Thursday, 8 July 2010


What a weekend. I still can't believe I really cycled 540 kilometres in less than 48hrs, in conditions that were nowhere near perfect. And as I have been knackered, it was still not enough to say I would not try to push further. And that little smile on my face cycling into Fort William just in time for the train ended the day in good fashion. Looking back I didn't expect to get that far when I left Edinburgh for the train to Helensburgh on Friday. I had done one serious weekend of race touring already, cycling from Edinburgh to Fort William in one day, and back to Perth the other day, but I knew that it would be much harder this time with high winds and heavy rain. But I had also booked my ticket back to Edinburgh on Sunday, and hate to waste money. So even the forecast was shit, I was in for the trip, rain or shine. 

Friday, 2 July 2010

Epic Bike Songs Part One

Before I set off to tackle my personal records this weekend, here are some of my most favourite songs to cycle to. Quite a mixture of styles and decades, but all of them stir the big feelings in me everytime I listen to them on my Ipod. For the moment the first top tem here, more stuff to follow soon.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Glen Coe again. This time without scars, but great pictures!

It could have been a scene from Ata Whenua, one of my favourite movies ever. Standing on top of a ridge in Glen Coe, between Stob Coire Raineach and Stob Dubh, which both form Buachaille Etive Beag, the sister or the better known Buachaille Etive Mor, I looked into a massive, green valley, with an helicopter just passing by down in the valley, some deer making their way up the other side and big birds above me, likely to be eagles or crows. Thick clouds moving in and out below me made it even more magic, and much worthwhile the rather strenuous hike and scramble up there, with my big pack not making it any easier. But in magic moments there are no heavy packs, no long days, no unstable ground that makes each step a bit of a gamble, no sweat that is dripping down your eyebrows, no midge bites. And that surely was a magic moment, in which I only felt the sudden satisfaction and joy once I had made it up there. It's the sheer joy of being out in the elements, experiencing an magnificent landscape that takes your breath away every moment you look at it, no matter how often you been up there before already. Glen Coe is one of those places that are unique in the world, and I can't stop myself going back there again and again.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Simply enough.

It's a lovely Sunday morning in Auld Reekie (Edinburgh) and due to my rather unsuccessful attempts to write applications I much more feel like writing something about biking instead, which suits the weekend more than thinking about future work engagements. I just managed to import my road bike into Scotland, after a very long winter break, my first long time off the bike in 4 years. And let me tell you that once I am back on two wheels, I am feeling much better and confident again. It only took 5 minutes till the magic got back to me, being out there, facing the elements (there are quite a few things to face in Scotland) and just have sheer fun. And get the odd look from confused car drivers that can't believe a simple human can accelerate that quickly, a cheer from the odd person in the bus stop and whatever comes with it. Combined with the fact that I will eat much more healthy again and have the chance to socialise with people who share the same passion, I wonder if there ever will be something better than biking to make me happy apart from the obvious things? Possibly not.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

A new beginning

So well, long time no posts. It might appear to the reader, that there have been loads of things going on in my life, which is clearly the fact. So no time to write them all down! Still not. Ever since I wrote the last entry, I found myself on some rather serious bike trips, left my job, did cycle more and then often. Went back to Europe and got a new job, did more cycling, and some reading.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Rainbow Rage and Molesworth

Yeah! I finally managed to sort my pictures from the last bike trip down south over Easter. And ordered a new helmet and more importantly a copy of the Rainbow Rage DVD, which features the only German mountain-bike rider ever (me) been broadcasted on SKY. Now I can rest in peace after my TV appearance in the Southern hemisphere, following some minutes of fame in German television already. Not really the proper 15 min of fame, but at least it's a good start. 5:36 isn't too bad for the first time either, considering I was #18 in my group and #223 overall. And Karapoti wasn't exactly the right sort of training for that, next time I cycle long distances beforehand instead of granny gear climbs. The Rage was just the very first day to get the party started for more than a week, back on the good ol
d Cube. Overall I loved the Rainbow Rage, absolutely wonderful weather made it even nicer. Out of the three crossings of that track, I loved racing it most. And my Cube so much deserved at least one decent race, after it was too worn out last year to race it. Even tough I couldn't feel my hands on the last 40 km's down to Hamner, racing down Jack's Pass is a must for all serious bikers in New Zealand, being greeted by a lovely crowd that cheered me the last meters over the finish line. The coolest thing was that Mike Gane, the ride disorganiser in his words, shakes everybody's hands personally after the demanding 105 km's, respect for that.

