Much Cyclocrossing

Since I’ve been back from Vienna, I’ve increased my cyclocross training to five times a week – cyclocross, training rides, whatever I call it, basically getting on my bike around 8am and doing an hour fifteen in the saddle. The result of this is in the last two weeks I’ve done around 180km each week, and fairly pounded my poor bike. So this morning, instead of riding again, I got up early and equipped with tools, brushes, sweetly evil-smelling hydrocarbons, rags, sat outside and stripped the poor thing down and gave it a seeing to.

It’s horrific how disgusting the chain, rings, derailleurs can get, sandy black cheesy gunk everywhere, from six months of biking without a proper clean. It took two hours to get the worst out, going through the chain one link at a time, huffing the cleaner, getting grease everywhere while eating a chocolate croissant with coffee. I was reminded how much I like working on mechanical stuff. I’m pretty sure if I had a garage and an old car to restore I’d be in there every weekend like Michelle Rodriguez in Fast & Furious up to my elbows in tools and engine parts; satisfying beyond words, especially later with dirt under fingernails.

Bike is clean now, and as for the actual biking, I’ve started doing what I think of as the ‘C’ route, from Uferhallen along Saatwinkler Damm to Bernauer Str, through the forest and along the side of Tegeler See, then looping back through Jungfernheide along a zig-zag series of paths coming to the east end of Flughafensee, and then semi-retracing my steps, but this time staying on the south side of the main trail through the forest, closer to the airport, and arriving again at Saatwinkler Damm – kind of a giant, scrawled, 35km ‘C’.

I got a bit turned around yesterday, there’s so many paths wide and narrow, and instead of going alongside the Vögel Schutzgebiet, I ended up alongside a large, forested, swamp-like depression I’d never seen before. Perfect for photographing some shibari installation; but that’s for another time. Also I discovered a number of single-track paths I’d never been along before which are pretty rough and make for hectic riding. Bike of course loves it, and I’ve become a much better rider from dealing with sand traps, treacherous ball bearing-like pinecones, tree roots and most of a forest that becomes hilariously lethal when riding at any pace. Bike needs to go into shop though; headset and other things are trashed from two years of this.