Tuesday 21 August 2012

A Sauerland Diversion

The rolling hills of the Sauerland
On Saturday Tom, Rudiger and I piled into the team Fiesta and went east for an hour to the city of Hagen for the local club's RTF (Radtourenfahrt), a typical organized club ride in Germany.  As usual, the event was superbly organized, with a super-quick registration, excellent route signs and sufficient food stops.  The weather was ideal, if a little on the hot side, and we had a marvellous time riding through the hilly countryside on the western side of Nordrhein-Wesfalen's Sauerland area.  I enjoyed my first ride in the Sauerland last Fall, when Dr. Chef and I did the 90 km Sauerlandradring, a truly memorable ride.
The RTF riders underway

The hill at Km. 75, warning of a maximum grade of 10% and
 saying we should envy cyclists riding triple chainrings!

The scenery was marvellous but after our second food stop I realized that my legs were just not up to our planned 153 km route.  I had not been out on a bike since July 21 but still...it was disappointing to turn off and follow the 113 km route as Tom and Rudiger bravely continued onwards.  In the end, I made the right decision as I had terrible cramp attacks several times en route and had to get off the bike more than once to work out the spasms.  I was taking care to drink a lot so I am not sure why the cramps were so extreme.  At least I had some opportunities to take a few photos.

After staggering back to the elaborate sports centre after completing my ride and its 1500 m of climbing, I was able to enjoy a good cold shower and a few beers as I waited for the return of the others who arrived pretty quickly considering their extra 40 kms and 700 m of vertical gain.

We were all impressed by the region and will surely return as it has promoted itself as a cycling region but I hope that the kinks in my calf muscles and adductors will be long gone by then!

 Burg Altena was constructed in the 12th Century and in 1911 became the home of the world's first Youth Hostel, which is still functioning.  Just below the castle is the German Wire Museum.  Cable was an important industrial product in the region for many years.

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