Himmel und Hölle in Bewegung setzen!!

Wake up early again, and continue the pre-sleep fidgeting. The only drawback to having a roomie is that you can’t just get up and yawn and fart and wank the morning away. You have to act in a manner that resembles your mother being in the same room.

At least breakfast starts early, so I drop the Playboy magazine in my mind and focus on more eating. I have left my kit on the fence overnight (the only person to do so) and consequently it is completely wet. It’s not raining but it was pretty dewy overnight.

According to my body, this is the day when I begin to recover. Which is good, because I abandoned this stage in 2015, where despite Dr Good Death’s best efforts my body was simply too beat up to deal with the abuse. On top of which my gps went for a Sesame Street and sent me in a back country loop around the course section twice. Not cool Grover, not cool.

Will have to dig deep on the final shark’s teeth climbs up to the finish. It’s a back loaded course and I’ll have to pace carefully to avoid any damage. I focus ambitions on making it today and not racing for position. At this stage of the race there’s more to lose by pushing it. For me anyway. Some guys want to beat the next position, or keep their position and that’s understandable.

My goal is to finish in the top half, and I’m right on track. Fahre nie schneller, als dein Schutzengel fliegen kann!

Riding a bit easier gives me an opportunity to chat with other riders more. Anna from UK I say hi to and pull a bit through the wind. I catch up with the BC senior’s posse and ride with them for quite a long time around hour 5. I meet them at a café eating ice cream and drinking cokes. I have a quick purchase with the grumpy middle aged lady serving and we move on.

Avoid some spots which are very dodgy is the race director’s advice. Sweaty ham hygiene.

Route is beautiful again today. Feels very back country. I love being immersed in this landscape. Reminds me again of Surrey (UK) with the flinty tracks, the bramble-lined hedgerows. It’s very evocative.

Wake up. Hit the tarmac for the last 2 climbs. Hot and thirsty again. It’s so hard to keep hydrated on these hot long sections. I don’t know how to train my body to need less.

We stop at a miniscule stream that Richard’s pointed out and I lap like a dog at the wet moss and ferns.

My nose wet we continue. Legs in full rebellion. My big ring to the rescue. Easy and slow spinning. This continues for an indeterminate period of time. Kind of like inner space meets a black hole on holiday.

I’m craving beer. I’m enjoying my soggy half a hamburger which I ordered at the bar last night to much mockery. It offers 1,000 calories of salty fatty recovery. Sugars and carbs are useless at this stage for me. I want grease.

The last 25 kms take us off the direct road and onto a bastard back country cousin which ambles and wanders with irrelevance along the cracked contour lines. I hang in to listen to the main points of the story, observe the families picnicking, but really have lost interest and think about texting under the table instead.

I stop for more calories (this time in the form of chocolate and coke). Another ride comes out as I go in, waving his hands in the air in disgust. Inside I see why – another grumpy slow middle age lady lumbers like a 5th Element robot between cash and fridge and shelf.

We engage in a pan-dimension conversation about change. She refuses my 10 euro note. I browbeat her with Frachengood Northern Europeanisms. I get nowhere. A lot of words collapse to a lot of head shaking and shrugs. Finally, in a flourish of Devil may Care insouciance I place my hand on hers, look at her with welling eyes and tell her to keep the change.

Mission done, I bury my head in a mountain of mashed potatoes and hammer home. I fly by café after café failing to notice my friends waving and hollering at me to stop. I charge left, right, up, down, teeth gritted, gps singing a siren’s song home. My sails hoisted high, I hit the harbor with all the pomp and ceremony of a round the world regatta finish.

I want to cry with relief, choking back childish tears and collapse at the finish, muffin top heaving and hoving. It’s done. I break out more German to celebrate. Himmel und Hölle in Bewegung setzen!!

The most amazing courtyard is the finish, all cobble and Geraniums. It’s a beautiful amphitheatre of a colony. Small building line the oval shaped space which is really unique in its perspective and feel. Beer, salt, grease in that order. Have to hoof to the hotel room, which is still the most crappest ever. I hated it in 2015 and hate it still now. I curse in the tiny shower bumping the dial to scalding every time I turn around. I am tempted to road rage it but practice Namaste instead.

More jive talk before dinner, some pictures, some laughs then lots of food. Just heaping those calories in. After dinner race briefing for the next day and then off to bed. Which involves another annoying walk back to our hotel.

My Grumpy Cat calendar says it best – Wish you Weren’t Here!

By | July 5th, 2017|Stage Race|0 Comments