Thursday, August 21, 2008

Travel blog: Bicycling in Germany July 2008 (Day 4 and 5)

Bad Suderode-Artern

Bike route 63884 - powered by Bikemap 

Distance: 72 km
Average speed: 13,1 km/h
Max: 58,4 km/h
time on bike: 5 hours 23 min

As I woke in my hotel room on the fourth day of our trip I already had the imminent mountain climb on my mind. I went out on the balcony and looked at the mountain we had to conquer with a mixed feeling of anticipation and unpleasantness.

After we had eaten our breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we had to get to it. Not more than 1 or 2 kilometers into the day we started getting seriously acquainted with the Harz. Somehow the climb in all its sadistic steepness did not eat at my spirit the same way it had the day before because i was mentally prepared for the mountain and because i knew that one way or the other i would get to the top, and that this mountain to would come to an end.
Going down the southern slope we had a good road, no traffic and speeds on the fast side of 55 km/h hitting 58,4 km/h as the highest. The downhill ride took us to Magdesprung and then further on a scenic path to Alexisbad from were we rode Harzgerode. In Harzgerode the days first Red Bulls went into our systems and as usual our moods were lifted as we rode with the wind eastwards towards Wippra, where we ate lunch.

On the way out of the city we passed by a small theme park, and decided to have some fun by taking a slide down a hillside. By this time the sun was coming and exhibiting quite some strength - one of the few times we actually experienced a stretch of warm weather.
After spending perhaps half an hour on the slides we went uphill once more to the highest elevation of the day a good bit over 400 meter above sea-level.

From there followed a nice downhill ride to the city of Sangerhausen (31.500 inhabitants). After taking a wrong turn in the city and having to backtrack a bit we rode southwards towards Artern.

Not many kilometers out of Sangerhausen my tire went flat, and we had to make an involuntary break as I tried to fix the problem. As we were sitting in the sun and boiling while trying to fix the tire the result became a halfhearted job.
The last 10 km to Artern became a blood boiling odyssey with endless pumping of my front tire, and exponentially increasing levels of anger and hunger. In the end however we got to Artern (6.100 inhabitants) were we found the only kebab vendor in town and had a well deserved kebab-feast. The evening was progressing and we had to find a place to sleep, and we decided that somewhere along the river Unstrut.

We followed a regional bicycle path along the river but initially we found it filled with evil flying ants and ended running downsteam with ants all over shouting "get them off, get them off!".
A couple of kilometers down stream however we found a good patch of insect free patch of grass by a river lock, where we settled for the night.

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