Travel went without a hitch, but man it was
torture to travel for that long! On Saturday I packed up the truck at
Vallecito Lake, CO, drove the dog and cat to the kennel, rode the Durango Horse
Gulch trails in Durango, shopped for last minute items I would need in Germany,
drove 4+ hours in the rain from Durango to Albuquerque, NM met Todd who had twice as long of a
drive (from Sierra Vista, AZ to Santa Fe, then
back to Albuquerque), then packed my bike. We had 4.5 hours sleep in Albuquerque then flew 3 hours to Atlanta, had a 4 hour layover then flew to 9 hours to
Stuttgart, Germany, then drove 3+ hours to where we are staying in St. Wendel.
We were pretty tired and pulled over for a
nap at one of the numerous parking areas along the roadway. I pointed out to
Todd that there were no bathrooms at these rest areas, well apparently that
doesn’t stop anyone from using the bathroom. At first I just saw a family walk
their small children over to a tree to use the bathroom and didn’t really think
anything of it. Kids gotta go when
they gotta go. I quickly realized men and women do the same thing. Hmmm, this
will take a little getting used to, and "No, Todd you can not use that tree!
Yes, I see it is okay, but… No!” I put my bikes together and we went out for a spin
around town, then to bed for the night at 11:00pm. It is 8 hours later here
than in Colorado which worked out well.
Well so much for getting on Germany time, I
slept really and well didn’t wake up till 3:00pm (7am Colorado time). The only
plan today was to do a 1.5 hour ride on the course before dark. Todd went to
the local market for a few things while I slept.
We went to the grocery store this evening, it
was a fun experience. We got directions to Globus store for groceries but went
to the Baumarkt Globus store (since we didn't know there was more than one
Globus store). Basically it was
exactly like Home Depot, even the orange advertisements looked the same. We
walked around and checked out all the differences in household appliances vs.
the USA. I did not see any "normal” size refrigerators and the cabinets,
lighting and fixtures looked very contemporary/"Euro”. You can even buy a sauna for your
bathroom -some are quite large.
We then drove to a large parking garage
around the corner and found the grocery store. We barely fit in the parking
space and put a Euro in the grocery cart to remove the lock (you get the Euro
back when you return and lock the cart). We walked into the multi story
building, and rode up the escalator with the cart. The wheels are such that
they lock to the moving bits and you cannot push the cart, we learned this the
hard way at the Stuttgart airport trying to push our carts on the moving
walkway and blocking people who were trying to walk. This morning Todd learned
(the hard way) that you need to bring your own bags, so luckily we had City
Market bags from Durango.
Since our grocery-getting experience took a little
longer than expected we ended up doing a night ride on the start of the course.
It was a lot of fun, the temps were similar to Georgia in the fall, shorts and
short sleeves, a bit humid, but very comfortable. It was a little spooky, dense
trees, lots of animal sounds, slugs and frogs to avoid and Todd’s light was not
charged. There were road sections where we popped out in rolling farm lands; it
looks like there are a lot of small roads with little traffic that would make
for great rides.
After getting back, Todd opened a bottle of "white
wine” we had just purchased; turns out it was champagne. The top blew off and showered the entire
kitchen, ceiling, open fridge and Todd…It was pretty funny and we were trying
to be quiet since it was past mid-night. Luckily I was out of range. Oh, and trying to figure out how to work
a German clothes washer is proving to be too difficult a task for American
engineers; it gets to the spin cycle and stops so we have a lot of very wet
I have learned a few words, but no phrases
Hello = Hallo
Sorry/excuse me/pardon me = Entschuldigung
Thank You = Danke
Good Morning = Guten Morgen
Good Day/Afternoon = Guten Tag
Good Evening = Guten Abend
And Todd’s Favorite
Mein Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut = My German is not very good.
I woke up during the night with a sore throat! Should have worn the
facemask on the airplane… It went away during the day, hopefully just
The USA team kits arrived today via DHL, I decided to try mine out on
our ride. I will handwash the kit and since we cannot find a laundry mat,
hopefully they will dry by Sunday. The kits I hung up yesterday are still
I worked on bikes while Todd worked. We decided to swap to the Stan’s
NoTubes Ravens 2.0s, and we hit the course at 4:00pm, so far the earliest we
have been able to get out the door. The signage is awesome. UCI rules pretty
much state that everything is fair unless it is taped; this course is taped and
signed very well! We rode ~1/4 of the course, it is
very roadie, narrow paved and dirt roads, a bit of grass, rolling, with no long
climbs but a few steep ones. It is great to have the wide open space for
passing, no technical skills were required on today’s ride, so it will be fast.
I will go and scope out more tomorrow!