As I’ve said here, there was a time in my life when riding my road bike, training and racing consumed much of my free time. It’s the kind of drive you never lose completely.
So yesterday, on a whim, I decided to travel to Suhl on the bike. Here, I have a series of lectures to attend to today, you know how we doctors have to keep up with progress through continuous medical education (CME). Anyway, Suhl is only about 70 km away from where I live, but there’s the highest part of the Thuringian Forest is in between. Even in my active racing days, I never was a lightweight mountain goat. I’ve instead preferred the long haul, the flat plains of northern Germany, le grand braquet and floating over cobblestones if need be.
Instead, yesterday it was a slow grind up to Oberhof. Took a coffee break at a filling station there and got an update on the terrain to be expected from the attendant. As he predicted, it was a rapid descent down smooth, wide roads to Zella-Mehlis, a bit up a gain and down again into Suhl. Just when I was beginning to get euphoric, I caught sight of the hotel I needed to reach. Quite a bit outside of Suhl and on the highest mountain around …
I must admit that there were walking stretches in the ascent towards that hotel. I ground my teeth and thought of Paris-Brest-Paris and the Roc Trevezel. That’s a mountain of similar height and steepness near Brest that we all had to climb in a similar state of exhaustion I was in yesterday. Twice.
At nightfall, I was at the hotel, man and machine were taken care of by the friendly staff and after a good night’s sleep, I feel up to the CME.