Today was a full day in the outdoors. It’s Fasching, otherwise known as Karneval, in Germany this week, which takes place prior to the beginning of the Lenten season. This involves parades and costumes. There was a parade down the Haupstraße in Heidelberg this afternoon and KT, NP, and I set out after lunch to get a glimpse of the action. We can’t say that we were overly impressed by the celebrations. It was nice to see children and families enjoying the festivities, many in costume, but there was also a lot of public drinking, smoking, and racket (chiefly, we gathered, from university students) that quickly became obnoxious. We therefore didn’t stick around for the parade proper, but ducked into a cake shop for a pre-Lent treat and coffee before heading back home along the river. KT and I are the quiet sort (we think NP is too, but aren’t really sure yet). It was a beautiful day today, about plus 6 Celsius with sun all afternoon, and it was really very pleasant after all of the cold weather to spend a few (mostly quiet) hours walking outside.
The fabulous weather meant that I also finally got back outside on my bike after two weeks training indoors. It was cool when we woke up this morning, but with the sun I was able to head out for my ride at about 9:45 a.m. (I took the day off of work) and feel comfortable throughout the ride (even my feet stayed warm). Today was my longer ride of the week, which on this occasion was just under 66km in 2 hours and 17 minutes. It is really so much nicer to do these long rides outdoors in the sun and I got out today on some beautiful stretches of secondary highway in a loop from Heidelberg up to Dossenheim, Schriescheim, and across to Ladenburg.
I’m feeling more confident now getting onto some bigger roads and have some routes up into the mountains planned for shorter rides once things really warm up here. I felt good today on the bike overall. I was fatiguing after 2 hours, but think that nutrition was again a factor, and this is the longest ride I’ve ever done. I had a banana with me in my pocket, but soon realized that it would be impossible to extract a banana safely from my pocket on a motorway (I didn’t want to stop). I either need to develop a safe, efficient banana delivery system (designs from readers encouraged), or move to something more professional for these longer rides. I’m confident that my indoor rides these past two weeks have improved my leg strength, although there is of course still a long way for me to go on the bike. I simply need to log more hours on the road to get used to proper technique (such as efficient gearing) and to continue to improve my fitness.
When I got home, I was pretty hungry, but KT was heroically already making me some wholewheat pasta as I stepped in the door, which I enjoyed (immensely) with some Russian egg and Mushroom salad and bread (and various other things). This set me right and I was soon ready for the walk into the city centre described above. It’s been a good day of nutrition in fact (leaving aside the piece of chocolate cake on our walk): for dinner I made mashed sweet potato with a tofu/aubergine/onion/pepper curry, topped with yoghurt and served with a side dish of spinach-ricotta pasta. I have been pretty good about my nutrition, but some days are better than others, and this was a great one.
So, a day off from work, sun, cycling, a relaxing walk, great company, and high-quality food–what more could a man ask for! Tomorrow I’ll be back to the office and the pool.