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.