A day in the saddle - Routines during a world trip by bike
How do you experience a day in the saddle while doing a bike touring trip? You can read all about it here in this blog, where we tell all about a cycling day in France.
06.30am - Two weeks in the saddle and step by step we are growing in our rhythm and routines. Before the alarm clock awakens us, we open our eyes. Yesterday evening we took a dip in the lake so we feel fresh and ready to start a new day. Niels is always the one waking up first, followed a bit later by Stefanie who struggles with mornings a bit more. We chat about the previous day and what it meant for the legs to conquer the first cols in the Vosges of France. Around 7am we crawl out of our Hilleberg Nallo Tent and prepare ourselves for a next day in the saddle. This morning routine during the cycling trip originated spontaneously, without words. We are together for almost five years so it's also probably easier to direct towards each others strengt and weaknesses.
Our morning routine on a cycling day
07.00am - If you have ever done a cycle touring trip, you know you use up a lot of calories even before the actual cycling starts. Assembling your cloths and sleeping gear, packing up the tent and preparing the bikes... That's why we choose to eat a quick snack or piece of fruit to start with and wait for breakfast until everything is packed and ready to go. We love food and enjoying a nice breakfast without rushing is essential for our mood.
Stefanie is responsible for the inner tent - putting away the sleeping pads, sleeping bags and clothes. Meanwhile Niels cleans up the outer tent and put everything in our Ortlieb panniers so they are ready to put on the racks. Inbetween we enjoy a wash up and toilet visit!
Once we are dressed up in our cycling cloths we pack away the tent together. Depending on the weather this is. This morning is dry and sunny, but when it rains this is the last task so we can still enjoy our breakfast in dry conditions. When the tent is all packed up and everything is inside our Ortlieb panniers we attach them to the racks on our Surly's.
07.45am - Time for some peace, quiet and breakfast! We are still getting used to the effort this morning routine takes. Only two weeks ago this almost took up 1.5hour but we are getting quicker by the day. We have some leftover pancakes from yesterday and we treat ourselves with some peanut butter, Banana and chocolate paste! So lovely and all the calories we need to start the day. Most days however, we cook some oatmeal with fruit, chocolate and nuts. While we are eating we plan the route a little bit and download the gpx file onto our Wahoo Elemnt Roam GPS.
08.15am - After a last toilet visit on the campsite and filling up our water bottles we jump on the bike. We say goodbye to Camping du Lac en take some nice pictures around the lake. It feels awesome waking up in the midst of magnificent nature!
08.30am - After only 100 meters we start to ascend further into the Vosges. We immediately throw out some layers of clothing.
09.30am - The first victory of the day, the Col des Feignes at 954m of altitude has been conquered. We take a short break to put away more cloths and enjoy some muesli and fruits. After ascending almost 900meters yesterday we feel our legs need some getting used to all this climbings, but we love it.
10.30am - We decide to stop at a local supermarket. We will be cycling through little villages the next days and already noticed you can be unlucky with groceries in these small places. Opening hours are unpredictable and we buy food for two lunches, diner, fruit and some snacks.
12.30pm - After reaching the top of the second col of the day we feel everything goes very smoothly. We reached the col de Bramont starting in La Bresse, a 3.4km climb with an average climbing rate of 6.7%. Nothing too big, but we are still getting used to climbing with packed bikes. Sweat drops with plenty of sunscreen annoy our eyes and we feel our bike setup is not perfect yet for climbing, but we enjoy every moment. We receive a lot of thumbs up from other cyclists and get some nice encouragements along the way. The descend is even prettier with plenty of hairpin bends and we quickly arrive at a small local church. Temperatures rise every minute and we fill up our water bottles in a fountain. It's a good thing we did groceries, all shops are closed!
We take a look at the upcoming days and not a lot of altitude is awaiting us. Because of the heath we decide to call it a day and see there is a very nice and cheap campground only 3km from our lunch spot.
The longest 3km on the bike so far!
02.30pm - What. The. Hell?! Just after our lunch break we received at a road block. This happened a lot already, but thus far there had always been a good alternative. Now it turned out to be a long and difficult detour. Dragging our bikes up and over tree trunks and rocks in 35ºC was not the end of the day we were looking forward to. The paths got very narrow and at some points it felt safer to move forward bike by bike. Some bruises and perfect teamwork later we finally arrived at our campground. Surrounded by some Tour de France fans we happily enjoyed the nice nature around us.
05.00pm - We not only have a morning routine of course, but also an evening route. After finding a nice spot in the shade we put up our tent together. Stefanie enjoys arranging and preparing our inner tent for the night, while Niels is checking the bikes. We came across a lot of sharp materials today and the chains and chainrings got quite dirty, so they enjoy a necessary quick wash and some fresh T9 waxing oil. After this we treat ourselves with a well deserved ice cream!
06.00pm - While Niels prepares diner Stefanie is taking a shower. For diner pasta with fresh vegetables is one of our favourites. It's easy to prepare, almost always to find and provides us with the necessary carbs and vitamines. We chat a bit with our neighbours and after the meal Stefanie is the one who washes the dishes while Niels takes a shower. No matter the temperature, on evenings like this it's necessary to put on long clothes with all the mosquitos flying around us. We love our Icebreaker outfit, even on hot nights it provides us with the necessary ventilation.
08.00pm - We catch up with family through Skype and eat a little bit of chocolate before turning on our e-readers. We read for 15 tot 30 minutes before we fall asleep on our Nemo sleeping pads. Another day in paradise, good night!