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Dresden, Prague, cold, and exhausted…

April11

After Berlin, we headed to Dresden Germany for a week, and then to Prague for a week.

I forgot to mention our valiant steed that is powering this journey. We are driving a Ford Tournen Connect (which I LOVE). It is quiet, has great gas mileage, super smooth driving, has huge windows, is great for a tall person, and the seats are upright and keep my back happy. The bike rack setup is not optimal, but everything else is well done.

I haven’t been to Dresden since my German high school trip in 1998. I was so busy and burned out that I didn’t do much this trip beyond two long bike rides and a lot of work. I did an amazing forest ride in Dresden which was one of the best rides I’ve done yet. I hope to see more of the city and museums in the future.

After that, we headed to Prague!

I love these pictures of my son. He was super excited to get a jean jacket, it is something he has been asking for for years. And, he def hit some walls on traveling and needs some downtime as well. He had some good times at museums with Lindsey.

 

I am utterly exhausted. My body hit a wall in Prague so I just rested, watched tv/movies, read, and stayed home (a big cold front hit as well). I didn’t do any bike rides and struggled to work past lunch as I couldn’t focus on anything. I walked around the old town one day and Calico and I went to the Natural History Museum which was fun.

We’ve been traveling for 9 weeks to look at possible cities to move to. My son starts school next year so we are trying to figure out where we want to be during this next stage of our lives. My natural state is nomadic so the thought of being in one place is scary :). We’ve visited Montpellier, Karlsruhe, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Dresden, and now Prague. We are now in Graz… and then we are going to a small rural village for a month to breathe and think deep thoughts about surviving in the dark icy sunless north.

Part of our rush for this trip was we found out my wife was pregnant and we wanted to find a home in time to have the baby there. Unfortunately, we found out the pregnancy wasn’t viable 1 week before we were leaving on this trip. So the last 9 weeks have been tough in so many ways.

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Düsseldorf Germany!

March16

Düsseldorf is an incredibly cool city, and we loved it (even more than Karlsruhe). It had the nicest grocery store I’ve ever been in, and we had several rounds of Vietnamese food (so good).

I had some beautiful rides down the Rhine and even took a ferry across on one big ride.

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Karlsruhe Germany!

March2

We are in the midst of a road trip and over the next 6 weeks we are going to explore 4 cities in Germany, then Prague, and finally Graz :). After that we are not sure, but going to take a look while we relax in Graz.

We are in Karlsruhe now and it is amazing. I am always blown away at the biking infrastructure and the attention to detail. It is a little intimidating as everything feels like it just works. We had some really good Syrian food yesterday and Calico is loving the parks (best parks I’ve ever seen). It is much colder than we are used to. Lindsey bought an amazing jacket before we left and we bought a new one for Calico this week.

I’ve gotten a few bike rides in to explore the town, nearby forests, and yesterday I made it to the Rhine!

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Montpellier bike ride!

February22

Montpellier is a beautiful town, I hope to come back when it is a bit warmer. We’ve had a nice stay here this week, and it has been nice to have some bread treats here. It was also cool to see real flamingos out in the water!

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2021 Camino Route Summary

September23

That was a fun ride :)

So how did it all end up?

  • 18 days total with 15 riding and 3 resting. One rest day was unplanned. (compared to 16 days riding on my Burgundy France tour).
  • 836km ridden on this trip (compared to 1,062km on the Burgundy trip).
  • 56 hours of biking over the trip (compared to 52 hours in Burgundy). And, I probably pushed the bike another 4 hours on top of that (especially in the early days of the tour as I was trying to do a hiking track).
  • 10,584 meters climbed… (compared to 2,789 in Burgundy).
  • The average speed was around 15km an hour when riding… (so 9.3 miles an hour).
  • And, I set an all-time record for most altitude in one day, followed by 2nd and 3rd spots as well… (this trip had more altitude than I’ve ever done!)

This ride was fantastic although some of the gradients got on my nerves.

