Apr 252015
 
Friday 24 to Sunday 26: Testing my gear on a two-night 180 km hilly trip from home to Winterberg and back. That was the plan. Now I'm back home and it's only Saturday afternoon. The last two weeks we've had wonderful dry weather and I was really looking forward to my first fully loaded test run over two and a half days with my complete gear for the big tour. I knew beforehand that there is a difference between doing two 25km-runs daily with one or two partly loaded panniers for work, carrying my work materials and a spare set of clothing on the one hand and two consecutive days on a fully loaded touring bike doing over a hundred kms per day on the other. Well, I have to do several of those trials before setting off to Canada! Unfortunately my work schedule will only allow me a maximum of four tours with more than one camping night.... So I set out on Friday afternoon after work after checking the weather forecast - it was disappointing! For the first time in two weeks the weather was about to change due to a massive low-pressure airmass coming in from over the Atlantic. On Saturday it was predicted to hit the area I was travelling in. My first leg was to be rather short, only 70 kms to a campsite near Iserlohn on my way east into the midrange mountains of the "Sauerland" with my destination being the highest point in that region, Winterberg (which even in late April honors its name) at 1000 m. I did this same tour twice last year so I wasn't expecting surprises. There were a lot of firsts on this short trip. At the campsite I fiddled with my new tent (described in a previous post) longer than expected and it really isn't all that easy to set up. But once it was, it was a real pleasure to use, especially for its headroom - my previous tent only had 90 centimeters .... I even found out when I woke up in the dark of night that the zipper handles glowed in the dark! I used my new gas cooker for the first time and had a fright: When I put on the pot to cook my pasta, it almost capsized: I had forgotten to unfold one  of the four supporting legs - to my excuse I can only say it was already quite dark ...  Another rather pleasant experience was to find out that my new down sleeping bag superceded my expectations. Warm at two degrees during the night and very small when packed! My previous experiences when touring had taught me to expect under an hour between waking and setting off with a quick breakfast of cold muesli but without coffee - and sometimes I went off without any breakfast, relying on the next coffee shop or bakery, usually after an hour's riding. This morning was different. The night before I had cooked, cleaned up but left the kitchen items outside because I wanted to use them for breakfast. Altogether I needed 90 minutes to pack up - I guess  I was a bit clumsy and uncertain about the packing process which is definitely a good reason for more "practice" tours. Then the weather forecast turned really nasty: My destination was to have rain at one degree above freezing with a strong westerly wind. Knowing the area I knew this would be no pleasure at all so I decided to head back home, but not on the route I came, which was the shortest but with the most hills. I went back the long way, only an (added) 450 meters up. Then the rain started and my rain jacket didn't prevent me from getting thoroughly wet. I left camp at 8:00 and got home at four which makes 8 hours for 110 km with an hour spent with my old friends from canoe racing at their spring regatta at the lake,  a total of 7 hours in the saddle. I'll have to repeat the experience and find a solution to another little problem that turned up: If I connect my phone to the power system to keep it charged, the radio reception deteriorates badly - I couldn't follow the football anymore! 😉 See the map after the pictures ...  
My steepest road so far ... which I managed to climb!

My steepest road so far ... which I managed to climb!

Anticipation for my pasta

Anticipation for my pasta

Difficult cooking in the dark - I got out my headlamp.

Difficult cooking in the dark - I got out my headlamp.

 
Pasta with fried onions, half a carrot and 50 gr of smoked salmon

Pasta with fried onions, half a carrot and 50 gr of smoked salmon

 
In the morning ...

In the morning ...

No sun, but looking ahead to a long ride home

No sun, but looking ahead to a long ride home

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Crossing the Ruhr at "Wetter" - the word derives from a miner's term for gas collceting inside a mine - quite frightening concept ...

Crossing the Ruhr at "Wetter" - the word derives from a miner's term for gas collecting inside a mine - quite frightening concept ...

 
The ruins of a 15th century castle (Hardenstein)

The ruins of a 15th century castle (Hardenstein)

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A ferry across the Ruhr - you only pay what you think the crossing is worth.

A ferry across the Ruhr - you only pay what you think the crossing is worth.

At Lake Baldeney it's time for canoo racing - rather winter than spring!

At Lake Baldeney it's time for canoe racing - rather winter than spring!

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 Posted by at 4:42 PM

  2 Responses to “Aborted First Gear Test”

  1. Great to see the weekend blog. Sorry the weather was rubbish for you. Not long now! Counting down the days in the work diary…

  2. Getting ready is fun!

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