Today started out like most days, camped by the side of a lake. No castle ruins in my immediate future, so just working on getting closer to Geneva. Today I spent more time analyzing the available routes, and occasionally veering off EV6, taking into account elevation, when a different path better met my goals. That worked great, until I met Sebastien.
My quality “Czech Republic” tire had no tread remaining; I purchased a replacement at a passing shop, and changed the tire in the parking lot. While the store owner didn’t replace the tire for me (this time), he did fill the tire from his compressor and provide a place to wash my hands.
At yet another confusing EV6 turn, having just finished pondering which turn followed EV6 and which turn did not, another cyclist came by, and made the same error I initially made, taking the wrong turn. I cautioned him and he stopped, we discussed routes, and he proposed an alternate route that should be shorter with less elevation change. When I agreed that sounded like a good plan, Sebastien proposed we cycle together. I responded with my usual, “as long as you’re not faster that me.”
With Sebastien routing the path, I blindly followed, because between speed and road conditions, I struggled to keep up. After 100 meters of slewing all over the place in deep, loose gravel, Sebastien admitted we’d made a wrong turn a ways back, but no worries, he’d route us back correctly. Between the gravel and the speed, I told Sebastien to go ahead, and I found my own way back on track.
It occurred to me today that one reason I’m often faster and go farther each day could well be precisely because I have all this high-tech (low weight) gear. Not that most people care how far they go each day, but distance and weight correlate.
Today I set my goal as the campground in Sigmaringen, to reevaluate when I arrived. Upon arrival in Sigmaringen I reviewed the campgrounds ahead. The 5 km and 10 km campgrounds are both labeled “youth campgrounds” and, unsure what that meant, the next campground added another 20k. Each day more hills than the last, I decided to not tackle hills at the end of the day.
Dirk, an Australian cyclist, arrived shortly after me and proclaimed my titanium road bike a companion to his own. Dirk retired early, had always wanted to tour, and now here he was. Dirk had only recently started his trip and rode only 20-30 km a day before taking a multi-day break from cycling. His shiny new bicycle stood in contrast to my trail-worn bicycle covered in mud and grease, panniers sun-faded, with adhesive tape on the handlebars and shifters. Dirk was cycling to Passau along the eastern route of EV6, so we traded information. As we both eventually prepared to flee to our tents from the night’s mosquitoes, he cautioned that if I heard screaming in the night it was only him with muscle cramps. I donated a banana to his cause; he’d never heard of bananas helping to prevent cramps—one reason banana peels litter the roads and cycle paths.
He’s also new to cycle touring, so I offered a few suggestions. I also noticed a bolt drop free from his bike, and pointed that out. 🙂