On the Burgundy tour, I was using a rental bike and it was a pleasure to be on my own bike this time. My bike is amazing and I am so happy with it. I didn’t have any flats (lucky) or issues and only had to pump up the back tire a little once (which is good as I don’t like the mini-pump I brought). I am glad I put new tires on it as they are flat resistant and I’ve been super happy with them.

On the Burgundy tour, my seat bruised the shit out of my butt which made riding extra hard, and I was glad to avoid that this time. I had brought my own seat from home that I had worn in, but I didn’t realize that it was not a good seat for the shape of my butt. The only issue I had this time was some lite chaffing around the end of the tour and some petroleum jelly fixed that right up. Always good to finish a tour without pain or issue.

What would I do differently on packing?

  • I should have left the spare battery, headlamp, and paper notebook. I also had too much food in the early days (canned tuna is heavy).
  • Two pairs of socks worked pretty well but I need to bring newer socks (the ones I brought look like a 90-year-old sheep on it’s last days).
  • I could probably get away with one pair of cycling shorts, as they dried overnight every day except one. But, it was nice to have two pairs. And, I like the bibs as they were super comfy. I need to get in the habit of riding without shorts too.
  • Flip-flops would have been nice so I didn’t have to wear my cycling shoes around town at the end of the day. Or some super-light compactable shoes.
  • I need a new rain jacket, I love the one I have but it is 20 years old and the Goretex is gone.
  • I only used the warm pants twice after riding. That said they don’t take up much room and it was nice to have them in case of emergency. I used the 3/4th zip a few times and def needed it.
  • I think the Escape-lite bivy was worth it… I didn’t use it, but if I had wiped out and broken a leg it was nice to know I could climb in there for a night if I got in trouble. Plus it is super small compared to the
  • I hope on a future tour I can leave my laptop at home. It is heavy.
  • I could have dumped one of the athletic shirts if I wanted.
  • I brought a nice pair of shorts and a nice t-shirt. Those were nice to have.
  • Next time bring nail clippers and a razor hippie.

What would I do differently or think about doing differently?

  • I would dump the two front bags, and switch those to water mounts so that I have two water mounts on the outside and one on the inside.
  • I’d like to try to do a tour while staying within Paleo AIP 80% of the time. I think I can maintain my energy with a little planning.
  • I am going to rethink mapping. Komoot was ok but not great. I want to plan my own routes that are more around beautiful rides and history. And, leave me enough energy after the ride to go check out things locally. I’d like to plan out some rides along beautiful routes that also roughly follow some of Napolean’s campaigns, the band of brothers into Europe in WW2, Roman history, Caesar’s campaign in Gaul, or castles on the border of France, or other historic events. I also might plan routes along specific routes like eco via or converted train path that goes xxx km.
  • I really needed a break and it took me about 5 or 6 days to get to that point. That is pretty normal and it is nice to downshift my brain to whatever state that is. I think in the future another option would be to plan a 5 to 7-day ride, then a 5-day rest, and then a 5 to 7-day ride. That works better.

I am not sure how many books I read, but this was a way more intense ride with the altitude so less.

 

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Day 15, 16, 17, and 18 (home) – Camino

September23

These were goregous rides next to the ocean and then on an eco via path up to Viseu along a river. I am really glad I did this route. Much better than tackling the mountains from the other side, as this way I was able to follow an old railroad track which is built with gradual gradients. 

Day 15

This was a long ride, about 96km over 5 hours and 33 minutes (489m in elvation). Total time was 7 hours 30 minutes as I stopped for a long lunch on the seaside.

Day 16

I spent this day in Ovar resting, I seemed to be alergic to chocalate as it always screws up my stomach. I had a late lunch on Day 15 and I had a slice of dessert that has only a little chocolate but enough to mess me up. So my stomach was not happy that night and fine the next day but glad I didn’t push through it as the next ride was pretty hard too.

Day 17

Another long ride, 75km over 4 hours and 54 minutes (646m elevation gain). That said, this was fairly easy as it follows the Ecovia Sever do Vouga and it never hits crazy gradients. I was tired after this one and crashed early. The last 20km was a pretty steady climb.

