Unfinished

Back from the GST. Had a great five days full of diversity of every kind. There has been extensive sun and a little rain, endless flat streches, steep climbs, fast and long downhills, pain and satisfaction, dirt, grass, tarmac, bushes, swamps, creek crossings, woods .. and patrol roads.

Consisting most of the times of 2 perforated concrete strips, more or less overgrown and more or less embedded into the ground, they create a very special riding experience. And they didn’t want me to finish. Quite halfway (about 600 km) my wheel slipped off one of those strips during a downhill and unfortunatley the middle strip turned out to be more of a trench, which made it quite a task to get it back on top of the strip. I failed and went straight into the rose bushes. My right pedal meanwhile decided to not let go off my foot and I twisted my knee. Since then I could use only half of my legs power without pain. I went on for about another 20 km but my knee did feel more and more like having a 2 day break. As I have already been a bit slower than expected and my holidays are limited I then decided to let it go and cancel the tour at this point. Which is ok, but makes me a little sad as it felt like I would have made it to the finish line otherwise.

Have been pleased to ride the Pugsley intensively over a long distance. Gear and bike all worked fine though I had a lot of flats. But that was my fault as I put in some lightweight Schwalbe 13F tubes to save some weight over the original Surly Toobs. Maybe I should have added some sealant. Other than this – no technical issues. The weight still is one ..

Day 1 was flat as a pancake, kind of boring and I made 175 km. Set up my tent on a soccer clubs ground. Nice mown grass and a water tap on the outside of the club house. On day 2 physical fitness has been decreased a little, terrain got more interesting, I rode about 145 km and pitched my tent behind a firefighter garage in a small village. Mown grass there as well but no water for cleaning. Day 3 has been the toughest. Hottest day this year with 35 °C in the shades and the track beeing 80 % endless farm tracks between the fields with little to no shadow. I’ve been on a constant search for a possibility to refill my bottles. Also direct sun and my body seem to be not the best friends. 90 km on that only. Decided to take a room in a hostel nearby to get rid of the days sweat and sunscreen and get some decent sleep. On day 4 I caught up some of the other guys resp. the other way round and we more or less rode together or met now and then. In the end we found ourselves together on top of the Brocken, had a warm meal and went on to a subpeak where we found a building with a porch big enough for all of us. After I while though me and 2 other guy pitched theyre tents as the bugs dicovered their thirst for our blood. 115 km on that day. On day 5 we mainly stayed together until my crash. They rode on and I went for the next train station wich was a final 90 km.

All in all it has been a pleasure! Great area to ride and big thanks to all the track scouts – nothing better than riding with a track in your GPS! There have been some fantastic trails and forgive me if I didn’t find them all. Some were really well hidden and I guess most of the times my detour has been way more exhausting than the intended trail.

Maybe next year again but most likely with a lighter bike. Guess the Krampus could be the ultimate bike for this tour.

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4 thoughts on “Unfinished

  1. Thought you said you didn’t manage to take too many pictures (-;

    Looks like an awesome ride, historically and geographically. The Pugs look ideal for those tank tracks!

    1. Actually I really didn’t .. It was just so many pictures that needed to be shown. ^^

      Yes, can absolutely recommend it! Fat tires are not that super advantage on tank tracks but for the sandy stretches, and there have been some. Also, you have to get that thing up the 30% climbs. Guess next time I would go for a lighter bike ..

  2. Andi, I’m writing a piece on bikepacking. Can you tell me how long the route is/start/end points/how many it takes to tour (not race) and anything about it briefly? I just need a sentence or two as an overview, but can’t find anything in English online. Thanks!

  3. Have a look over here: http://overnighter.de/gst/
    Scroll down to the bottom; there’s some english links. The first one (2009) may answer your questions. As it says, around 1300 km. Will take a decent rider about 10 days, racing about 7, riding comfortable maybe 12+ days. Start is at Travemünde, finish at the Czech border near Hof. First half is quite flat until you reach the Harz Mountains and cross the Brocken, it’s highest peak. From there on it’s an endless up and down. Almost all of the 18000 m (?) of climbing is in this second part. Nature is beautiful, varying from flat, sandy, pine and birch tree vegetated streches to almost alpine like areas and deep forests. Even quite remote sometimes. The route is really nice, lots of tank tracks though. For riding this as a bikepacking tour, I definitely would alter the track to spare some of ’em. It takes you to interesting places as well, so it should still be part on the other hand. Vegetation been tough so it was hard to find the track sometimes. Aweful lot of ticks and mosquitos, so you get the full program.
    Don’t know what else to say at the moment, maybe contact Gunnar himself (gf[at]overnighter[dot]de) and ask him what you’d like to know.

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