’s before Christmas I guess.
Long lines at the post office prevented my to arrive in time at 11 AM at the Haus am Walde, but I guess nobody wanted to come anyway, so I started on my own.
I made my way into Blockland, then further on towards Borgfeld. I then decided to ride in direction of Oyten against heavy crosswinds and over some dirt roads along a railroad track. After a while I was back in common waters and arrived at Fischerhude. enough experiences for the day, I thought and rode to Wistedt, always a nice bet for some fast roads and a good tailwind. And more or less precisely after 499 km I arrived at a gas station of mild fame in Wistedt. This is where I will stop, I thought, because I decided to refuse to ride 500 km in protest of the regulations of the Festive500 that do not allow manual Strava uploads.
I got off my bike, called my wife and asked her to pick me up as under no circumstances I would add further mileage on the bike. She said „Sure, wait and see“ and so I waited. After a while I became a little bit nervous and called her again to ask her where she is. She told me then „Oh, did you really thought that I will pick you up?“
So despite my refusal I was forced by fate to continue to ride. I made some mor eloops in the area in direction Worpswede and then returned on the left side of the river Wümme to Bremen. I arrived after many kilometers at one of my favourite places in Bremen, the kiosk „Yellow peril“. Here I had a big party with one Snickers to celebrate my achivement.
Surely it would have been nicerif anybody else would have been there, bit so what. Perhaps I can do another loop toomorrow? So far 563.8 km.
Yesterday was a rest day. I rode only 4 km to the closest Irish pub, had a drink with cycling friends and returned home …somehow… luckily I didn’t had a GPS device with me, that would have shown some circles on a map.
We had some Guiness and a sort of semi-serious drinking. So naturally I woke-up late, needed to do some errants for the fanily and could only start a quarter to one, which is basically in the dusk during winter in Bremen. Being certain that I would not arrive back home during daylight hours, I fixed some lights on the bike and started in direction of the Weser barrage. The cloud-making facilities were pumping out clouds like it would be the last day on earth.
And the result was a weird mix of thick rainclouds, blue skies and some beams of sunlights making it through.
We all know that culture influences languages, Germans have words that hardly translate into other languages like „Weltschmerz“ or „Verschlimmbessern“; so do the Japanese with „binmyo“ or „mabui“ and also the English and Americans or the French. Now I have run out of languages I have any idea off. Douglas Adams wrote somewhere, that
„Eskimos had over two hundred different words for snow, without which their conversation would probably have got very monotonous. So they would distinguish between thin snow and thick snow, light snow and heavy snow, sludgy snow, brittle snow, snow that came in flurries, snow that came in drifts, snow that came in on the bottom of your neighbor’s boots all over your nice clean igloo floor, the snows of winter, the snows of spring, the snows you remember from your childhood that were so much better than any of your modern snow, fine snow, feathery snow, hill snow, valley snow, snow that falls in the morning, snow that falls at night, snow that falls all of a sudden just when you were going out fishing, and snow that despite all your efforts to train them, the huskies have pissed on.“
I wonder why in Bremen we do not have about 200 different words for „rain“ or „clouds“. It would make our conversations so much more interesting.
I continued along the Weser until I reach Riede and then I took a turn west in direction Okel. Although the weather is mostly dry this winter, the wind is very strong and almost always blowing from the West or the Southwest. I like riding out against the wind, for me it feels like winding up an old-fashioned toy. It is slow and takes some efforts on the one hand, but on the other hand it feels also like storing energy, like a wind-up toy car that is ready to release its power at any given time on the way back home. I was now on the same roads as with Jörg and Olli some days ago. I hesitated for a moment to go all the way South towards Bruchhausen-Vilsen and get some strawberry cake at the bakery with the tatooed lady; but as darkness approached fast I decided to ride towards Syke, then crossed the B6 and continued to Nordwohlde. There were almost no cars on the roads and no people to be seen today. Beautiful, a rarely experienced tranquility was in the air today. Many cars were parked in front of the local restaurant or pub in the small villages, so I guess that families and couples decided to go out for lunch after all the preps with Christmas.
My original objective for the day was Harpstedt but I didn’t felt like riding down to Bassum on the rather ugly B51 (one worse than B52) and so I just headed straight on. I came now on a „rindo-like“ road (rindo: jap. forrest road, off limit for public traffic) that led me somewhere, I assuming it would be Harpstedt.