 

Day 18 (Home)

The rest of the Ecovia Sever do Vouga and about 55km over 3 hours and 41 mintues. Along with 600m of elevation gain. Some rough terrain on the path at some parts, but always fun. It was a little rainy today but luckily nothing more than getting spit on.

 

Pictures…

Notes…

  • I saw a fox! That is the first real wildlife I’ve seen in Portugal (which is weird as I ride a lot but I guess a lot of people around). It was a big fox and popped out of a cornfield as I was riding by.
  • Several downed trees on path I had to carry my bike over. One had even crushed the fence and looked recent.
  • One bridge that was blocked but looked ok to me, but i couldn’t get around it so went down to another road to bypass…
  • Portugal is a beautiful country, just amazing :)
  • The ecovia path to the beach is going to be amazing once they finish it. Some parts of it were super chunky with huge rocks right now though. I look forward to when they actually pave it (they say by next year but we shall see).

Glad to be home and I’ll post a summary one of these days :)

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Day 14 – Camino

September19

I had an amazing ride today. First on the bike path along the Minho, and then the Atlantic Ocean. Komoot didn’t work well today as it tried to put me a little more inland… and I largely ignored it. Luckily I’ve biked some of this when I lived in Viana do Castelo and knew there was a path. Beautiful day and I had a really good time.

Stats…

74km in 4 hours and 11 minutes. Total time around 4 hours 37 minutes. Elevation gain of 495m. I love it when it is flat :). A lot of cobblestones today too. (It was supposed to be a 68.8km ride, but I am guessing since I took my path it was a little longer. )

Pictures…

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Day 12 and 13 – Camino

September18

I had a nice rest on the beach and it was a nice chill town to hang out at.

Day 12…

Easy day, 40km over 2 hours and 46 minutes with 649m of elevation gain. I think I only stopped for a 15-minute break. I had been thinking about going around the Spanish coastline but I decided to cut that and instead head for the border… I am going to do the coastline around Portugal, and then do an eco via line that goes from Aveiro to Viseu. Should be fun :)

Day 13…

Bit longer, 55km over 3 hours and 26 minutes with 705m of elevation gain. Again only a 15-minute break as felt good apart from some steep gradients.

I crossed back over to Portugal late in the day!!! Over the beautiful Minho and very happy to be riding a beautiful bike path along the river and coast today and tomorrow.

Pictures

Note, I don’t stop to take pictures of state highway I am on :). Both rides were quite nice without a ton of highway.

Now that a lot of the elevation is dropping I am going to tackle some longer distances and not many rides left:

  • Day 14 ~68km
  • Day 15 ~95km
  • Day 16 ~75km
  • Day 17 ~55km (and should get home here!
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Day 9, 10, and 11 – Camino

September16

Day 9

I spent day 9 working in Santiago de Compostela. I had to finish two specs and some other stuff that needed to get done before the next part of my trip back home. Weirdly I am not a huge fan of the city, I’ve been there 3 times and just haven’t dug it. I am not sure why… maybe too much of a tourist trap given the pilgrimage focus of the city.

Day 10

Day 10 was a good ride, but a frustrating start. I think it took me 1.5 hours to get out of Santiago. First, one bridge was out, then a second bridge, and finally I had to go all the way back to where I started and go a different way. The first few hours were along busy highway but then I got on backroads and it was quite beautiful.

Funny story, I was trying to figure out a new route and a nice Spanish man came up to help me. We started talking and it turns out he went to school with the owner of University Bicycles in Boulder. Not only is that only a few blocks away from where we lived in Boulder but that is also where I bought one of my bikes and usually go to get them fixed/checked. Small mundo :)

I am now at a beautiful seaside town and it has been great so far.

Stats…

~50km ride, the detours added an extra 5km I think (maybe another 5km didn’t make it to the map). Total ascent of 403m. And, I think it took around 3 hours and 54 minutes but not totally sure as with all the map switching I missed my GPS sometimes.

Pictures…

Day 11

Is a chill day spent on the beach here, I needed a day for just reading.

