Black Forest - Day 5 : From Trippstad to Bad herrenalb
During the night everything had gotten pretty moisty in the valley, so it wasn't nice to wake up in the morning.
The lake in the same valley as the campsite
This was the nice nature reserve where we had arrived last night.
The first kilometers of cycling were tough. It went uphill for 8 km, I think with about 6%. The surroundings were very nice with a lot of trees and rocks. When we reached the top of the mountain it proved worthwhile, we had a very long descent. It was about 10 km long and after laying down on our bikes we would reach around 40 km/h. At a certain moment I could even keep up with a car, until I had to wait for Bram whose bike is less fast. At one point I was more than a minute ahead of him.
At the base of the mountain, in Annweiler, we had lunch next to a pond. There were swans and ducks. When we threw a piece of bread in the water they became so fast it almost seemed like they walked on water. We were supposed to go to Leinsweiler, but that was only accessible over a road we weren't allowed to cycle on. We could also take a smaller road, but that would involve a lot of back tracking. We tried to simply follow roads going roughly in the right direction, until we reached a forest. There were marked cycling routes, including to our desired destination. We had to climb a mountain over a sandy road which was really tough. At the top were some touristy things, but no signs indicating were the roads ended up. Nobody there knew how to get anywhere.
Fortunately we found a man on a mountain bike. He looked like a real Belgium cycling fanatic, with a ponytail. He knew how to get to our village over the large roads, but he had another proposal. We just needed to follow him because he happened to go to the same village (on his mountain bike). First we took a normal paved road, then he suddenly took a dirt road straight down the mountain. After all sorts of super narrow paths with trees, rocks, sand, gras, flies, twigs in your eyes, and nearly falling about 44 times we reached the village. The man was very friendly though and pointed us in the right direction. From there we followed part of the Deutsche Weinstrasse (the German wine street), a route following all sorts of vineyards.
Here we saw the first sign of the Black Forest: Karlsruhe
There are quite a lot of vineyards in Germany. After all the delays things were going smooth again. There even was a straight section, about 10 km long, where we rotated front position and averaged around 26 km/h. It turned out we were only 2 km from the French border, which explained all the French text messages from telecom providers we received. After the straight road we came to the Rhine river. There we took the ferry and soon afterwards saw the outskirts of the Black Forest.
The Black Forest emerges. It suddenly got hilly after a long flat stretch along the Rhine.
Our plan had been to cycle to Karlsruhe in 5 or 6 days and from there enter the Black Forest. Because we were ahead of schedule we decided to just enter right away, so we had a day extra. The cycling went pretty well, until 30 km before our intended campsite, where it became mountainous . We passed through a village which we thought unusually steep.
Roads were really steep in this village
The next two kilometers took us about 20 minutes because we kept needing to stop to catch our breath. When we got to the top we saw why, here are some pictures:
Left: Bram at the top of the 15% hill. Right: Myself, you can see its getting dark already.
The road had a 15% incline. On pictures it's hard to see how steep that is, but basically if someone is standing 10 meters uphill from you, you would be looking at their feet. The rest of the road towards the campsite was less steep. We switched our lights on as it had gotten dark. The last section was a decent where Bram went first because he had a headlight. We went down while continuously breaking. It wasn't ideal, without any streetlights, but we made it down in one piece.
The campsite was in Bad Herrenalb, a nice town that was a pretty touristy. There was a very confusing sign showing that both a gym and the campsite were to the left, but there were no distances indicated. It took over a kilometer before we realized we had missed it. Fortunately, the way back was all downhill. Whenever we were unsure about which way to go we took the uphill direction, that way if we were wrong we just needed to descent.
It was 22:03 when we arrived and noticed the sign saying the campsites' front desk closes at 22:00. There was no-one to be seen. We decided to just pitch our tents and try to pay tomorrow morning. After some cycling we found the area for tents, which didn't look great. It was on a steep incline and there was some weird dude air drumming by himself. When we had pitched our tents we were really looking forward to a warm shower. It turned out you could only shower if you payed with special tokens, which you had to buy at the now closed front desk. We had no choice but to go to sleep dirty.
Left: We started climbing towards Johanniskreuz, but afterwards came a 17 km decent. In the right bottom you can see where we crossed the forest near Trifels. Right: Today was a long ride, because we were so far ahead of schedule we already entered the Black Forest.
It took us 5 days and 560 kilometers to get here, that is an average of 112 km per day through the hills.
Distance cycled : 123 km