Hm, or perhaps not. The road continued forever and was going rather in the general direction of Bremen. I was suddenly then on the Bremen-Osnabrück cycling road. I heard about that one, basically to the effect that it is hardly approriate for roads bikes; but the stretch I was on was OK and continued to an old sand excavation site and then further on to Heiligenrode.
Look mum, no hands!
With a strong tailwind I flew home now but decided to make a small detour to Delmenhorst. There was only an ugly, big road and after the experience silence before it was rather nasty. There is nothing charming in Delmenhorst except Karin and Torsten. Oh, and perhaps the blond girl that Torsten saw one day was from Delmenhorst as well. Luckily there were some gas stations open so I could refuel and take a look at my now rather really, really dirty bike.
So far, so good. Everything is working fine. I am really glad that I tuned the gears before starting the Festive500, shifting is now smooth again. I am afraid although that my white Tacx derailleur sprockets are not that white any more. I need to check, but it is hard to see with all the dirt. From Delmenhorst I took the old road through Kattenturm and the GVZ and then I was back at the main station. Soon the Bremen Sixdays will start again.
The sport program looks all right, but the music program includes everything which makes one running away as quick as possible. Here are some examples to let you experience the full impact of German „Schlager music“ presented at the Six Days.
This seems to be harder to take than riding for example 500 km between Christmas and New Year’s eve. Last year was equally worse. I saw my old teenage idol Suzi Quatro on stage.
Actually, she has changed a bit, just like me, compared to her heydays during the Seventies.
But this is still not the worse. Does anybody remember Beatrice Dalle, of „Betty Blue: 37.2 degrees in the shade“ fame?
Glad you could resist. This brings me to another story, which will be the last one for today. You all probably heard of the famous tale of the brother Grimm about the Town musicians of Bremen. They are on display close to the market place and we can see four animals standing on each other, with the donkey at the bottom, followed by the dog, the cat and the rooster. Right, isn’t that strange? I mean, these four animals are not well known for exceling in any kind of music. A donkey musician? You must be kidding? It is a not well known fact, that in the beginning the town musicians had five members, including an elephant. Actually the elephant was the most sophisticated musician in the band and he was as skilfull as Miles Davis playing the trumpet when blowing his beak. That was precisely the reason why the donkey and the other untalented animals hated him and threw him out of the band. Luckily the good people of Bremen haven’t forgotten about the elephant and errected a nice monument close to the station.
This is one of my favourite places in Bremen. Actually the monument is much bigger than the one of the town musicians which should bring things into perspective.
In the end I extended my loop into the Blockland and was home after some 90 km. More than 451 km done, 49 more to go.
Day 3 of the Festive 500, this time as trio infernale.
Today, as usual, unfriendly skies but at least the weather forecast promised that it will stay try until lunch at least.
Well, at least finally, I was able to find the place in Bremen where all the clouds come from. There seems to be a very big „cloud making factory“ located next to the river Weser operated by SWB. It was fenced off heavily from its surroundings and guarded by grim looking security men. I guess that inside the factory many workers are toiling day and night to produce these fine looking, grey clouds, soaked with condensed water that the inhabitants of Bremen have becoming so fond of. Good works guys, please keep it up.
I was off to a comparable early start to meet Olli and Jörg and the famous Weserbank. The Weserband is one of the few banks in Germany that came through unharned by the world financial crisis of 2008/09. It is a very old bank and during this time of the year also very cold. I refrained from entering the bank and aimlessly rode around until the others arrived as I was afraid that I will freeze into a solid statue of ice and will then not be recognized by the others. Temperatures were hovering between 2 and 4 degrees. But here they were and we proceeded South towards Bruchhausen-Vilsen. It was nice not to be alone on the road for a change and we shared many stories about family adventures with the family. If I remember correctly the main tone of the conversation was, that all of them are an unthankful bunch that does not appreciate our beautiful presents. I mean, it is not that we presented them with wrenches, screwdrivers or Campagnolo cassette removal tools; although Olli came closest with a bike lock. Generally I had the feeling that all of us were happy to be united on the road again, chatting with people who really understand each others topics of conversation. I confessed that due to the clever marketing of Strava I am inclined to buy a GPS device and was told that my best choices would be some rubbish device from Conrad electronic store for 30€ or a Garmin 800 for about 10 times the amount. I am still considering. And while we were talking we didn’t realized how time flew by and in no time we were in Paris as evidenced by this photo.
and then, as we were in good mood we continued, just like Tom Hanks continued to run in „Forrest Gump“ and in no time we were in Berlin, as we can see in the next photo.