So after a long day I decided to play around in the Hamner Forest with my hardtail, scaring Neil from Krank  a bit with my much better condition compared to Xmas. We had loads of fun gunning up the tracks and gunning down as well, especially down Big Foot (o: 
Monday I decided to start some serious biking again and gave the Molesworth a second try, after the little disaster on the trip with Jan. This time with two spare tubes, a spare tyre, enough food to survive another breakdown, enough tape and, most important, a tent. After I already cycled down Jack's Pass three times, I took the steeper route over Jollie's, which was a killer. The remainder of the day I made it to Acheron Homestead first, and then almost struggled to arrive on time at Molesworth Homestead. The nice DOC ranger was already on the track to pick me up, but fortunately I was just a few strokes away from the camp. A really but rewarding day! the Molesworth is one of the most beautiful bike trails on the South Island, beautifully remote, but nothing for normal tourers. I ate a lot of dirt that day, drank 7 liters of water and had a lot OSM's to eat, and was happy that we didn't made it up there the first time. It would have been a disaster to cycle that one only with backpacks, some angel from heaven must have known this last time and stopped us by bursting my tire. This time with panniers it was still demanding, but more enjoyable. After camping the second day was great as well, passing Upcot Saddle as the main obstacle and cycling a very undulating dirt road down towards Blenheim, The camp at Blairich was great, such a remote place (and free) deserved a second night staying there. Overall it was one of the best rides I had, the beautiful weather contributed wonderfully to that.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Escaping to the Wairarapa

Well, it's been a while since the last entry. Seasons have changed, and a lot of things happened in between. Would be great to share some lovely impressions from the two trips to the South Island in March and April with you. I might do later, but won't promise anything now. But let's get back to now, the reason why I haven't been posting anything is that my lovely work was pretty mental the last weeks. And too much. So I finally made the quick decision to pack my gear on Friday after work, get my good old Cube off the shed and get ready again (and once again justify having two bikes). Heading out on such a short notice was no problem, as the bike was still set up from my Easter trip, and some gear wasn't even unpacked.

I wouldn't call it an escape from reality, but maybe it was one! And I definitely needed no (more) people on the weekend, just time for me to make up my mind, to tidy up. Pretty egoistic, but don't we need that sometimes? I do! Let's call it self-consciousness. A healthy portion of that is essential in my eyes. And what is better than a demanding bike ride to empty the brain packed with useless problems on a sunny autumn day? I can't really think of something else. The main decisions are where to go, where to camp, what to have for breakfast, what for dinner? And essentially what beautiful spot is more suitable for the lunch break? Hard decisions. I made them, and all to my full satisfaction. No regrets this time!

So Cape Palliser was the destination I chose Friday night, after Jan and me changed our plans last time we went down there and did the Aorangi crossing. And exactly right for a short but challenging two day ride. I took my camping gear as there isn't really anything down there. To be more detailed, I think the Wairarapa is the less touristy region in New Zealand. What makes it strangely attractive, remoteness is beauty. The more the better. Just cows, sheep and the odd farmer, exactly the right amount of attractions for a weekend to chill out. Amazing how such a simple world has such a huge appeal to me. But sometimes it is just nice to see that there is life away from the city: Away from all entertainment, non-sense and all the other shit that makes easy lives very complicated. Maybe I shouldn't do marketing for things like that, but somebody has to. And I am very aware of my responsibility, and with the occasional break, to get over some people in that business that act like total idiots without even a healthy portion of egoism, I can still justify my job at the moment. To sum it up: The Wairarapa was perfect, there couldn't have been a better place for that weekend.

Here the short summary of the trip: I took the train to Upper Hutt, jumped on the bike, cycled up the Rimutaka Incline, cycled down the same to Cross Creek with a nice fellow, who just bought a bike recently. This time I didn't fall off the bike while going through the tunnel, it's much better with lights. Then alongside Lake Wairarapa, stopping to have a ginger beer and a Twix in Pirinoa while listening to someone from Upper Hutt, trying to convince me of rugby (he didn't succeed). Listening to Kings of Convenience, Tori Amos and Shapeshifter, cycling down to the coast, stopping at the Pinnacles, listening to the Black Seeds. Then turning my IPod off, and just listening to the sea and using the last hour of sunlight for a more than enjoyable ride along the coast. When it was too dark to cycle I pitched my tent, wrapped myself up in my sleeping bag (which is worth the high price, I know now) and finally slept well. At 7! At the end of this day I came to the conclusion that: I should quit my job as soon as strategically possible, I should enjoy July and August in Edinburgh instead of cold New Zealand to do more cycling and: Cycling is just brilliant and a lot of people miss out on a lot of things if they don't cycle. And much more. But that's my secret (o:

The night was fairly cold, but the constant sound of the sea was brilliant to sleep. Waking up I was to lazy to cook oats, and still freezing, so I just jumped on the bike after I had packed everything. One Square Meals and bagels brought me over the day, as I had a brilliant one cycling along the coast over Cape Palliser to White Rock. Lost my sunglasses on the way, so that added a few k's to get them back, and the track along the coast is nothing for the faint-hearted. But a great adventure ride. Then up the White Rock Rd, up to Martinborough, and then one of the most boring roads in the dark to Featherston. Unfortunately missed the train by 15 mins, but hitching with the bike to Lower Hutt, then on the train and back home to have Gnocchi and wine. Thanks to Jan. It was just brilliant. It was pure freedom. That's what this country is about. Thanks New Zealand!

Song of the weekend: Tori Amos - Crucify