Report 18
RACE AGAINST TIME Week 14+15: from June 5 till June 13

Dear reader,

This week I didn’t do any cycling. No, I’ve been fighting and struggling and I was constantly blown down by this persistent severe headwind coming from the east. Hardship like this can’t be called cycling! I know it sounds illogical but the only advantage of this never ceasing adverse wind is that it strengthens my endurance. I don’t get tired any longer.

The first night after my parents have left I spend in a beautiful camping-site in the peaceful green province of Drenthe in the Netherlands. The next days I ride through the North of Germany, many a time ferrying across the rivers and estuaries. Touring the North of Germany for days means I’m getting a real impression of the average man in the North of Germany, which isn’t a flattering one, I’m afraid. Easy to imagine him with his well-developed beer belly, half-long hair and the eternal cigarette dangling from his mouth.

After 3 days in all weathers in this unfamiliar part of Germany I arrive at the border crossing to Denmark. Immediately I get a preview of the price difference between the two countries: the tiny border village is crammed with shops.
Every good housewife knows that when prices are low you have to lay in supplies. The modern houseman inside of me wakes up and I pop into my favourite shop.

Crossing the border means I’m leaving behind the well-structured traffic situations and the many roadsigns in Germany. The lack of signposts in this so-called Promised Land for cyclists confuses me frequently.

Ribe my first stop in Denmark brings me back to times past when the Vikings were still conquering. The oldest town of Denmark goes all the way back to the 8th century and is just what I needed to satisfy my historical curiosity. The ancient beautifully restored houses make it a town to fall in love with.

The weather is splendid and hot when I reach Skanderborg. It’s a place where once the Danish kings used to come together to discuss state affairs. Mostly Dutch and Danes – fishing and canoeing aficionados - visit this most attractive lake. I make it my home for 2 days, lingering on its shores. Tomorrow I’ll go on an outing to the nearby town of Aarhus, but first a refreshing challenge awaits me: I plunge into the lake and make it to the opposite shore while working out all the muscles I have been neglecting cycling.

Aarhus, the second town of Denmark exudes the student atmosphere. As
Copenhagen is not on the agenda I have to collect the Danish City feeling here. I go for a stroll through Den Gamble By - a collection of dozens of historical buildings from all over Denmark - and admire churches, houses and old crafts.

Wondering what the title of this report is all about? Well, I have some explaining to do! Yesterday, Thursday (mind you, the 13th!) around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, I was lingering and sunbathing on the shores of the lake of Viborg. Tomorrow I’m taking the boat to Norway, I thought, somewhere around midnight, if I remembered correctly! A quick glimpse on my ticket confirmed my thoughts. There it was all written down. Date: Friday June 14, embarkation time: 00.30 a.m. No panic … it’s still Thursday … tomorrow is another day! … And that was the last second of my indolence … 00.30 on Friday meant … within a couple of hours! I felt like struck by lightening. In less than half an hour my complete household was swooped up and I could start an endurance test of 113km. (another 13, do you get the point?) I’ve seen stars last night -many of them - and I can assure you that when you see them on a Scandinavian midsummer night something must be very wrong with you!
At about 10 p.m. I reached the quay … whacked out! I had made it!


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