[ blog » 2022 ]Ride: Strasbourg ( by Philipp Gesang, location: the bike shed)

After last week’s ill-fated trip north I ditched the Vittoria tire on the rear wheel as it was riddled with holes already. The graphene laced rubber appears to be more of a gimmick they added for marketing puposes than a functional component. No intention of ever repeating that nightmare so I went with the heavy Gatorskin clinchers this time. They may ride less efficiently but at least they last all the way home.

West being the remaining ride in my four piece cardinal-directions puzzle, I set the Strasbourg cathedral as the goal for this ride. I haven’t been to France in over a year now so I was looking forward to returning even if it was just for a few kilometers.

Passing through the Black Forest is pretty much inevitable on the Tübingen-France trajectory unless one can take a massive detour so I went all-in and programmed the highest climb of its northern part, the Hornisgrinde, as the morning challenge. The climb up there is long and gentle except for the final 100 m of altitude, so getting up to 1156 m to have a quick second breakfast at the restaurant up there turned out a great way to start a long day in the saddle. One third of distance and more than half the climbing done.

Not much to be said about the Rhine valley, it’s as flat and boring as it always has been. Gazillions of storks seem to love it there though. After I crossed the border I was pleasantly surprised by the upgrade in bicycle infrastructure Strasbourg received since the last time I visited. Getting to the center is much more efficient now that they fixed the road through the port that is more or less the direct route. On the way back I detoured through the Jardin des Deux Rives but was prevented from taking my customary bridge photo by a horde of annyoing German NIMBYs (all obese retirees of course) protesting what appeared to be geothermic and nuclear energy. Sigh. That’s why we can’t have nice things.

After 190 km, two thirds into the ride, I finally started the true challenge: the 10 km ascend to the Zuflucht hotel on the Black Forest high plateau. I knew it was risky planning that monster of a climb at that point in the day but the steepness also means it’s one of the most efficient ways of getting up to altitude which I had to regardless. And it was an absolutely leg-crushing experience! At the bottom in Oppenau you’re greeted by a road sign indicating eighteen percent gradients. The road never actually reaches that inclination, at least according to my Garmin, but with long stretches of 11-15 % it was by far the most taxing part of the day.

As a reward for the pain, the rest of the ride was mostly downhill from 973 m. After the Kiebis descent into Freudenstandt, one short but brutally steep climb took me into the Neckar valley where I could quietly roll home.

Now that I got the cardinal directions covered I’m going to have to find a new theme for upcoming rides.

281 km, 2890 m elevation gain, ludicrous amounts of lactate generated.


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