In the last few weeks, honestly, my motivation was completely down and my drive to get on my bike was zero. I’ve been riding my bike more out of duty and training discipline than out of fun.
On the one hand, this had to do with my job, which is currently quite exhausting and annoying me. And on the other hand, the weather, which feels like it’s taking longer than usual this year. I’m absolutely not a fair-weather rider, but I would have liked a little more support from the sun and higher temperatures.
All this then of course also leads to the fact that I had no desire and interest in an Overnighter or longer ride.
Then came the Kolektif and with it my hope that a few nice bikes would improve my mood. The bikes were not needed, because it was enough with Raphael Albrecht, whom I ran into first in Berlin and who said that I would look so young and so fit (although the second probably only after my hint).
Well, if that’s the case, then it’s really time to get back on the bike for a night out. In addition, I wanted to test a few panniers anyway.
But where to go? No problem, because it’s RideFAR time again and on the Orbit360 site there are some interesting routes on offer.
RideFAR means: Ride For A Reason and is a project of Raphael and Orbit360, with which the bicycle season is rung in for some years and our passion for longer tours, with the collecting for donations for selected projects is connected.
Whereas in the past the goal was to cover distances of 180 km or 360 km, this year’s idea is to build a community. Some scouters have made their routes available and invite you to ride together.
The Lüneburger Heide is always worth a trip, so I chose the route of Philipp Janßen for my Overnighter.
I hoped for a route that is technically challenging and also sufficiently strenuous and thus can also be a good preparation for the events of the coming months with luggage. And I have not been disappointed.
Philipp has built a wonderful and challenging route, which I would like to praise here. The sandy and rooted sections are a good workout and then the small steep and nasty climbs in the heath especially with luggage a good challenge. But that’s exactly what I needed and my motivation and mood increased kilometer by kilometer.
The weather was great, but also very cold. Immediately after work I left, across the Elbe to the starting point of the track at the Kärtner Hütte in Harburg at the entrance to the black mountains. And they welcomed you first with a longer slope. But finally once again a different landscape than the one on my doorstep.
I follow the track about 45km, before I then turn to Tostedt to a small campsite. Here I build up my tent and snuggle in my sleeping bag, because the nights are still very cold.
Even more amazing that at night still a Dane arrives on his bike, who had a tent but no sleeping bag. Somehow the groundskeeper then organized him a foil and a few materials from the groundskeeper’s hut. Unbelievable…
I haven’t slept that well in a long time. Stress at work often leads to sleepless nights for me, so this night in the tent was all the more relaxing. I already know why you should actually do this at least once a month, because an Overnighter contributes a lot to the recovery and sense of well-being.
The morning greets me with temperatures below zero and a beautiful sunrise. Unfortunately, the sun does not make it much warmer and since it is Good Friday, all bakeries are closed and a warm coffee is not in sight.
But many kilometers of Lüneburg Heath follow. The heath is very touristy and seems a bit old-fashioned, but it is beautiful. As a cyclist, especially the morning hours are good, when there are not yet so many people on the way. And so I still have most of the tracks to myself and work my way along Philipp’s route.
In zig zag it goes through the heath, again and again small hills steeply up and on the other side again down. I don’t take any breaks, also because I like to challenge myself. Every now and then I stop for a little snack and something to drink.
But that’s exactly what I needed: a personal system check, how good and fit I am with luggage. And I can say: it fits.
But what’s always interesting is that I forget how I actually packed last time and what absolutely has to come with me. In the past, I used old packing lists as a guide and often wrote down during the tour how I actually packed. Now I use a shopping list app so that I don’t forget anything. But I have forgotten, for example, how I packed for the last Overnighter or for the last race. But so it is every time a little adventure and the routine of the years helps.
But even so I always learn something new. For example, a new function on the Wahoo, which not only shows me extra climbs, but also how many climbs are on the track at all and which peak I’m currently riding. However, this is sometimes not very motivating when you have fought your way up another hill and at the top is then peak 4 of 17 on the display.
After about 145km I roll in again at the destination Kärtner Hütte. But end is here still far not. I still have 25km to Halstenbek ahead of me, ride back down to the Elbe to the ferry and then up the other side and home.
The best thing: now it’s back, the energy, the good feeling and the inner swine is gone. At the end of April, the next Overnighter is planned. There I meet Nils on his Hackenpedder Bikepacking route for a few kilometers and a nightly camp in the wild Schleswig-Holstein.