Water World Double Century – The Route South
I expected that waking up after the first day will be hard. It turned out that I was wrong. An hour before the alarm clock was set to ring I already opened my eyes, a little confused, and found myself in an acceptable state in the hotel room. It was not even 7AM and breakfast was going to start was at 07:30. I used the time to clean up the bike and send a few quick emails. Next on the agenda was a massive breakfast which actually also served as dinner of the night before. It was fantastic as only breakfast in a vacation hotel could be. I did manage to consume massive amount of eggs and gluten-free toast and fruit and industrial quantity of coffee.
After breakfast I repacked, collected the bike clothes that spent the night on the radiator getting dry and hit the road. It was 08:30AM and the morning myst was still floating over the lake and its surrounding. For a brief second I felt sorry for having to ride back south and not being able to spend any time in the little city by the lake, but with some 200km ahead, I knew that there is not much room for meandering. The Garmin was fully charged and my behind was still feeling like it was holding on to some skin. I quickly got on the path and this time followed the curve of the lake on the west side. The day’s route was mostly along lakes until pretty close to Berlin.
After about an hour of riding I suddenly got the sneaky suspicion that I was riding in circles. In retrospect, it would have been hard to ride completely around the biggest lake in Germany in one hour, but something was not sitting right in my stomach and it was was not breakfast. I consulted the Garmin and my cell phone and decided to ignore my gut feeling and try to follow the route I had planned. This was also an instance where the Garmin was convinced that a line clear across a river was a valid route option. It’s entirely possible that the problem was between the screen and the saddle and not with the device itself, but given that at the end of the day I did end up in my final destination, I guess the Garmin did its job.
Riding alongside lakes does get a little repetitive after several hours. With all the peacefulness of the lake, at the end of the day it’s nothing but a very large body of water that’s pretty quiet – I was wishing for waves breaking on the shore, but this is Germany after all, waves are not our expertise really. So southward we continued covering good ground and keeping close to the water.
Several hours later I realized that I am very tired of the lake. I could not wait for a sign that will announce my departure from water land, from the state I was in and into the state surrounding Berlin. As the day progress the amount of skin on which I was sitting was dwindling and the energy was low. As opposed to the way north, I only allowed food intake from the saddle and the powerbars were running low. At around 17:00 while riding through a very picturesque village cursing the cobblestones that were accelerating the loss of skin on my behind, I spotted a fetching coffee shop and decided that this was as good a point as any to take a coffee break.
This turned out to be exactly the energy source that I was lacking. After a 10 minutes cappuccino session spent sitting in a seat other than my bike’s, I was ready for the last stretch. This took me through some remote and very deserted roads deep in east Germany. At some point, no longer that far from the ring road around Berlin, I actually found myself on a very old and deserted cobblestone path curving into the unknown. A house was hidden in that curve and between wild grass and trees. This was the only instance in which I felt like maybe the ride was not safe, but soon after turning the corner and crossing a rusty bridge I suddenly realized how close to Berlin I was and with that knowledge and a big smile on my face I headed to the city and then home.
Water World Double Century was a fantastic experience. Riding 400km in one weekend, through one of Germany’s most beautiful landscapes was the kind of fun activities you only realize are fun when you completed them. Connecting to places that are “around the corner” and yet far from the public view was also a highlight on the weekend. Riding through villages that end before you finished reading their names, hearing the gravel crunch for hours under the tires and knowing that in any distance you are the only person around build a certain connection to the land and nature. And yes, doing WWDC by myself, not giving up, and hoping that next year the ride will enjoy some more support, certainly is a source of pride.
Next year, WWDC#2 August 2-3, 2014.