Day 21 Monday 13th June 2016 – Regensburg to Hirten 161 km (2015km in total)
WOW! What a day, I never thought I’d manage to do this!
Last night when I was plotting the route for today, I couldn’t find any accomodation around the halfway mark between Regensburg and Salzburg. There were hardly any campsites and I decided against the nudist campsite 30km away! I had contacted Elizabeth, a host on Warmshowers but they were 150km away.
However, once I was woken up just after 6am by the German also staying in the dorm, I thought ‘what the hell, I can do this!’ It looked quite a hilly route but I thought if I left early enough, I could have a chance of making it. In my head I was counting the potential number of hours I had to ride, around 12, plenty!
I tried to make the most of my free breakfast, with two servings of cereal, two boiled egg, two cups of coffee and a bread roll. Also sneakily making two sandwiches for the road.
As I was getting ready to leave, the German from my dorm was still folding his clothes up, even after waking up at 6! He was carefully packing everything into one very small pannier. I just shoved mine into a compression bag, although I must admit I’m happy to wear crinkled and squashed up clothes.
Leaving earlier then normal felt like I was flying along. I must point out, that going full continental style and to fit in, I decided to change from miles to kilometres at last. Mainly so it means that I don’t have to convert all the signs back into miles. It also helps with motovation, the kilometres seem to tick passed much quicker!
On the subject of fitting in, I saw an abandoned German flag, left over from last nights German vs Ukraine football match. Looking like it needed a home, with the help of some zip ties, I attached the flag to the back of my bike. Cars would now give me plenty of space, especially if they thought I was a German supporter. I doubt this helps when I can’t really say a word of German!
The day had started dry but soon the drizzle came. Hoping this would be it, I peddled on. However soon the clouds got darker again and the thunder and lighting started. It was just time for lunch and I saw a small forest with benches under, perfect! Thinking this would keep me dry, I sat down and commenced lunch.
However, as the rain got heavier and heavier, it soon started to pour through the leaves of the trees. Everything got wet within minutes, including cheese and bread!
The rain did mean that I only stopped for 10 minutes, before heading onwards, hoping it would soon by dry. After all, I still wasn’t quite halfway with still 80km left. Luckily the thunder stopped and the rain turned back into a drizzle.
I was about to celebrate reaching the halfway mark, when I came across a road closure sign. The road over the motorway was closed. Either I had to do a 10km detour on roads or a shorter but rougher farm track that was only added 5km on to the already long day. Opting for the shorter route, after a bumpy ride with plenty of wet grass whipping against my legs, I was soon back on track.
The sun was back out again now, so I could concentrate on the ride. The roads where flattening out and the speed picked up. I could see the garmin slowly running out of battery but hadn’t wanted to recharge it in the rain. However, when I did, nothing happened. It was now on 3% battery and still had 50km left. All my attempts, including connecting it to my battery pack and tablet all failed and I was left with my map. I was so glad I had decided to buy it now!
I could feel I was getting close, but with hardly any breaks and having cycled pretty much non stop for the last eight hours, my legs started to become stubborn and turned the peddles slower. Even when I thought “shut up legs and do what I tell you” (from Jens Voigt).
10km away and the heavens opened again, geting dark and thunder rumbled. Come on I thought, can’t you hold off just for half an hour? It didn’t.
Arriving at Markus’s house was very welcoming and I’m pleased to say my shoes filled with plastic bags worked a treat, leaving my feet nice and dry. I had finally arrived, after a day I’ll never foget. It was one of my longest days on the bike, both in distance and time. Nearly 11 hours solid and 160 km. My first ‘century’ (100miles) on a bike fully laden with five panniers.
The house was newly built and almost a Passivhaus style, with plenty of wooden beams and floors. It felt more like a hotel to me! I was given my own bed and a wonderful meal by Markus. He was very knowledgeable and knew lots of fascinating infomation, but then again, he is a school teacher.
After a quick look at his giant wonderful African Snails, I felt myself falling asleep even before I hit the pillow. I knew the hard work had been done and was hoping for a more relaxed day cycling into Salzburg tomorrow.