Road-Bike End-of-season tours

The weather this weekend was unusually good for November. So we did a first seson-end tour on Saturday and another one on Sunday 🙂

On Saturday one of my favourite “short” tours, via  Aidlingen, 7-Tannen, downhill via Holzbronn into the Nagold valley, up the hill at Seitzental … wow, what colors, deep green grass, deep blue sky and yellow/red leaves… still have goose-bumps…. and then the side-way towards the traditional “Wildberg-View”:

Wild-Berg Blick: Wolfgang, Peter, Siggi, Ralf, Ulli, Herbert und Ali hat das Bild gemacht.
Wildberg View: Wolfgang, Peter, Siggi, Ralf, Ulli, Herbert and Ali took the picture

With the way back via Sulz, Kuppingen and Gärtringen we went in total 80km.

On Sunday we did another tour: via Herrenberg, Öschelbronn, Bondorf and Ergenzingen into the Eyach valley and then to Haigerloch. From there on some side roads that I remembered in most parts from an RTF earlier this year towards Rottenburg and continues to Tübingen. On a 8th of November with best possible weather, sitting with cakes and coffee in the sun… how could this ever be any better 🙂

With the short return via Bebenhausen to Holzgerlingen the total tour was 102km.

We’ll continue to ride with the Mountainbike, but we’ll see if the weather will bring us another “year-end roadbike tour”…

Bike-Season 2015 finished

For me the bike reason goes from October 1st to September 30th. So last Saturday was my last day in Season 2015, and yesterday started the season 2016. So it’s time to summarize the Season 2015.

  • The winter season started quite well. We continues to do tours Saturday and Sunday regularly in the Schönbuch forest nearby. This brought quite some kilometres and conserved the form. Unfortunately I had an accident early December which caused a almost 5 week break, until I could restart in January to do further tours. During bad-weather weekends, we went a few times to the bike stadion in Öschelbronn, which was a lot of fun, and also I used my Tacx trainer to cycle at home in some evening and rainy weekends.
  • Al in all, that was a good base for the training camp on Mallorca in April. That was again a lot of fun, with a great groups. We did a lot of training tours there, long ones and also a bit faster than previous year. That was a very good base for the season. Unfortunately I had a cold, had to pause for one day and another day just do a short easy ride. This trend continued also in May, I was sick for two weekends, but could do nice runs on the other two weekends. All in all, a good spring start.
  • Road-bike:
    • 7802 km in total, 86 tours, on average 90,7km per Tour; in comparison to last year, a few years more, but especially we went really fast, more than 1 km/h faster average speed compared to last year
    • Total 291 hours of riding time; 27,27km/h total average speed
    • 74.970 meters altitude
    • 58 Tours < 100km (Ø 68,3 km; with 554m alt., 27,71 km/h)
    • 28 Tours > 100km (Ø 137,1 km; with 1531m alt., 26,36 km/h)
  • Mountainbike:
    • 15 Tours
    • 949km total
    • 10.030m altitude
    • ~43 hours riding time
    • 22,4 km/h average speed
  • Tacx Ergometer
    • 23 Trainings
    • 1.020 km
    • 33:45 hours training time
  • All in all, this was the “best year” ever during my cicling career
    • 7.800km road-bike
    • 8.751km “outside” i.e. Road-bike and MTB
    • 9.771km total. The 10km mark just missed

Already looking forward to the next season and a “golden autumn”, the first Saturday yesterday was nice, but today we have rain.

Link to my biking-page

… to get the FooFighters to Italy

Really bad luck that Dave Grohl broke his leg during a gig a few days, before the concert in St. Gallen was planned, where I had a ticket. So I have to wait some more time until I can see FF again.