In the forefront we can see some remains of the Berlin Wall that haven’t been removed yet. So now it was time to say goodbye and we continued on different ways home to our loved ones. I felt good on the bike for the first time during the Festive500, my legs were a little bit more lowerful than the first two days. And so I thought that I can do some extra miles. So when I reached my home I just continued to the HaW and then to the Blockland in direction Dammsiel. Yes, this road is very boring but at least I know where it takes me and what do expect. There were quite some cyclist making out there and I saw at least three guys on racing bikes with huge beards that would qualify them handily for a place in the Fixed Beards Bremen team. Then I rode back on the other side of the river to Lilienthal and there, much to my surprise I met Philipp. He was just on the way back from a party close to Lueneburg on his Fixie: 48/12 gearing, skyhigh carbon rims, quite impressive I must say. We continued for about 3 km and then we agreed that we will meet again tomorrow to put in some additional kms. Philipp is also attending Festive500 and, much to my delight, told me that he is not interested in the T-shirt, so I might have find a way to get around all the fuss and lay me hands on this thing.
Today I rode about 105 km, bring the total to 266, so only 234 more to go at least. But I must say, I quite got used to that rhythm of riding by now, so I might continue also for the next days with shorter stretches, weather permitting. And apart from the agreed ride tomorrow, we will have a pub meeting on Saturday and perhaps an new year inaugural ride on January 1st. So there are really some things looking forward to.
Today was the start of day two of the festive 500. After a light start yesterday, I thought that today I will definitely earn some more miles to reaach the 500 km goal quickly. Or maybe not at all.
Not at all, why? Well, yesterday I trid to upload manually my achivement of 80 km plus on the Strava website. This went reasonably well, however then I saw a small note, informing me that neither manually uploaded results nor trainer indoor hours will be counted in the festive500 challenge. What an unpleasant surprise. I mean, if this is really true, I will not receive a sticker neither the right to buy a T-shirt for a mere 30$. Out of protest I will continue to ride, but then, when I reach 499km I will dismount my bike and call my wife to pick me up. I will simply refuse to do 500 km, so Rapha will not face the inconvenience to hand out some token to me.
Actually I discuassed the matter with my wife:
„So I will ride 500 km between Christmas and New Year.“ „Hm, why?“ „Because I will get a sticker for that.“ „Really, is that all?“ „No, I will also be eligible to buy a T-shirt for 30$ in addition.“ „Are you out of your mind?“ „No, don’t worry, I cannot properly attend without a GPs device, so there will be noc prices anyway and I will stop at 499 km.“ „Now, that makes sense.“
Why is ist sometimes so difficult in conversions between men and women to get a simple point across? Anyway, I wrote an e-mail to Strava and asked them to kindly consider all my manual input or otherwise I will write nasty things on my blog about them and start a media shitstorm with me 27 followers.
On the other hand, the skies ober Bremen looked rather beauftiful today and the wind wasn’t that strong either. So this was the perfect day to ride North, as this is the direction where normally the wind blows from.
So I headed towards the Blockland. And just after 2 km or so I met Harald on his MTB. Sure, meeting Harald when ridind a bike is as sure as getting an nice sunburn naked in Malawai. Even when Harald retired half a year officially from cycling and is now only ..cycling? Whatever, I was surprised that I met him that early during the festive500. He was wearing a nice rcb short sleeve jersey and looked fresh and youthfully as ever. So I continued through the Blockland in direction Ritterhude. I have taken this road almost hundred times and there are really no surprises. At least my heartbeat was now able to move close to 170 when I had a small chase with a guy on a Specialized hybrid MTB. He was good and I was at the beginning of the tour an I had no interest to exhaust myself at the very beginning.
From Ritterhude on I continues alon the Lessum to the barrage and crossed over to the other side until I reached Blumenthal, also know as „Love Island“.
I made good progress until Farge where I then took the ferry over the river Weser to the other side.
This is actually the benfit of inputting data manually on the Strava website. If uploaded per GPS devide the distance the ferry moves will be automatically added, plus, because it is rather slow, it will spoil your moing average. And of course this is cheating! But I don’t want to complain, something which is called „motzen“ in German and is located just next to the river Weser.
So when I was ready with Motzen, I made good pogress to the Ochtum Barrage and moved thorugh the GVZ towards the Becks brewery and then slowly back along the river to our home.
