Germany West-East Crossing Record Established
|Rider:||Christian Krause, WUCA member #8254|
|Category and Division:||Standard Bicycle, mens 49 and under|
|Start date:||August 23, 2014 at 0830|
|End date:||August 24, 2014 at 1607|
|Elapsed time:||31 hours, 37 minutes|
|Mileage, Average:||475.97mi (766km,) 15.05mph (24.23kph)|
|Start location:||Netherlands/Germany border, K1, 52538 Selfkant Street|
|End location:||Germany/Polish border, Zentendorfer Strasse 29A, 02829, Neisseaue|
|Officials:||Stig Mondahl, Martin Thomassen|
|Crew:||Sheraz H.G. Alam, Flemming Bach, Torben Broegger Speldt, Wicky Fangel Petersen|
By Christian Krause
Where did you start?
The westernmost point in Germany, actually starting in Nederland. On a road going from Nederland (Holland) to Germany – there are border signs saying Nederland and Germany, and also a big rock with a metal plate on, showing where the border is exactly. Just start at the rock – no problem to find it. (The nearest larger known cities are Geilenkirchen and Düsseldorf). There is actually a Bed & Breakfast right at the border – just 10 meters from the start/rock. The whole crew and myself spent the night there – no transport to the startline!
What were conditions like?
We started at 08:30 in dry conditions and some sun. In August the temperature is perfect – around 18 degrees. There was a tailwind at about 5-6 meters per second, which was nice. During the day I got a thunder shower: about one hour of heavy rain. When that cleared it stayed dry for the rest of the ride. Germany is very hilly, but the rain came as I was climbing up the Kassel mountains so when it came to the downhill, the roads were dry again. I ended doing the last 230 km in tail wind – nice!
Why did you want to do a record?
In the old days, Denmark ruled over most of Europe, but has lost it at war. I thought it was time to reclaim Germany – now a Dane holds the record for going across. Actually, cross country record setting is a part of my five year plan. I started in 2011 by finish-ing Race Across America on a four man team, did Paris-Brest-Paris solo in 2011, did set a record cross Denmark in 2012, did finish Race Around Ireland solo in 2013 and now a record cross Ger-many in 2014. It all leads up to doing Race Across America solo in 2016. I think I might just squeeze in another cross country record in 2015!
What equipment did you use? Anything special?
I use a bike frame built for long distance biking – a Specialized Roubaix S-works SL4. Then I use a carbon handlebar with big corners for resting the hands, with gel pads underneath a gel handlebar tape. I also use carbon Zipp 404 wheels for effective wind resistance and use 25 mm Continental GP 4000 S tires to get a more comfortable ride, if the roads are bumpy. And I have to say, that German cities use bricks quite a lot – some very nicely laid but then again some very old stones with tops. I was very glad for the Roubaix bike and 25 mm tires. I also have aerobars attached to a normal race handlebar – to get weight off the hands and relax the back. And the speed also increases quite a lot, when getting down and being aero.
What did you eat & drink?
Drinks: I use a two bottle system on the bike. One bottle contains salts and minerals – I use High5 Zero tablets – and the other bottle contains carbohydrates, proteins and also some electrolytes. It is High 5, a product called 4in1. Foods: Fruits and bananas, sandwiches and McDonalds. Yes – I know, but it is just over one day – so no need for special food.
What was the best part?
Having studied the best possible route from west to east – I made quite a lot of decisions about not going the most direct way directly into the mountains, but instead going along the mountains in a flat area and then turn into the mountains later on. That plan worked and I could maintain a high speed (above 30 km/hour) for the first 230 km of the trip. The first part of the trip was normal terrain – a little up and down – but the middle part of Germany consists of the Kassel Mountains, and the view from the top was breath taking. The last 230 km was again more or less flat terrain – and with a tailwind I did reach some very high speeds – nice to lay in the aerobar and keep 48-52 km/hour going straight out on a flat road – loved it!
What was the hardest part?
I would say two different parts. The climbing through the mountains in the middle of Germany was hard. In just over 200 km you have to climb close to 6,000 altitude meters. But the time from 3 to 5 in the dark of the morning is hard for me – I tend to get very sleepy and fight to keep me awake. I gave up in the end and took a 12 minutes powernap – and on again.
Did anything particularly unusual happen?
I would say getting flashed by a traffic cameras in the last 150 km of the ride made me proud. The speed limit was 30 km/hours in some cities and I came blasting by the cameras above 30 – and got a flash. My follow vehicle kept below the limit of course. I also ran into some road blocks due to road construction – that did cost me in total about one hour. In the night I lost additional 35 minutes trying to find a way around a road block with my follow ve-hicle behind me. Stupid loosing time over that – but the entire road was scraped away in almost 3 km length and it took some cleaver navigating to find small streets that could take me back on the main route. At about 215 km back I came through a German city where the roads were filled with tram tracks. About five tracks in each side of the roads – I had to jump and jump over the tracks, scared to get stuck in a track and fall. Funny – but time consuming.
Where exactly did you finish (so that someone else could find the same spot)?The most eastern part of Germany is a street called Zentendorfer Strasse 29A, 02829, Neisseaue. The Zentendorfer strasse is a paved road that is heading straight towards a river. When the paved road ends you can see the border pole and the river behind it. It is not possible to go any further. The trip ends and the finish line has been crossed when the paved road ends.