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Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

Not on the doping list

Still relatively fit behind Leverkusen

I had to think of Marcel Wüst today. “Do you really believe that after a difficult mountain stage of the Tour de France, we could be back on the next day as if nothing had happened?”, asked me the former German road bicycle racer at the end of the 1990s. “Actually, we urgently need a rest day. But we do not get that. So we have to help ourselves, according to the motto: Permitted is what is not on the doping list.” Today I felt like after a mountain stage. Yesterday’s ride with 186 kilometers was still working hard in me. My legs were heavy, I tortured myself with my folding bike further down the Rhine.

Little headwind

Port entrance in Duisburg

During the first ten kilometers – according to my experience, they are the most difficult of the day, because the body has to come to life – my wife accompanied me. This distracted me and I was not listening to my body talk. Behind Leverkusen, however, I cycled alone, on the left side of the Rhine. It was cool, but dry. I felt very quickly that I would never and ever on this ninth day of my donation bike ride “School up! River down!” get into the same “flow”, which had carried me the day before from Bingen to Cologne. The low point came somewhere between the towns of Neuss and Duisburg. The wind was rather a breeze compared to what I had experienced last week in the south-west of Germany, but it came just from the front and slowed me down. I had little reserves to keep it.

Coffee and grain

Power station behind Duisburg

So I was almost happy to reach the industrial plants of Krefeld and later Duisburg, which blocked the wind. In Alt-Homberg, a suburb of Duisburg, I decided to strengthen myself in a bakery with a cup of coffee. Caffeine is no longer on the doping list. While the machine was brewing the coffee, the saleswoman told me about a bicycle tour she had made with her Dutch bike from Frankfurt to Duisburg many years ago. “In the Taunus I ruined my knee,” she said. “It took almost half a year before I was free of pain again. I would have better taken the route along the Rhine.” I didn’t tell her that after nine days of cycling along the Rhine my legs felt like a soft currant bun. Instead, I bought two grain bars.

Not finished room

Sheep herd shortly ahead of Ossenberg

Was it the coffee or were it the bars or the combination of both? Howsoever, the last section of this bike day was a little easier. However, this time I had some difficulties finding a bed for the night. “The next trade fair in Düsseldorf is just around the corner, we are fully booked with business people” explained a hotel employee in Rheinberg, some 20 kilometers behind Duisburg. On the next call I got a refusal too, on the same grounds. However, only first. A few minutes later the hotelier from Rheinberg-Ossenberg called me back. He had a room which was just being renovated but not yet finished, he said: “A bed is there, a sofa and the bathroom is functional. Do you want this room at a special price?” What a question! Of course, after 117 hard kilometers from Cologne to Ossenberg. Afterwards, I allowed myself what is also not on the doping list: a „Robber Spit“ with 300 grams of meat, a huge portion of fried potatoes and a beer.


19. September 2017 | 23:17