Day 5 – May 8, 2013

Weimar – Frauenwald : 70 km

The best plans have flexibility built into them which allow for ad hoc decisions and today was a good example. During my planning of the trip the one thing that had concerned me was how to ride up the mountain range of the Thüringer Wald. imageThis is where the source of the Ilm river can be found and the last few kilometers are straight up. Several people I spoke to on my trip thought I was crazy to even attempt it.

So I did my research and discovered there is a bike taxi service that takes bikers to the top of the mountains so they can ride down! I called them and they were able to accept my reservation and I was to meet them at the Eiscafe in Stadtilm. I also found out from them that Stützerbach, we I had originally planned to stay tonight was not yet top of the mountain range. Frauenwald is, so I quickly found a hotel there and canceled my previous abode. All this I had to arrange from my hotel in Weimar which meant I wasn’t able to leave until 11:30 but still had to ride the 45 kilometers to Stadtilm. The route did become hilly already as can be seen from the photo above but the fact that I had a goal to reach called “Eiscafe” (Ice Cream Cafe) made the 45 km seem like nothing. This part of my trip produced some of the prettiest scenery so far. The river Ilm started to get much smaller and was running even faster which can be seen from the video. This meant I was going up!

So this was the first time I had a taste of hilly country and realized just how much work it is pushing 40 kg uphill. Even attempting to ride the 40 kg uphill was out of the question. After all this is still not the Tour de France. I cannot describe the feeling of satisfaction as I biked into the market square of Stadtilm to see my chauffeur waiting for me by the ice cream parlor. I handed over the bike and went and ordered a triple scoop of the most exotic flavors I have ever eaten.The taxi trip to the top of the mountain was only about 15 km but was I pleased to have discovered it.

This meant I arrived at my hotel before 18:00 which gave me time to relax, have a sauna, eat a great local meal and watch some television. Before retiring to my room I sat down with the hotel owner’s son to find the best route out of the hotel and down the mountain. Maybe with my downhill run, it will look a little more like the Tour de France. I have now passed the halfway point of my trip and tomorrow will also be leaving what was Eastern Germany and entering the West. Then I will have a day of rest in Bad Kissingen which is 117 miles away in Bavaria.