And when I arrived at home my Canyon had finally become a little bit more dirty then yesterday. I was rather afraid, that due to the dry conditions today the collected dirt might fall off, but no, it managed to ctick perfectly. And imagine my surprise, when I nooted that I made an even longer trip than yesterday:
Cool, 300 meters more. So tomorrow there will be a group ride with Joerg and Olli to which I am looking forward very much. We will explore the South of Bremen and I hope that these two guys will pull me all the time.
PS Haven’t heard anything from Strava yet. But the whole festive500 is highly unfair; I noted that when I checked the results today. First of all, about 27.000 people applied but so far only half of them posted results. So the other half is either doing nothing or gaving the same problem like I do. Now, out of the 13.500 people that are riding, about 3.000 are from the US, 3.000 from the UK, 3.000 from Australia and the rest is from all over the world. People from Finlnd for example have my highest respect. But Australia? Hey, at least they should wear a full wintre outfit when attending this challenge, this shoul be made a rule. and the leading guy is from.. Singapore. More than 500km already. I guess he went around Singapore island 35 times. But this competition should be limited to the Northern hemisphere, really! Nations that put the Christmas tree next to the barbie outside shall be banned from attendance!
Today was day 1 of the Rapha Festive 500 to which I have submitted myself at free will. As this blog entries are intended for the greater Rapha Festive500 community I dare to write them in English an not in my German mother tongue.
The night before I tried to think of an appropriate slogan for the first day and came up with the wonderful idea of naming it „Prologio“, which is Italian for „Prolog“. I found this nice enough as I didn’t want to overdo it on day one, just like the pros at the Tour de France have a rather easy day before they start for some grueling three weeks in earnest. Also, I wanted to add some nice Italian touch to emphasize the fact that about 50% of my DNA comes from this great cycling nation in the South. The fact that this particular part of Italy was only annexed in the course of WW1 and that my mother doesn’t speak any Italian at all can be safely neglected here.
The skies over Bremen had the typical look of skies over Bremen between October and April: Grey, full of condensed water, to be released any given minute and threatening as usual.
Neverthless I mounted my bike and started in direction East, Fischerhude to be precise. I made good progress at the start which I unfortunately related to my superbe form which is steady, even I just recovered from a nasty flu and hadn’t done any three digit km tripe for quite a while. Of course I wasn’t in good shape, there was just a strong wind with occassional gusts that propelled me forward in no time. From Fischerhude I moved onwards to Wistedt and passed the fateful gas station where last summer our Bremen cycling group divided into two fractions after a bitter ideological debate about the Vietnam war. Nevermind, I thought, what else happened cycling-wise in 2013? Well, the year started very well with a nice cycling holiday with david and Juliane on Mallorca in March. After that I felt ready for bigger adventures (RTF Sulingen) and the „Eagle round“ in the mountains of the Harz where I adopted a new training technique called „short seatposted“. I didn’t do any races this year with the exception of the 20km time trial at the City Traithlon in Bremen, but I spend a wonderful holiday with my family in Oberstdorf where I climbed up the Riedberg three times getting better and fast every time. Then I was ready for the event of the year, the Positivo Espresso high altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada. The highlight was the climb up to 3.000m plus of the Pico Velato with David, david and Juliane. After that I basically stopped cycling for the rest of the year with the exception of some nice trips around Osnabrück. But now I was fully motivated again to put in the missing mileage until the end of the year.
It was still dry so I decided to extend the loop a little bit in direction Adolphshausen (before WW2: Adolfshausen).
From there I moved on to Worpswede. It had started to drizzle by now but I decided nevertheless to go ahead. Worse than the drizzle was the very powerful wind which slowed me down sometimes to speeds of less than 20 km/hr. I also felt that I hadn’t overcome the flu yet, it was hard to get the heart beat even up to 150 BPM. But when I came to the next junction to shorten the trip I decided again to take the longer way home and continued in direction of Ritterhude. Much to my surprise the bridge over the river Kwai, or whatever the name is, is now almost completed after endless years of construction and the old bridge is in process of getting demolished. Although unknown, this bridge is in terms of construction delays far more significant that the new airport in berlin or the train station S21 in Stuttgart.
I was so happy to see this happening after passing the construction site on foot for what.. three years in a row now? This gave me back faith in German engineering power. I turned back in direction Bremen on the left side of the river Kwai. Now the wind was really nasty and in addition it became wet. My feet were now soaked in water and slowly I felt that I will become very, very wet if I don’t speed up. The road was by now thick with water and many puddles. As the last part of the road is anyweay a slimy mix of bricks I didn’t felt too much secure on the bike.
