My glutes and quads are sore. But not as sore as my nose. The dry, cold air is biting my sinuses.
The landscape here is wintery bleak. Even from the warmth of the car, the pale grey sky with the slither of cold yellow sun makes me shiver. The sky is a low hanging ceiling, familiar and different. Australian grand open skies never look like this.
The jet lag is not exactly over, yet, and we already rode over 200km on the new bikes, spread over three days, three rides.
The first ride was a short 40 km exploratory dash, along one of the lakes and to a bike shop in a village 20km from here. Last October I stopped there on one of my lonely excursions just to pump my tires. The mechanic looked familiar. A few years earlier I had bought a Nalini jersey for Alberto from him. That was in a different bike shop in Senftenberg. After so many years he remembered me buying the jersey because I had made him try it on for sizing.
Mario adjusted my saddle, as well as pumping my tires, and we chatted and swapped numbers. There was the idea to maybe get a little bunch ride organised for me but because he was a new dad and time was limited, we never got to get out for that ride in October.
This time, it worked out. Sunday, Alberto, Mario and I met at the Lausitzring, the new Eurospeedway, and rolled north towards the Spreewald, but not without one last quick stop at Mario’s house to top up our clothing: glove liners for me and over shoes for Mario. It was nine degrees Celsius but it felt like three.
The ride took us along bike paths with pine trees, planted in long straight rows to each side. Then the forest opened up to bare empty fields, waiting for plow and plough to do their thing so they could get rid of their grey barren look and green again.
Little villages appeared on the horizon, church towers grew taller as we came closer and then disappeared again behind us in the distance. There were lakes still carrying the melting layers of ice. The icy winds justified Alberto’s balaclava and Mario assured us that this was so much warmer than the freezing cold grip of the minus 20C less than three weeks ago.
Our destination was a fortress of slavic tribes who settled in the area around 800 A.D. While we were speeding along smooth bitumes bike paths, dreaming of hot chocolate, I pictured stone age humans, barely clad in wolves skin rugs, running across these wide open yellow grass lands in search of food and warmth.
The little tourist cafe was still closed. We pressed on, to a slightly bigger township 25 km further, in hope to find a pre-seasonal “Kaffeehaus” ready for business.
By the time we arrived back home at my parent’s place, the Garmin showed 112 km. On top of the 86km to Kamenz the previous day, I knew I needed a rest day… and lots of baked goods.
The sun is out, the sky is blue, once again deceiving us with the promise of perfect riding weather while the thermometer mercury barely climbs above zero. My legs have recovered a little after yesterday’s rest day, and I’m looking forward to take Alberto on yet another ride through quaint little Brandenburg villages this afternoon.
But first we have to get Alberto’s visa organised and there is also some Motorhome shopping to be done…