Father’s Day = training day

7 weeks to go until I set off to my next zis fundraising tour. There won’t be much raising funds though this year because of the financial situation many companies are in. But let’s see.

Yesterday, I did my first 100k with full gear in beautiful weather. Most things work fine allready. Electric power supply is still a bit unresolved. Also, my solar panel is not mounted yet.

Cycled from my home into the beautiful Palatinate area to visit my friend Michl there and have a proper barbecue – yummie. Arrived exhausted but happy ūüėČ

A tour around East Germany

Finally, after numerous iterations, I think I have figured out my 2020 tour.

I will follow the Eastern German borders.
First, I will cycle from Heidelberg eastbound to Görlitz at the border to Poland and the Check Republic. Then I will turn North, following the German-Polish border until reaching the Baltic Sea. Then, I will follow the coastline westbound until I meet the former border between the two Germanies. From there on, I will go South again. 2.500km and the areas should be quit rural and lovely.

Testing my mental agility

Bike tours a great ways of self-isolation, especially when you travel alone, sleep in a tent and cook your own food along the way. Hence I always felt kind of ok with planning my trip for 2020 and it gave me something to look forward to in this crazy year.

However, after talking to friends in the US, I finally had to accept that there will be no possiblity for a bike tour through this country in 2020. This is quite depressing, I find. So, I planned for a backup tour through Canada.

After following the news and the Covid-19 statistics from Canada, I had to accept that also this country will be most likely still closed down in July still. What a pitty – I had just fallen in love with this country and the tour.

However, I am not ready to entirely give up my plans for a big tour in 2020. So, Plan C is a self-isolation bike tour through the East and North of Germany. Let’s hope for the best!

Easter 2020 – Training Time

Because of the Corona crisis, I don’t know if and when my tour through North America is going to happen. I have one tour prepared from San Francisco to Denver and in case the situation in the US should be too bad, I have another one mapped out through Canada going from Vancouver to Winnipeg. Both tours lead to pretty remote areas with a lot of wildlife. I get really exitited thinking about it. I don’t know what is going to happen, but nonetheless, I keep on training and prepairing. My goal is to have completed at least 2,500km this year on the bike before I go on my tour. I have allready reached 1,800km.

Over the Easter holidays, I spent 4 days cycling, using and testing my all new gear. The bike itself with the 4l water tank, the packing system and the GoPro mount as well as the tent, air matrace, gas cooker, water filtration system and solar panel. I spent three nights in the tent and I am loving it. My biggest luxury on my next tour – believe it or not – will be a foldable stool (a tribute to age).

My setup for 2020 and beyond

This is my new bike setup, proudly sponsored by Bikeage from Bammental, Germany. I figured that for my tours through the more remote parts of the world I needed some more stability and also more space for my stuff.

The basis is a Böttcher Randonneur made of steel with mechanic disc brakes and a Shimano 105 setup. The bags are Orlieb and Apidura. The watertank holds 4 litres and is from an Australian company. It is called Cranktank4. There will be an additional bag at the back for tent, sleeping bag, matrace etc.

On my tour, I will get to see one of the oldest and largest living organisms on the planet

On my tour, I will cycle through the Fishlake National Park in Utah. By coincidence I found out that an organism named Pando is living there. It is supposedly one of the oldest and largest living organisms on the planet. Can’t wait to see it.

Despite its huge resilience, it seems to be suffering because of human interference.

Bildergebnis f√ľr pando aspen picture"

Pando¬†(Latin¬†for “I spread out”), also known as the¬†trembling giant,[1][2]¬†is a¬†clonal colony¬†of an individual male¬†quaking aspen¬†(Populus tremuloides) determined to be a single living organism by identical¬†genetic markers[3]¬†and assumed to have one massive underground¬†root system. The plant is located in the Fremont River Ranger District of the¬†Fishlake National Forest¬†at the western edge of the¬†Colorado Plateau¬†in south-central¬†Utah, United States, around 1 mile (1.6¬†km) southwest of¬†Fish Lake.[4]¬†Pando occupies 43 hectares (106 acres) and is estimated to weigh collectively 6,000,000 kilograms (6,600 short tons),[5]¬†making it the¬†heaviest known organism.[6][7]¬†The root system of Pando, at an estimated 80,000 years old, is among the¬†oldest known living organisms.[8][9]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pando_(tree)

Preparation has started

Corporate sponsors wanted! If you believe that fostering the young generation is important then this might be interesting to you… Just about 4 more months to go until I set off to the 3rd part of “Around the World by Bike – powered by Leadership Choices”. Beginning of June 2020, I will cycle about 2,500 km from San Francisco to Denver to raise money for www.zis-reisen.de.

zis is a non-profit organization that has been awarding scholarships for study trips to young people between the ages of 16 and 20 for more than 60 years now. This time the route will take me through many national parks and the entire Rocky Mountains. My goal is to raise money for at least 30 scholarships, i.e. 27,000 ‚ā¨.

Please send me a message if you want to become a corporate sponsor: karsten.drath@leadership-choices.com

Day 18: Salses-le-Ch√Ęteau to Montpellier (166km)

Je suis arrivé! The day started on nasty roads that I had to share with a lot of trucks. It took me quite a while to finally find the Eurovelo 8.

Around noon, I reached a landscape that was very comparable to the Camargue. A lot of water, swamps, little rivers and small roads without much traffic. Really beautiful.

It reminded me of the first day of this trip, when I cycled through a beautiful and totally empty national park which begins South of Lisbon.

Because of the many detours the route was a little longer than expected. However, I was pretty determined to make it to Montpellier today.

Despite of the weather forecast, it did not rain and I had a also a little bit of tailwind.

Since I am now 1,000km more North than Gibraltar, the sunset is about an hour later. Isn’t that amazing? I arrived by 8pm with daylight feeling a little tired but very content.

There were times on this trip when I doubted that I would make it. My left ankle caused problems at one point and I was surprised how quickly it healed. The level of donations was below my expectations which was and is a little frustrating for me. Around midway of this tour, my mental and physical energy felt pretty much depleted. It was not always fun.

There were times, when I even secretly hoped that someone could have stolen my bike forcing me to rest and fly home comfortably.

But another part in me was always determined to just hang in there and carry on. Little steps, hour after hour, one day after the other. It is amazing that if you carry on for enough days in a row you can actually cover huge distances.

Insight of the day: We are capable of so much more than we believe!

Day 10: Almer√≠a to √Āguilas (141km)

Today was an early start. By 8:30 hrs I was on the bike heading northeast. My family had send me this picture. It made me very happy ūüíē. It shows Carolin, my wife, Tabea and Samuel (Hannah and Kara are missing) as well as Fabio, our favorite Italian restaurant owner.

At the start, I first had to climb up to a very dry plateau which I had to cross over 60km. Towards the downhill part, I met to other cyclists and we chatted a bit. Once cyclists talk to you here, you can be sure that they are not Spaniards. Also here, it was an Englishman who started the conversation. He lives six months here during Winter. Seems to be a common and compelling concept.

Towards lunchtime I stopped in Carboneras. I was so tired that I almost fell asleep during the eating. So I went for a little Siesta under a tree and I indeed fell asleep immediately. Very refreshing.

Afterwards, there were only smaller climbs and rolling hills. A couple of times I was overtaken by a group of Swiss bikers. Then I caught them again when they were having one of their many breaks. Race biker are a very special group of people. If you want to belong, you have to comply with a special set of rules. If not, you will be ignored by everyone.

Insight of the day: When what you are doing is supposed to be fun – and it is actually not – then it might be time to change your approach.