Looks like the FooFighters haven’t been to Italy before. And what these guys and girls do to change that… is great. And I think their dream will become true… soon 🙂

Mallorca Training Camp 2015

Our training tours continued informally during the winter, nice but cold. Therefore we already looked forward to tours dressed in “short-short” and we planned great things. We always go after the Easter holidays and due to other private appointments, this years camp ended up being April 18th to May 2nd. Mid April is high-season in Mallorca for bikers … it was quite full. On most smaller roads, that is not a problem, the island is big enough. But some of the “nice places”, obviously are visited by almost everyone, e.g. Randa, Sant Salvador, Orient and the passes in the mountains, Sierra Tramuntana. But we are ourselves part of the biking tourism, i.e. nothing to complain about. And having your cake and cafe con leche in Petra on the central plaza is kind of very nice with 200 other bikers there 😉

Marktplatz Petra, von links: Brigitte, Hartmut, Ralf, Jürgen, Herbert
Central plaza in Petra, from left: Brigitte, Hartmut, Ralf, Jürgen, Herbert

The weather was very similar for basically the full two weeks, between 19 and 22°C, sometimes only little, sometimes a bit more wind, but never too strong… ideal for a training camp. We started well, and quite fast. The first two days a bit more flat and high average speed, 82km / 750Hm (Hm=>Meters altitude) / 27,8kmh and 117km / 950Hm / 28,1kmh. On the third day, a bit more intensity with more altitude. I think that worked well, it allows the body to get accustomed, and everybody was able to follow and no muscle aches, all could recover for the next day.

Tour-Start ... von links: Wolfgang, Brigitte, Jürgen, Ralf und Hartmut
Tour-Start … von links: Wolfgang, Brigitte, Jürgen, Ralf und Hartmut

With an exception … I was hit with a cold, starting Monday evening with coughing. On Tuesday morning I felt so bad, that I had to pause for a day. Wednesday was a planned pause-day, which everyone used to recover and I did as well, with a small 45km tour. That went well, on Thursday I was back in game and was not much more impacted for the rest of the training. However I obviously “gave” my cold also to others, Hartmut and Jürgen got sick and Brigitte a little bit during the next days.

On Thursday we continued fully motivated. Already the last three years we wanted to take a bus to Andratx in order to check out the western part and the beginning of the Sierra Tramuntana and the “coastal classic ride”. Never managed to do it … but this year. So we took the organized ride by Hürzeler, which departs at 9am. A small disadvantage for us, because we first have to cycle from Can Picafort to Paya de Muro, and be there at 8:30. So we had only a very rapid and short breakfast and packed some bread for the bus. But in the end, nothing to be nervous about, all went very well. It was not just one bus, they filled two large buses with two large trailers for bikes.

Port Andratx, Ankunft der Busse, Ausladen der Räder
Port Andratx, Arrival of the buses, unloading the bikes

It would have been too early to do the coastal classics already in the first week, so we took the part to Valldemossa and then took the downhill to Palmanyola and continued through the central part of Mallorca. The bus ride has one disadvantage, you lose a lot of time of the day, we could only start at about 10:45 in Andratx, but this is the only way to get there in a sensible manner (riding there is 60-70km…). The route was really nice, so it is definitely worth the trip: the tour: 121km / 1800Hm / 25,1kmh.

Pause in Valldemossa, Jürgen, Herbert, Tilman, Brigitte, Hartmut, Ralf
Breakin Valldemossa, Jürgen, Herbert, Tilman, Brigitte, Hartmut, Ralf

In the past years, we did not go to Cap Formentor, because of the bad road condition and the tunnel without any light, just not appealing. But this year: the road is freshly paved and there are reflectors in the tunnel … I was prepared and brought a portable lighting for my bike. So nothing to keep us away, except for some quite steep climbs … but we are here for the training, right? Well, definitely this is one of the nicest little tours and well worth the effort!

Jürgen am Leuchtturm Cap Formentor
Jürgen at the lighthouse Cap Formentor

As the main tour (“queens stage”) we did in the last years Soller – Ferry – Sa Calobra. This year another variant: we went to Soller, but then took the long climb to Puig Mayor and return via Monastery Lluc. The climb to the Puig is not as spectacular as Calobra (calobra is one of THE best climbs in the world), but quite strenuous and the ride through the mountains via the water reservoirs is really nice.

