I arrived in Berlin on an emotional low after having dealt with the bike ordeal in Helsinki. Soon the memory was wiped away by the stunning and interesting city of Berlin. I think I had some of the best weather during my stay. With warm sun and a picturesque park to lay down in and soak up the beautiful park close to my Hostel.
I was a bit lost and unsure with what I was going to do in Berlin because I had planned to ride out by some trails I had discovered in my google searches. So I signed up to a few guided tours and see the sights that were to be seen. Best idea I had and is a great rule of thumb for any travelers that are heading overseas and have a few uncertainties with the places they are going. Find guided tours. They are sometimes free!
In these guided tours learnt a lot about Berlin and all the politics and war behind it. It felt like I knew the city a little better even though I felt out of place. During these informative tours I met some Australians on the guided tours and they suggested that we go out and see the awesome clubs Berlin has to offer, since the guide had suggested many places to go visit, some of those places being some well know clubs.
So Berlin, is fairly awesome (really awesome). The guys I met on the tour and myself went to some famous clubs and some really chilled places. No other place parties like Berlin does. The city never sleeps and the city knows how to have a good time. The music and the people were just down right awesome. There isn’t much else I should say besides seeing and hearing some awesome things in these clubs.
I was getting fairly tired by 6 in the morning so I made my leave and headed back to my hostel, flunked into bed and fell asleep almost instantly. Only to wake up 4hrs later with a headache that felt as if someone was dropping boulders on my skill whilst kicking my guts. Not only that but my mouth was watering up as it does when it wants of vomit so I couldn’t sleep because my mouth would just fill up with spit – yes I know it was gross.
I felt like death for 4-5hrs in this shared hostel room. My body was overheating and I felt a little distressed. I am so glad no one was in the room when I was going through this painful experience. I was written off for the next 3 days right up until I had to leave. This was a great strategy to keep my weight down whilst traveling without a bike. So, it’s not recommended, but if you need to lose a couple or more kilograms fast. Get gastro!
I recovered enough in time for my departure by train to Denmark. That was a fun 7hr train trip…
Sunday was an actual MTB ride.
We headed into Pinerolo to meet up with some friends of Liz’. Liz is who I am staying with in Mazze’ in Italy. We had to drive up and over Sestriere and down into a valley where we pulled up to a huge mountain glaring down upon us.
The people who we were riding with said it was about a 3hr ride. Roughly 2hrs up and 1hr down the other side. So we set off cruising with the group for about, 30 seconds when Alex and I rode off at our own pace which was about… four times their pace.
This was a solid climb with sections reaching 18% with a 8% minimum on the whole climb. We hit the top at 54min and waited… and waited. Not realising I was getting toasted by the sun because it was really really cool up onto of this ridge.
Whilst Alex and I were waiting we were sitting down, looking down into the valley where we rode from when this huge March fly landed on my leg and bit me. Semi-shocked, I whirled my hand down onto of it. Missing it. But what I had forgotten was my point and shoot camera was attached to my wrist and it followed my hand and swung straight into a rock, Now the lens won’t retract and I can’t take pictures. Now I have to venture into Turin to see if it is fixable. Bugger.
When everyone arrived we hung around at the top with the other riders taking pictures. I tucked my camera back into it’s case and they showed us the track heading down the hill that we were taking. It was steep narrow and looked like a hell of a lot of fun.
I jumped onto my bike and stormed down. Flicking my back wheel around corners and expecting the unexpected. About a third of the way down I couldn’t pedal so I stopped. My chain had over lapped it self. So I unkinked it. But it had already damaged it self with bent links. I have only done about 100km on this chain. Brand spanking new chain pretty much and now it is trashed. Luckily I have a spare chain but it is a bit a bummer having to use it so early in the trip. Things are going up and down at a serious speed on this trip.
Oh well, could be worse. I am still feeling 100% besides a little bit of sunburn and a little back pain. Nothing like a bit of sunscreen and stretching can’t fix.
I would be uploading more photos to the blog but I am using a friend pocket wifi internet and I don’t want to use it all up. So only text posts for now. But here is a link to one of the guys facebook group that we rode with. https://www.facebook.com/bicibikers/photos
On Wednesday I was referred to a bike shop in Ivera to get my wheel looked at and repaired. There was a nice squiggly looking climb on the map a little way away form it towards the mountains. Alex and I decided to do our training on it that day.
The climb it self was extremely nice, one of the nicest climbs I have ever ridden. It was about 10-13km or smooth 4-8% climb and I had found this easy rhythm. I felt as if I was spinning like Froome, yet in awe of the mountains and valley that we were ascend up and over. Although on the climb, Alex didn’t fair so well. He was still finding his legs after his LONG flight. (he arrived about 12hrs after I did on Monday).
Once we reached the top where a town was, I showed interest on climbing up further through the town and up the hill side along narrow roads and this percentage was very steep compared to the climb we had just rode. We pushed on and the road just went on and on and on! We reached a point and thought we shouldn’t kill our selfs and turned back around.
I had ridden the puff out of Alex on the climb but he wiped me off the board on the descent. I hadn’t seen anyone descend so fast and balanced. Cornering like a pro and I was cornering like a Schleck.
After our ride we shot off to the bike shop and booked in the bike. After some time of trying to explain what was wrong and when we should come back. We had a lot of help of a friendly Italian man who spoked english did some translation for us. We had some of the best Pizza in Ivera, seeing a very old Yeti still looking sexy as ever.
I have limited internet so stay tuned for more!