08 June 2010

Lower Saxony Asparagus Route

Did I ever wrote anything bad about the weather in Bremen? Blue skies and temperatures of 25 degrees on the weekend plus let me forget all things said previously....not. On Saturday I made a short 50 km trip on the embankments of the river Wümme through the lovely Wümmewiesen West of Bremen. It is quite nice to draft behind fast roller skaters which are plentiful in Germany. That left me fresh enough to attend the POETRY ON THE ROAD literature festival in the evening with my cute and charming landlord. I was blown away by Serhin Zhadan, an Ukrainian author who has written books with such stimulating titles as "Anarchy in the UKR" and "Hymn of the Democratic Youth". Seriously, he was good.

One more glas of Montepulciano let me wake up only at 10 AM, but hey, who cares, it is summertime in Germany and the sun settles at 10 PM. There is still plenty of time to have a good breakfast, check the web, write some correspondence, select the color of socks to match with the bib shorts (NFCC bib short and red socks with some white filaments) and neverthless do a 200 km ride. And upon homeconing one can take a shower and go to bed immediately. Perfect, but only for less than six months every year.

I rode on my bike and I was ... fast. Was it, because the weather was perfect and I was riding down a slight hill? No, of course not such obvious explanation. It was because the previous day I went shopping to bicycle Stadler and bought a brand new carbon sattle post for my Cervelo. A beauty. Light as a feather. Much lighter than the old carbon one. It made up for all the weight I have gained in the meantime in Germany, I am sure. And it only cost 200 Euros. A bargain. That was at least what I was thinking when I left the shop and have spoken with the very able salesclerk. When I woke up on Saturday I was thinking what A stupid idiot I was to spend that amount of money and how to explain to my wife.


So I started my exploration of lower saxony by riding South along the river Weser in the blistering heat under the sun. There were quite some bicycle riders on the embankment and the combinatin of lots of traffic plus cobblestones led me away to the country roads. Most of them have bike pathes separated by lines of trees from the road. There is few traffic anyway but the bike pathes are in good shape and the riding can be fast there nevertheless. I continued through lovery villages such as Riede, Emtinghausen, Martfeld and Hoya, I am sure, everybody has heard about by now. Further to the South one rides on the Lower Saxony Asaparagus Route which consists of harvested asparagus paddies to the left and to the right as far as one can see. But I am sure it is quite beautiful in spring, when the asapargus fruits are showing their head boldly above ground and the asparagus blossoms are twirling in the air.

This was followed by the Lower Saxony Renaissance Route which basically consists of paddies of another kind to the right and to the left as far as one can see. There are zero moutains, it is almost as if somebody had flattened the landscape by using a gigantic razorblade recently.

I made breaks at the gas stands which today have a quite impressive sortiment of sweets. Imagine a convinience store where you take everything away except the choclate bars, soft drinks and beer. Now enlarge this offering by the factor 20 and you have the picture. Virtually 100 of different sweets and enough sugar to send the population of a mid-size retirement home into a never ending diabetis melitus delirium - but hardly a single gramm of carbonhydrates. No, I am not joking.

Bücken, Marklohe, Lemke, Stolzenau, Loccum... finally after riding for more than 70 km there was one climb of about 20 meters perhaps. By now I have almost made it to the famous Steinhude Sea, the biggest German domestic lake in the North.

Hm. That was not as impressive as, for example Yamanakako, besides the surroundings were cluttered by mobile homes, many Russians and bored teenagers. So I did spend much time there and continued to ride to Neustadt am Rübenberge ("Newtown at the beets mountain").

I came accross an air force basis at Himmelreich (Kingdom of Heaven), went right through the village of Wenden (turn around) and made it to the town of Rethem when I took the next break after about 160 km. I still had about 60 or 70 kms to go to Bremen.

After spending the whole day in the sun, having a terrible sun burn and never thinking once about the weather, it started to drizzle. I had no spare clothing with me, so I decided to do what reasonable cyclsits do in this situation: To ignore the weather and to continue on the road home as fast as possible. That went well until Westen (in the West), but now there was also lighting and thunder and when I started to count the lap between the Lighting and the thunder I ended on the letter "N". Of the word "ONE". So I decided to take a break at a gas stand and wait until the worse is over.

Luckily I know from my engineering studies, hydrology course that the R15 n=1 rain in Germany (a rain of 15 minutes duration which happens once a year) is the common standard for design of floodwater drains; in other words: Every rain that is shorter will be more intensive, every rain that is longer less intensive. Shorter less intensive rains do not happen that often; the same is true for longer intensive rains. So? Statistically speaking you have to wait for 15 minutes until you can proceed. Unless you are very unlucky. Understood? My neither, but it helps to think about while passing the time freezing in the rain at a gas stand, I can tell you.

And iot worked. After 15 minutes I left and by now it was dry and I made it to the town of Verden, from which I took the train to Bremen. Of course, this being Sunday and in th eveneing I had to wait 40 minutes for a train to arrive. And I was lucky, because this train, for a change was on time. So I was home. By the way, this is my new home.
At 10 PM I was home, freezing, got out of my wet clothes, took a shower, went to sleep and went to work the next morning. A perfect day. Almost.

4 comments:

David L. said...

Michael:

The house looks great, the path with the roller skater looks very nice (the ratio of path to people must be about 50X what we experience during a typical day on the Tamagawa, or better, and the roller skater doesn't look so bad either).

And most important, the seat post on your bicycle looks fantastic. It was especially thoughtful of them to make it grey, rather than the typical black carbon weave, just so it would match your frame. As for what to tell your wife about the cost, I would think "they told me I needed a Cervelo carbon frame, which was 2500 euros, but I figured out that if I just got a 200 euro carbon seatpost I could get 90% of the vibration damping benefits, plus [insert mumbo jumbo about aluminum stress fractures leading to catastrophic failures that can be prevented with the extra vibration damping], and that will allow me keep using the aluminum frame for at least another six months." Whenever possible, use an explanation that sets you up to get a new bike next Spring.

mob said...

David,

Thanks. If the weather is nice Bremen can be quite nice. I have no significant complains about my life here, except for the complete lack of mountains. That might have an impact on my Transalp 2011 performance I am afraid.

On the other side I am very happy with the new seatpost once I have forgotten about the equal significant amount of money I have spend. No more squeaking - just wonderful and (almost) worth any Euro.

I hope you will be back on the bike soon,

Cheers
Michael

Manfred von Holstein said...

David, you got MOB on to something... Called him yesterday to find out he was already dreaming of his next new bike... but admitted with the new seat post on his Cervelo, there was really no longer a rational need...

All going well, we may be able to do a bit of a hill work-out boot camp in southern Germany next week. It's still a year to the race, but better for him to start early...

TOM said...

"Whenever possible, use an explanation that sets you up to get a new bike next Spring"...brilliant David! I should try the same...haha!

Nice & stately place you found yourself there MOB. Hope you & Ludwig can connect for a ride over there.