It was a profitable day. For the first time in several weeks I woke up this morning with all the symptoms of a head cold, apparently a very common problem in Fall in Germany. I had organized myself enough yesterday that I spent part of the morning putting up the last of my pictures in the apartment. Previously, while living in Washington, DC, I had a nice big empty wall and, inspired by a collection of Indian paintings at the Renwick Gallery, I arranged all my cycling posters/certificates/cowbells to occupy all that space. One of my friends referred to it as "the Shrine." In Ottawa I did not have any suitable space so all the framed pictures stayed in boxes for three years. They have now been liberated as the Shrine has been reconstructed in D'dorf.
I did not have much time to admire my handiwork as Richard, he of Ricci-Sport, gave me a call. The weather was good enough (that is, not raining for once) so that we were able to go for a ride together. I met him at the shop at 11:30 and we headed out together. He had a different bicycle as his admirable silver Ricci singlespeed, which I had tried out a few weeks ago, had been stolen yesterday. He put together another bike to ride today, so off we went.
Richard is proud of the courses he has worked out in the area and today's was impressive: we live in the most densely-populated corner of Germany and yet almost all of the ride was on roads with no traffic, taking us past farms and through quiet valleys. The course was challenging as it includes some very difficult little hills. I actually had to walk up a piece of one. The 17% grade was hard enough but I lost all my traction on the rear wheel due to the wet leaves. He is also proud of the fact that we were never more than half an hour from the city, although our course was nearly 60 kms.
I did not feel 100% and climbing with a head cold is not easy as the increasing blood pressure tends to make your face hurt but I could not keep up to Richard anyway, even on my Marinoni which has a triple. How he can ride this course on a singlespeed is beyond me, although I think that in one or two spots he would have been happy to have some extra gears. He tells me that if I ride this course often enough I will have the legs and stamina for L'Eroica next October and I do not doubt it. And I hope that my weight will drop enough to make climbing hurt less!
We rolled back through Gerresheim and then back to Grafenberg, where it was time for coffee and cake at a little Konditorei I had noticed a while back since not a lot is open on Sunday. It was a delightful ride, although with 819 meters of climbing in 57.61 kms, I suspect I will sleep well tonight.
Unfortunately, it was too grey and nasty for photography but it was a joy to ride though the autumn colours. Perhaps not as impressive as what I would see in Ottawa but since there is snow there already I will not complain. Although the bike is filthy...