Despite finishing last night with another excellent quiz (thank you James and Jenny), and getting a good nights sleep, I couldn’t get into my stride today. We got the news last night that Austria has been added to the Covid-19 quarantine list – annoying but not unexpected. I had planned the trip with this as a possibility, so it’s not going to stop me. I’m so close now that it would be silly not to carry on, just because I’ll have to stay at home for two weeks when I get back. Thankfully I have the luxury that I can, and Bikey is pretty keen on the idea of a rest too…(I’ve had some comments about the fact I use “we” quite a lot and some people think that I’m doing this trip, secretly, with someone. No my friends, when I refer to “we” I’m talking about myself, Bikey, and Derek the dolphin. We are the team.)
We set off early – out the door and on our way for 06:30, which is easier said than done when you have to manoeuvre Bikey down three flights of stairs. My heart rate was over 100 before we’d even set off!
It was going to be another big day: 88 miles with hills. Unfortunately, the hills weren’t like Thursdays fun ones, this was a constant undulation; up and down continuously throughout the day. Furthermore, the scenery was incomparable to Thursdays – for the first forty miles it was either dull cycle paths next to major roads or pavements through non-descript towns. There was one part which took us away from the traffic and back up into the hills – that was lovely and those views were great. It was just a shame about the headwind!
I was hoping after the first few miles I would start to feel it again. However, it took all my strength – physically and mentally, just to get to my first stop at twenty five miles in. It was as if my rest day had had the opposite effect on me; I was feeling slow, with heavy legs, and couldn’t get comfortable. It was going to be a long day.
Whilst having my second breakfast (a Clif bar which I’m so bored of now!) I received a message from tonight’s Airbnb host. She was letting me know that I wouldn’t be able to get into her place until 7pm tonight. This was, as you can imagine, not what I wanted to hear. If I’m to manage an 88 mile, hilly day, I don’t really want to be waiting around for her to let me in. We then had an email exchange where I explained this and eventually she agreed to refund me my booking, as she did originally advertise that I could check in at 3pm.
So, for the first time on my trip, I was unsure of my final destination that day. Ideally, it would be Regensburg, as that was the plan, however, I wasn’t really feeling it and I didn’t actually have anywhere to stay now either.
We pushed on. This time heading for Amberg, which would take us to mile 45 of the day. By now it was warm. Very warm. I’m talking 28 degrees and it’s only 11am. It’s going to be a scorcher in a few hours time…
I’m really not sure how I made it to my next stop, but we did, and we took shelter from the heat at a cafe on the outskirts of the town. I was feeling a coffee and croissant so ordered them from the menu. I was a little surprised then when some sort of frozen yoghurt, banana ice cream, fruit surprise turned up! It was actually really tasty and in the heat, probably a better idea. Apparently they had run out of croissants, and I did wonder to myself how they thought this was a comparable option…!
I’m also very confused as to why all the water here seems to be sparkling. Even when buying a bottle in the supermarket (with a blue lid, as I thought that was the international sign of still water) and ordering in a cafe, it all comes fizzy.
Whilst at my cafe stop I sorted my accommodation for tonight. It turns out you can stay in the Holiday Inn Express in Regensburg for 12,500 points and amazingly, from my consulting days, I still had some points left so technically, a free night for me. Now we just need to make it forty more miles down the road. And it’s 35 degrees.
We pushed on. The route today wasn’t my favourite; there was a lot of time spent on the road and not enough on cycle paths. I took regular breaks, usually just for some respite from the sun as it was burning down on me.
As we were closing in on Regensburg, I managed to divert away from the main road and down some more bike friendly paths alongside a river. The river seems to be popular with canoeists and swimmers and dotted all along there are little “beaches”, which on a day like today are jam packed.
At one point I was cycling alongside said river and the route took me through some woods, where I had to make quite an abrupt stop as a Mercedes was blocking the path. The driver’s door was open as he was talking to a guy standing next to the car. My stop was abrupt not only because the car was in the way, but also because the man outside was absolutely stark naked! Thankfully, this big German man had his back to me but then when he heard me come along, spun round, said something in German, then patted his friends car on the roof and shut his door. All the while being absolutely naked! I didn’t know where to look. He then casually sauntered off in front of my path, gave me a quick wave, and let me pass. What. A. Sight.
The heat really got to me today. In the last ten miles or so, I had so many “shade” stops – literally 5 minute pit stops in the shade of the trees! And I broke into my emergency gel at one point. Exercising in the heat is so much harder! But, we made it. All the way to Regensburg, which at pit stop one was looking doubtful. All 88 miles/145km of it.
It took eleven hours, door to door, and it was a case of shower and out to find food straightaway, ready to do it all again tomorrow. It’s an exciting day tomorrow as we pick up the Danube and the famed EuroVelo 6 cycle path, which will take us all the way now to Vienna! I actually can’t believe how close we are now…
664 miles down…336 miles to go