And then I was home after about 80 km and more than 3 hours of riding. The average speed is of course miserable but I was very happy that I started on the first day of the callenge nevertheless and that I did already 16% of the total. So 420 km more to go until Dec 31st.
My bike was rather dirty after the ride. I shall refrain from cleaning it at all, it will be nice to make a picture of it every day at the end of each ride to note the subtle change in color.
Wolber GTX2 Felge, 36L mit Shimano Deore LX Nabe, alles aus den Neunzigern. Gewicht ca. 5,7 kg inklusive 24 dezidiert ausgesuchten Geschenken von Tochter, Sohn und Mann für meine Frau. Die braucht jetzt allerdings eine Leiter, um sich diese in den nächsten Tagen abzuholen.
Weihnachten, Silvester: Plätzchen, Kuchen, Alkohol, gutes Essen, alles Dinge die Spaß machen und so leider gar nichts mit Radfahren zu tun haben.
Eher im Gegenteil, denn dieser ganze hemmungslose Konsum führt ja leider dazu, dass man noch schlechter auf den Bock kommt und dann noch weniger Lust zu fahren hat. Und die Leistung dann erst… grottig. Gut, man kann sich damit trösten, dass die Luft kein kalten Temperaturen eine höhere Dichte hat, was wiederum dazu führt, dass der Luftwiderstand höher wird. Was dann auch erklären würde, warum niemand versucht im Himalaya neue Stundenweltrekorde aufzustellen. Um diesem Teufelskreis zu entkommen habe ich mich dieses Jahr bei der Festive 500 von Rapha angemeldet. Im Prinzip geht es darum, eben die ganzen oben beschriebenen Dinge nicht zu tun. Also alles was Spaß macht. Stattdessen macht man all das was Spaß machen sollte: Radfahren, und zwar mindestens 500km zwischen Weihnachten und Silvester.
Also galt es zunächst einmal das Canyon wieder in Schuss zu bringen, denn wenn es ein Rad in meiner Garage gibt, mit dem ich 500 km fahren möchte, dann ist es das Canyon und zwar nur das Canyon. Alle anderen Möhren taugen doch eh nur was für’s posen und für den Stadtverkehr. Mit den Fixies würde es auch noch gehen, aber dann müsste Sommer sein und die Luft dünner. Das Canyon jedoch wäre perfekt, wenn nicht, ja wenn nicht die ganze Schaltung mal eine gründliche Überholung brauchen würde. Das Ultegra Schaltwerk habe ich gegen ein Dura Ace ausgetauscht, eine neue Kassette und eine neue Kette kamen drauf und ganz zum Schluß wollte ich nur noch kurz die Züge austauschen. Das stellte sich dann als weitaus nervenaufreibender als vorgestellt heraus. Es endete erst einmal mir, dass ich das Lenkerband abreißen musste und dann das Rad frustriert in der Ecke stehen lies, bevor ich mich nach dem Ansehen diverser Shimano Lehrvideos wieder an die Arbeit machte. Ok, es ist nicht sooo schwierig, wenn man weiß wie es geht, aber herauszufinden wie es geht ist auch wiederum nicht einfach. Bei dieser Gelegenheit habe ich dann auch noch die Schalthüllen ausgewechselt und einen Wetterfesten Brooks Cambium Sattel montiert. Mal sehen, wie sich das alles so fahren wird. Anbei ein paar Bilder vom Upgrade.
Wetterfester Sattel: OK
Wasserfestes Lenkerband mit SM Appeal: OK
Wasserfeste Schaltung: Noch nicht Idiotensicher
Ächsz, Stöhn, gar nicht so einfach, wie ich gedacht hätte. Wer jetzt aber hier ein paar gute Tips erwartet ist leider falsch. Enttäuscht? Hier gibt es ein gutes Video, dass alles erklärt und es so simpel aussehen macht, dass es fast schon peinlich ist, wenn man es selber nicht richtig schafft.
Grundsätzlich gilt für internationale Problemlösungen wohl dieser Ansatz:
Vermutlich von einem Deutschen erstellt. Die japanische Variante fehlt noch. Nach meinem Erfahrungen etwa so: Es werden erst einmal eine Anzahl von Meetings mit recht vielen Unbeteiligten abgehalten, die dann an einer Lösung arbeiten, und zwar so lange, bis das Problem nicht mehr relevant ist. Die Lösung ist dann allerdings super. Leider gilt dies nur für kleine Probleme. Große Probleme werden nie gelöst.