 

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Day 8 – Camino

September14

Day 8 was a hard one. It was my hardest day since Day 1. That said I made it to Santiago de Compostela :)

The first 1.5 hours of the ride were on state road and asphalt which I don’t love. And, since it was Monday trucks were going by fast. And, then it started raining :). My character was def improved that morning.

Why so hard?

Food. I always forget that things will be closed on Sunday and I underestimated my food needs. I ended up hitting a pretty hard wall on energy as I didn’t get enough to eat the night before and the day of. I also found out the bar had Havana Club and I had two of those with a coke which was quite nice :). I haven’t had rum in a year I think… and props to Laura for introducing me to that rum in Peru many years ago.

Maps, Komoot, and altitude. Komoot routed me up a HUGE mountain that was super steep… I get to the top and it looks suspect as a route… I try it and I hit this, which Komoot swears is a road I can go through.

Yes, that is a 9-foot high fence that is locked with barb wire. No way to climb this. So I had to go down to the bottom, around a bit more, and then climb back to the top and past this barrier to the route (it was pretty).

Then I was at the almost top of the next mountain and it looked like it had a cool Church on top. So I said “screw it” and started going up that because the day was already hard. And, once you start that you can’t turn around.

It turns out I was very far from the top and had a long way to go… I get there, eat a carrot and apple, and just sit as every article of clothing is just drenched in sweat. Then, I walk another 100+ steps to the top, it was a beautiful view, but the little pilgrimage site is full of tends of thousands of bugs mating in a huge bug dance/column so then I ran away. Oh and also it is the tallest point in Galacia…

Stats…

56km in 3 hours and 42 minutes of moving time. 1,014m of elevation gain which is my 2nd highest. My total time was a little over 5 hours, I had to stop quite a few times to take a break.

Pictures…

 

Notes

  • Komoot is my mapping app and I really wish they would offer choices. Like, bike 10km more but you are on Gravel roads for 75% of the time. As well as altitude choices to avoid gradients of 12% or more as much as possible.
  • Next tour I want to mount two water bottle holders on the front instead of bags, and stick with 2 bags on the back. I like that better and don’t need all these bags. I also need a super light throw bag.
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Day 7 – Camino

September12

A good day… it was mostly on asphalt and mostly going up for a long time and then down very fast. Spain has so many back roads and great shoulder space. Drivers are very safe and it is rare to see cars.

I set a new personal record today!!! I climbed 1,153m on my bike in one session. My previous record was on July 11th, 2020 on my long ride in Mazemet (a beautiful ride I highly recommend).

Ourense is in the bottom of a collapsed Volcano so getting out of that was HARD. I left around 9 am and didn’t really escape that “hill” until almost 11 am… I had to walk about half of it as the gradients were just too much and I was soaked with sweat by the time I got to the top. I took a little breather and had breakfast while my clothes dried a bit in the sun.

Stats…

53km over 3 hours and 48 minutes of moving time. Elevation gain of 1,153m. Total time was four hours and 47 minutes as I took some breaks, plus I walked a good chunk in that early stage to escape Ourense.

Pictures…

 

Tomorrow…

I should arrive in Santiago tomorrow. I am going to stay there a few days as I need to do some work and want some chill time. I am especially looking forward to having a kitchen. I grow tired of road food and looking forward to eating a bag of broccoli and other delicious things.

Thoughts…

Biking is always nice as the first 5 or 6 days your mind is still going, but around day 6 or 7 it just clears and you are left with a bit of a void. You are hit with a different kind of mental and emotional energy, it is hard to describe. It can also be just “zapped” if you over-extend your rides but I feel pretty good there.

Random notes…

  • For this ride and the 82km one, I did a really good job hydrating. Glad to see that as I haven’t done so well with that in the past :)
  • Spain and Portugal don’t really have near the number of picnic tables like France did. Everywhere in France has picnic tables and I really miss that. Every church seemed to have them as well as small city parks. Spain has a weird workout area, but usually no picnic tables. Often hard stone benches though.
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Day 6 – Camino

September11

I had an easy ride today, it started off foggy and like I was biking through a  wet cloud and then opened up into a beautiful sunny day. I was a bit zapped after yesterday and it was nice to have a chill day.

