October 16: The cream, the castle climb, the cobble stones, the heat. The puncture. 

I’m getting some serious rash from riding. The cream I’m using to survive the rash is the excellent cream for infants that I got from my sister. 

Today’s ride was quite eventful. We started off with a pretty serious climb up to the Bernburg Castle. The first actual climb on this trip. We then entered the cycling trail, with the aim to ride 112 km to Wernigerode where we got an awesome deal at a hotel.

We rode through various landscapes such as forest trails, cobble stones, muddy off-roads and some gorgeous gravel. 

We got more and more elevation and the trail became more and more remote. As we rode through vast fields at midday, the heat was up to 26 degrees. There was no wind.

We got onto a gravel section, slightly uphill, and I got into a meditative state. I laughed from the excitement of the gravel grinding. We went down, and as we turned left, I felt the familiar numbness of the steering bars: puncture. 

We fixed the puncture and managed to lose a spring. I put on a spare one. The puncture had stolen 30 precious minutes from our schedule and I started to feel sunstroke. Or heatstroke.

We decided to cut off 10 km from the trail by going on an ordinary road. Paved. Windy. Straight. My legs were dead. I hardly pedalled.

Back on the trail, they were revived. We once again had oxygen, trees and leaves around us. We went uphill and downhill on bumpy forest trails.

My front panniers had felt funny for a while and we realized they were lose. Forest helped me tighten the quick release and we took off again.

It was getting dark. We went uphill on small forest trails. We put lamps on, we had a bite of nut bar, and realized we had 20 more km to go.

We lost the signs for the route. A few German ladies attempted to make us understand German and we made it to a small road from where we’d find the way. 

Dark. No wind. Warm. 

It was actually quite perfect conditions. The paving was smooth, we had water, we had batteries on the phone, good lamps, extra tube. Perfect warm but enough chilled temperature. We had everything! 

(One thing I’ve learnt so far is that once there is a place for lunch, seize it. We didn’t do that today, and had lunch outside a grocery store at 4 o’clock. Luckily, we managed to refill our water bottles at a tourist information.)

So we went up to the hotel, where our booking had been cancelled due to our late check in, but was put on a different room with free breakfast.

118 km today.

All good.

Again. 

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