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.