I had a lie in until 06:30 this morning as I wanted to make the most of the free breakfast in the hotel. It was the most socially distant, Covid-19 friendly breakfast I have ever seen. Arrows everywhere, a one way system with once chance to fill your pockets, and tables so far apart we could have all been in separate hotels.
We were packed up and on the road for 07:45. A lot later than usual, but it’s only a short (and flat) day today, so what’s the rush?
Today we join the Danube cycle path. This feels like a big moment in my journey. Reaching the Danube makes it feel like we are basically there: from now on, we just stay on this cycle path all the way into Vienna…now that’s a crazy thought.
The cycle path was beautifully paved and empty. No cars, no people, no nothing. So today was a day for music on; party hits of the 90s, and a chance to practice my singing! What a morning! I loved it. I feel like I say that a lot, but I really am loving it. Just Bikey and I meandering along. This morning we have been averaging over 13mph, which for this trip is practically motoring. At times, I’ve definitely seen 18mph on my Garmin, I mean, watch out Froome I’m coming for you…
After 27 miles or so, we stopped. In the middle of absolute nowhere. There was a random bench in a field and I took the opportunity to have a rest. The settlements along the cycle path are so empty, apart from a church and a few houses, there is just nothing around. I think some people would find it boring, but honestly, with some music on, just sauntering along is the best thing.
We kept going. This time in search for a proper town and cafe. It didn’t take long to reach Borgen, and the first cafe I spotted we pulled in. Again, it was a nice leisurely stop – coffee and a chance to catch up on all the lovely messages I receive everyday. They really have made this trip extra special, so thank you if you are reading this and have sent me some sort of message. I appreciate them all.
I rejoined the route using his excellent directions and was back on the road to Deggendorf. It had been rather windy all day, but now it was proper wind. The kind that pushes you from one side of the road to the other. I stopped literally 10km away from my hotel to eat a sandwich and take shelter from the inevitable storm that was brewing. It was going to be a race against time to beat the storm to my hotel, but in the end, it was no match for Bikey and I. We made it easily. It was later, when I was out walking around the old town that the heavens opened on me!
With only 17 miles to go, we pushed on. It was so flat today we practically finished in the next hour. Not before a quick diversion though, as we were greeted by a great big barricade. A friendly German man and his dog came along just as I pulled up to it and started speaking in German. I said my stock German phrase; “bitte, sprechen sie englisch?” To which he replied in such fluent English; “ahh yes, no worries…” and continued to tell me the correct route. It’s at times like these I feel so let down by the English school system! How come everyone else in the world can speak more than one language and all we get in the UK is to learn how to say; “I have a rubber in my pencil case” and “last weekend I went to McDonalds”. What a skill to be multi-lingual.
I checked into the hotel and was given the inevitable instructions that Bikey had to live out in the bike garage. The woman was “nicht so freundlich” so I took her garage key and pretended to take Bikey there. As I left the reception, a man walked in and started talking to her. Again, I saw the chance and had to take it. I grabbed Bikey and headed up a couple of stairs so we were out of her view, then I left Bikey, took off my shoes and legged it up the stairs and down the corridor to my room. Once inside I dropped my shoes, bag, helmet and anything else I was carrying then sprinted back down the hallway and stairs; prayed the woman was still preoccupied with her new customer, grabbed Bikey and made it back up the stairs. Phew. I was in the clear. Or so I thought. As I was dashing down the corridor, a cleaner came towards me. Oh god. She’s not going to like a bike in her clean bedrooms. She trundled past with her trolley and I just waited patiently before darting in my room and parking Bikey up, trying to hide him from the view of the door, just in case my new friend came a-knocking…
It was still early so I went out into Deggendorf. I actually did a 20 minute run, as thats the whole point of making it to Vienna: so I can run Kipchoges route. However, I’ve been out of running, injured for months and as my injury now seems to be better, I thought a little test run would be a good idea. And it was. Just over two miles and no pain at all!
As we are getting so close to Vienna now, I’ve been thinking about what it will be like on that last day and when I finally reach the city. It reminds me a lot of the time I cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats, in 2016. It’s literally the same distance and it was such a great achievement. Because of that, I rewatched the documentary I was part of, this evening. I’ve left the link below if you would like to as well. I highly recommend it, it’s a very inspiring film and you get to see my baby-faced hamster cheeks too!
713 miles down…283 miles to go!