Am Puig, vor dem Tunnel, Blick Richtung Soller - Jürgen, Ralf und Hartmut
Resting after the climb, before the tunnel, direction Soller – Jürgen, Ralf und Hartmut

For those that are good enough, the crossing to Calobra is on the way, and Ralf actually took it, he went down to Calobra and rode up the Calobra pass! Fantastic!!! My legs were definitely not good enough for that. Our tour: 148,2km / 2.100Hm / 24,5kmh. For Ralf, you have to add about 20km and 900Hm altitude.

As resume: A great Training Camp!!! I’m already looking forward to next year 🙂

The totals will be slightly different for the participants, for I missed the Randa tour, Ralf did the extra Calobra pass … but all in all I think this was a very good result:

  • 14 Tours
  • 1.445 km
  • about 56 hours total cycling time
  • ca. 16.500m altitude
  • average speed about 25,7 kmh

And for those into Statistic, like me:

  • Saturday 18.Apr   – 82,1km – 27,8 kmh – 2:57:06 (riding time) – 750 Hm (m altitude)
  • Sunday 19.Apr.   – 116,7km – 28,1 kmh – 4:09:30 – 950Hm
  • Monday 20.Apr –  107,5km – 24,5 kmh – 4:21:53 – 1500Hm
  • Wednesday 22.Apr – 44,5km – 24,5 kmh – 1:50:00 – 350Hm
  • Thursday 23.Apr. – 121,1km – 25,1kmh – 4:49:00 – 1800Hm
  • Friday 24.Apr.       – 122,1km – 25,4 kmh – 4:48:32 – 1700Hm
  • Saturday 25.Apr. – 101,1km – 26,6 kmh – 3:47:55 – 1200Hm
  • Sunday 26.Apr.       – 65,0km – 25,5 kmh – 2:15:00 – 500Hm
  • Monday 27.Apr.  – 104,1km – 24,5 kmh – 4:15:23 – 1250Hm
  • Tuesday 28.Apr.  – 126,6km – 25,7 kmh – 4:56:31 – 1400Hm
  • Wednesday 29.Apr. – 105,8km – 25,1 kmh – 4:09:09 – 850Hm
  • Thursday 30.Apr. – 148,2km – 24,5 kmh – 6:02:48 – 2100Hm
  • Friday 1.Mai          – 113,9km – 26,3 kmh – 4:18:38 – 1200Hm
  • Saturday 2.Mai    – 86,7km – 26,7 kmh – 3:11:10 – 600Hm

Costa Rica, 28.3. – 14.4.2015

This year I made a very special vacation: two weeks of hiking in the nature in Costa Rica! It was a trip organized by my Spanish teacher Elena, and she did a fantastic job in organizing this tour! With Elena we were 14 and we had a great time, saw a lot.

Before we could really start, we had to acclimatise and also get over the Jet-Lag, for me the Jet-Lag lastet only two days. But we came directly from the German Winter, with only 10°C during the day into tropical weather with 32-35°C during the day and 20-25°C during the night.

Hotel CariBlue, Tukan im Baum/Nisthöhle direkt am Hotel-Parkplatz

To start, we went directly from the Airport in San Jose to the Caribbean coast, to Puerto Viejo. To get accustomed, we had the beach directly across the road of our hotel. On the second day we did our first hiking tour in the national park Cahuita, where we almost had the impression to see all animals that exist in Costa Rica. Even though the park also had a beach open to visitors and used also by locals for relaxation, the park itself was “wild” enough to enjoy wild-life, except for some moneys directly at the beach (there are always some stupid people who ignore the 100 signs saying “do not feed the animals”).

Schlange mit gerade gefangener Eidechse!
Snake with a fresh catch, a small lizard!

From there we continued to Tortuguero. This is a quite remote place, although mostly living through tourism, brought by the National Park. There we met Barbara, a German Biologist, who is living there for more than 15 years. Next day early morning at 6am, she took us on a canoe tour into the park. She showed and explained us all the wild-life and biology there. After a late breakfast, we continued with a 3 hour walking tour through the park. Two fantastic trips!

The paddling and walking together with my photographing at 32°C and 99% humidity made it quite strenuous, probably never sweated that much in my life before. Only beaten some days later. The fantastic, very tasty and cool fruit drinks (“batidos”) later for lunch however … were not such a clever idea. In the night after, I got some “indigestion”. On the next day (a transport-day to the next location) I felt quite weak, but fortunately it was over after one day.

