The joys of travelling, there is always something to see. After a few days at base, I was back on the road again, headed to Thuringen which is part of the old East Germany. There is a discernable differenct between the old easts and wests. A little hard to describe perhaps, but maybe akin to your rich cousins and poor cousins. Back in the day when I rode across Europe, the stonework, the weather, the mood all seemed darker, blacker even.
Ever since I went on a school excursion through the Barossa Valley, the idea of living in an old church has held some fascination for me. I’m doubtful it will ever happen, but parts of rural Germany certainly provides plenty of fodder for the dream.
It seems that Germany will end up being the country I will have spent most time in, by the end of this period in Europe. On the one hand, German is one of the only languages I can count confidantly in, but on the other I so miss Italian coffee when I’m away from the base. Germans do so much well, but making coffee is not one of them. Oh, and their pillow deisgn leaves a lot to be desired, very disappointing.
The town we were set up in during the tour is also used as a base by the German national ski team. So there were things like ski jumps, ice rinks, and luge courses. Pretty cool to see for a boy from a flat land.
And there seemed to be miles and miles of suitable countryside for those inclined towards some cross country skiing. With the kind of lumpy landscapes around this part of Thuringen, there was some tough racing for the boys. We won the first stage and stayed in yellow until the TT. There is always something special about being the leaders of the race, you definitely feel the vibe of being top of the heap.
We lost the yellow during the TT, which was an uphill time trial of about 12km. Pretty brutal. The eventual winer of the tour beat everyone in the TT and backed it up the next day to win a sprint, very deserved winner of the tour.
My highlight of the tour was wrecking his shoes before the TT. Most of the time I work as directed. As I was following our earliest rider off in the TT, I needed to get the van out to the start from where it was parked in behind everything in the carpark. Now, the Rabo boys had decided to move their chairs into the shade provided by our truck, which left very little room for me to squeeze the van through.
Our mechanic was directing me through the tight space and all the Rabo boys sat alongside our truck saw me, and saw what was happening, and then I hear the sound of crunching. And not like the crunching you hear walking on a gravel drive, it was the kind of crunching that is immediately followed by that feeling something important has been destroyed. My heart sank, I thought I must have just run over an expensive ergo. Turns out old mate had just watched me drive straight over his shoes without bothering to move them out of my way, brand new SIDI’s too apparently.
The boy can ride a bike. Good thing too, because you worry what else he might be able to do. Ultimately though, you just blame it on youth.
The other thing I like about Germany is the berries. Mmm, berries everywhere. This lends itself to great yoghurts and great jams. If I were to ever live in that old stone church, I would need to plant me some berries. And then my idyll would be complete.