A day of high mileage and few memories make for a tedious retelling. What makes the retelling more tedious is I finished this post 5 minutes ago, and upon returning to the homepage it has disappeared. So I have to endure recounting these 237 forgettable miles again. Joy. Are you eager to read on? Have I sold it?
Strava indicates I had a lumpy morning in the Czech Republic followed by a flatter evening in Austria. I recall some rather pretty roads coming out of the higher ground in the Czech Republic. They were quiet and it was warm; so whilst incomplete in my mind, I believe it was a fine morning.
My first solid recollection is stopping in the late afternoon at a garage in Deutsch Wagram. I made several trips to the kiosk, obviously a hungry boy. After this substantial refuel I decided that I had legs, and I would crack on into the night to see how far said legs would take me.
Austria provided one of the best sunsets of the race, the entire sky burning across the vast flat lands leading towards the Danube. So a pleasant introduction to the evening.
Once across the Danube the inevitable hunger and tiredness struck, this as usual I do recall. There were no hotels anywhere near my route for the foreseeable so I reluctantly accepted I’d be in the bivvy. Right now though food was a more pressing concern. There was very little open, not even the garages which normally provided my out of hours cuisine.
In Prellen Kirchen I wheeled down the main drag slowly, a bar showing the only signs of life. I dismissed it initially, but on reflection decided anything was worth ago. I entered the bar and was met with a room of old Austrian men who had little interest in my SLOW and LOUD English. Luckily, a bar maid appeared, she feigned interest and gave me a menu. All I could decipher was Schnitzel. A Schnitzel is never a bad choice, and in these trying times it was also an easy choice. The Schnitzel came with a salad, chips and plate stacked with some of the tastiest potatoes I’ve ever had. Far more than I’d bargained for, which was A-OK with me. This as usual was washed down with a beer. Delicious. As I paid up I felt rather smug with myself. A mere 5 or 6 days ago I would have ridden straight past places like this. It seems you learn quickly as your body slowly emaciates before your very eyes.
A little further down the road whilst trundling round a car park looking for somewhere to sleep I see a flashing red light zip by. I’m on it immediately, the prospect of a quick chat to get me a few miles further down the road is not something to ignore. Turns out to be Ben (#114) who again has used common sense to advise his hotel in Hungary that he will be there, albeit in the early hours. As we part company I again rue my own inexperience that meant I’d dismissed all hotels with 2200 check in times. I hate myself even more as I sit in a bus stop fully aware I’m not going to settle here, and that every second on this bench is time utterly wasted.
I spend a few more minutes indulging in self loathing before getting back on the bike. I’m soon on long straight roads and find myself completely engulfed in darkness. From what I can tell the roads are flanked by vast open fields. They don’t entice me, I have no interest in being combine harvested to death in the morning by an over zealous farmer. So I plod on, seriously flagging and desperate to find anywhere to lie down.
Eventually, on another seemingly endless straight I happen on a small chapel randomly plonked on the side of the road. I guess its some sort of memorial, rather than an actual place of worship. I don’t know why this matters to me on the verge of collapse but it does, and I thank whoever built this random tribute to the almighty as I stagger round the back towards my gravelly bed. Its off the road, I’m not overlooked and there’s no habitation for miles. Furthermore its a warm dry night. It turns out to be the best bivvy I have, falling asleep immediately.
So there we go, several paragraphs to explain 237 miles of very little. I hope that was enjoyable…
Day 8 – 237.3 miles. 8,133 feet. 15.0 mph average speed.
114 bpm average HR 3704 calories
Total time: 19:38:30
Active Time: 15:48:59
“Cafe” Time: 3:49:31