Would a straighforward day be too much to hope for?
The signs were good as I set out.
I made a quick stop at German Corner where the Mosel meets the Rhine, being extra careful to take the right waterway on this occasion.
I wearing totally clean clothes having managed to get my laundry done, it was a nice cool morning and I was rested and relaxed. What could go wrong?
On paper nothing, but as I approached the end of the first two hours ride I suddenly started to feel very weak. 10 minutes later I had to pull up as all my energy had gone.
I was slightly aware of only having had a light evening meal and a roll for breakfast while washing my clothes (rather than the usual plate of bread and cheeses) so deployed a tactical portion of emergency Haribo Gold Bears.
They didn’t work.
The lift only lasted 5 minutes, before I had to pull over again at a Gasthouse for a much longer than usual lunch break and a large lunch with a couple of half litre cokes (purely for medicinal purposes). I was still feeling a bit shaky, but managed to push on for another hour after lunch before I had to stop again.
At this stage I was fearing a case of food poisoning.
It was time to look for another solution and I focused on getting as much water inside me as possible.
The effect was almost immediate, and whereas I had laboured through the first 40km in 3hrs, back on form I was able to complete the remaining 64km to Cologne in the same time.
I’d struggled a bit with hydration for the first couple of days, and I think I’d got a bit complacent after having no problems for the last few days and it had just caught up with me.
I arrived in Cologne to find half the city out enjoying the sunshine along the banks of the Rhine, lying on the grass, eating and drinking in cafe’s with street performers and skateboarders providing the entertainment.
I was looking forward to my rest day, and keen to get out and explore what looks like a great city.
Time, 7hrs 20mins (6hrs ride time)
Total distance so far, 1276km
If I look at the original intended distance, I should almost be done by now. However there is still another 380km of ‘official’ route to go, which I hope to complete in 3-4 days once I recommence.
The main gremlin is the extra kms caused by route errors, but I also think that the official distance is mis-stated on the website. It should probably be pointed out that EV15 isn’t an official end-to-end route until 2013, so I imagine there will be some revisions when it goes live.
Where I can I am using stated distances on official signed cycle routes which invariably add up to more than the official EV15 distance for a leg. I’m adding in distances from mission control, and estimates based on ride time where I need to.
I went out and enjoyed Cologne, and took the time to do some shopping the next day.
Finally I had a pair of trainers that didn’t stink.
I was also in the market for nail clippers. I can’t remember the last time I bought any in the UK, but surely they don’t start at 15 quid? Having conducted extensive research I concluded that they do in Cologne. Not only that, but they are rubbish and I haven’t used them since.
After sampling the Kolsche, I sorted the blog out and got an early night in anticipation of (for once) making an early start the next morning.
Little did I know how much I would need it.