I made it to Ourense which we visited 3 years ago or so on a road trip around this area. I wish the hot springs were open but they are closed due to Covid (hopefully open soon). Ourense is in a Volcanic crater, so riding out tomorrow will be some work :). 

I also met up with Lisa Wright, her husband, and her mom for lunch which was great! Lisa did an awesome list for Shepherd on the magic of Galacia (check it out as her 3rd comes out in October!)

Stats…

A little over 38km in 2 hours and 13 minutes. Only 419m of elevation.

Pictures…

Not many today, just did some riding that was 95% old road. Very peaceful with not many cars. I am curious on how the next 2 days go as it didn’t look like much gravel. I will be doing around 52km both days to Santiago. Then taking a few days there.

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Day 5 – Camino Interior

September10

Today was one of the most amazing rides I’ve ever done. It was beautiful and it was hard to watch the path while taking it all in. And… now I am in Spain :)

The first 55km were stunning and the eco via route was amazing (with some of that still on a converted rail track). Then I hit the mountain, it wasn’t too bad and I was able to ride it pretty easily. It had good grades.

One fun moment, I was going along a fantastic gravel road as the map said… and suddenly a fence… I hop it… then another fence to keep in the goats… I hop it and suddenly the path disappears and I hit this fun. I had to pull the bags off the bike, put them up on the wooden path and then pull the bike up and over. Portugal needs to work on their maps (the map told me to keep going).

Stats…

82km ride with 942m of elevation gain in 5 hours and 11 minutes. 6 hours and 30 minutes total time, I stopped a few times to eat breakfast and lunch.

Pictures…

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Day 4 – Camino Interior

September9

Today was one of the most beautiful rides I’ve ever done. As good as the one in Mazamet France. I hope to come back here to do more of it.

Once I got out of Villa Real the new mapping method put me on a packet dirt road nestled in the mountains that went through pine forests and smelled amazing. The weather was cloudy with a slight chill, perfect riding weather. I think the route was an old rail line as I saw small abandoned train stations along the way. Eventually, it turned into a dedicated bike path with asphalt which really increased my speed.

Stats…

48km ride in 2 hours and 45 minutes. Total time was 3 hours and 22 minutes as I had to walk a few very steep parts, and down one rocky segment. Plus I stopped for breakfast. Only around 500m elevation gain… I love old train lines as the gradient is so slow you never notice.

Highlights of the day?

  • I saw a rabbit (I haven’t ever seen much wildlife in Portugal).
  • On the bike path, I went by someone hauling two huge cows with big horns. And, then a Shepherd with a flock of sheep. The geography has changed.
  • I ate some delicious lasagne, the chef was impressed I ordered two and came out to give me a fist bump lol.
  • I can’t remember if I mentioned it, but sometimes I am riding or walking on what were Roman roads from 200/300bce. Although also a lot of medieval roads they built over the top with less quality.

Pictures…

 

Tomorrow…

Is a hard ride, I wanted to push myself a little. Komoot says it will be 81km with 960m of elevation gain. It estimates it will take me 6 hours and 15 minutes… I am excited as it looks like a ton of gravel riding which I love. But this mountain scares me… that might be a long walk…

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Day 3 – Camino Interior

September8

Well, I lost another sock, at least now I am back to evens. It flew off a bridge and landed in a stream… it is a long story.

It was a beautiful day. I did around 36km over 3 hours and 15 min. I left at 8.30 am and got in around 1 pm (so 4.5 hours total time). I think it isn’t counting the time I am walking the bike maybe. The total ascent was 1150m. 

The challenge isn’t the altitude gain it is the gradient. Some of the back roads are crazy gradients and I just run out of steam pretty quick (esp with the weight of the bags). If the gradient isn’t too bag I can go pretty much forever.

The path today got kinda crazy in two parts and I had a fair bit of walking up steep slopes and down steep slopes. I road some which had a pretty decent drop off on the left which was fun.

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This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).


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