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Black Forest - Day 5 : From Trippstad to Bad herrenalb
During the night everything had gotten damp in the valley, so it wasn't nice to wake up in the morning.

Trippstadt

A lake in the same valley as the campsite

Trippstadt

This was the nice nature reserve where we arrived last night.
 

The first kilometers of cycling were tough. It went uphill for 8 km, I think at about 6%. The area was very nice with a lot of trees and rocks. When we reached the top of the mountain the climb proved worth the effort, as we had a very long descent. It was about 10 km and we averaged 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 was 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 the animals became so fast it almost seemed like they walked on the 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 decided to simply follow any roads leading roughly in the right direction. At some point we reached a forest with clearly marked cycling routes. We had to climb a steep hill over a dirt road with deep sand, which was really tough. At the top were some touristy things, but no signs indicating which road we had to take. None of the tourists there knew anything about the area either.

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 main roads, but he had another proposal. We just needed to follow him, 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 our 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

After all the delays things were finally going smooth. There even was a straight section, about 10 km long, where we rotated cycling in 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 we received. After the straight road we arrived at the Rhine river. There we took a ferry and soon afterwards we saw the outskirts of the Black Forest.

Cycling in 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 an extra day. The cycling went well, until it got mountains about 30 km before our intended campsite. We passed through a village with unusually steep roads.

village in the black forest

The roads were really steep in this village
 

The next two kilometers took us about 20 minutes because we kept having to catch our breath. When we got to the top we saw why: 

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Left: Bram at the top of the 15% hill. Right: Myself, you can see it was getting dark.

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 on our lights and started the descent. Bram went first because he was the only one with a front light. We went down while breaking continuously. It wasn't great, without any streetlights, but we made it down in one piece.
 

Our campsite was in a touristy town called Bad Herrenalb. 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 closed at 22:00. There was no-one to be seen. We decided to just pitch our tents and try to pay in the 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 you had to pay with special tokens to shower and these were only available at the now closed front desk. We had no choice but to go to sleep dirty.

Left: We started climbing towards Johanniskreuz, but afterwards reached a 17 km long 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 had taken us 5 days and 560 kilometers to reach the Black Forest, at an average of 112 km per day.

Distance cycled : 123 km