Arenal: Kolibris am Morgen, direkt unterhalb der Zimmer
Hummingbird refuelling nectar

We continued our trip to Arenal, and the National Park Volcán Arenal. The Arenal Observatory Lodge is situated on top of a hill with fantastic views, including view to the volcano (currently dormant), and with hummingbirds flying in the park directly around the lodges. The area around the hotel has many kilometres of hiking trails  very much accessible for own tours. This part of the country is located already in the mountains. So from that perspective, the temperature is not so high, around 25°C, still very much pleasant, often with a little bit of wind.


With a local guide from the Lodge, we made a first tour on the next day, directly around the lodge, very nice tour. Then we took the bus to the National-Park and made another hiking tour there. As this is located in the mountains, at an altitude of about 1300m, the landscape and the forests and plants are quite different from the hot-wet climate of the rain-forest at the Caribbean coast.

Quetzal (Männchen)
Quetzal (the male)

The national park Monteverde was the next station of our tour. Situated so-to-say on the other side of the mountains. The usual weather direction in Costa Rica means that we changed from a rain forest to a cloud forest area. Also here we hired a local guide, first appeared to be a quite serious person, but turned out to not only be very knowledgeable, of course, but also explained in a humorous way all the wild-life, flora and fauna, around us. But before he could even start, there was a sighting of a pair of Quetzal birds. People go there just to see them, and won’t find them for days. But we got to see them when entering the park. Really Fantastic! This is a quite rare bird species, that was already admired as a holy bird by the Maya and Aztecan. At the park entrance there is a kind of hummingbird feeding station. Although I must admit that I think such tourist attractions are questionable, I also admit that seeing a dozen hummingbirds at 2m distance (and taking fantastic pictures) is indeed a great experience. I really love those birds!

Kolibri, ca. 5-6cm lang
Hummingbird, approx. 5-6cm long

We also made a hiking tour over rope bridges in the park. The trail follows the side of hills with some ups and downs and crosses the valleys via hanging rope bridges. From there you can view straight into the treetops, which you normally only see from the bottom. A quite interesting viewpoint for a change. Muy interessante 🙂


Another contrast: from the cloud forest back to rainforest at the Pacific Coast at Montezuma. Temperatures at 36-38°C and almost 100% humidity. You can only look for shade, but you sweat even if not moving. But the “not moving” part, we couldn’t do, we made another hiking tour in the national park Cabo Blanco. Although this time I left my camera backpack in the hotel and only took camera with the normal lens. Better for hiking, although I missed the tele-lens a few times. At Montezuma we also had a relaxation day, where we went with the boat to the Isla Tortuga, where we had a nice lunch and the opportunity to do some snorkelling.


From Montezuma on to the last station in Manuel Antonio, also at the pacific coast, with a king tour in the national park with the same name, Manuel Antonio. Oh boy, never in my life did I sweat that hard. 38°C, high humidity … this time with full camera equipment … I almost melted away … but it was worth it. We took very much time to intensively watch the wildlife there… monkeys, birds, lizards of all sorts. It was really fantastic!


A small side-topic … the roads in Costa Rica: well, actually the roads are quite good. But it felt like 75% of the time we went over gravel roads. But really bad gravel roads, with pot holes the size of a Smart car. Our bus was at the borderline of what it could tolerate (and beyond), so were we.

This is a small price … for a really great country, for friendly people and fantastic nature! And once more thanks a million to Elena who organized this splendid trip, and also to Xavi our local guide, who showed us so much and also organized a lot of things every day.

My photography statistic, I took around 4500 pictures, sometimes difficult environment, with birds, monkey, reptiles behind bushes and moving foliage. With a 100-400mm focal lens, you have to experiment a bit. So in the evenings I screened and deleted pictures and brought back 1500, out of which with a big screen at home I sorted out about 950 “good ones”. I made a little picture gallery with the “Best” 165. I would say that I have about 20-30 “wow” pictures there. I think that’s a splendid result for a photo-amateur like me. So it was worth it also from that side 🙂