Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Prologue

In a sign that this was a tour where not everything would go smoothly, Roberto Peon sent e-mail the night before that he was going to abandon the tour due to a long running hip injury that led his doctor to ban him from doing rides longer than 20 miles. Since he had a wedding coming up, I thought that his chances of participating in the tour was pretty low in the first place, but this was still the first time anyone's abandoned a tour despite having already purchased plane tickets.

There was a 6:00am traffic jam due to some careless driver dropping a piece of furniture on the freeway at 5:00am, but we all made it to the airport with time enough to checkin, and the flight was generally uneventful. We did end up in a bicycling themed lounge in Toronto for lunch though!
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010


Upon arrival in Munich, it was the next day, but at 8:00am. After clearing customs, all the bikes showed up in the luggage area, but the tandem's box was in extremely bad shape, leading me to discard the box. I saw that despite my attempts to reinforce the box, the rear dérailleur hanger had been bent, and the rear wheel was out of true. We went to the S-Bahn station, where I bought a Partner Tageskarte from another traveler for a slight discount off the fare, and then 5 bike tickets. The partner day ticket lets 5 people travel on one ticket for 18.80 Euros, which is the cheapest way for this many people to travel from the airport to downtown Munich.

It was raining when we dis-embarked at the main train station (Hauptbahnof) and we walked in the general direction of the hotel. In the rain though, the hotel was harder to find than expected, putting pressure on the navigators to speed up the search. Cynthia dug up her Edge 705 and we left the luggage behind to scout for the hotel. It turned out to be right down the street, so we immediately went back to tell everyone the good news.

We proceeded to the hotel, checked in, and proceeded to put the bikes into proper riding condition. I immediately rode our tandem to one of the local bike shops to get the repairs done. While I would have been able to true the wheel myself, the bent hanger required a dedicated tool which I don't generally carry with me, and I had plenty of other things to do.

By the time I returned to the hotel, Cynthia told me that while we were scouting for the hotel, she had put down her cycle-gear bag and had not picked it up when we walked to the hotel! She searched around the train station, checked lost and found, and other locations but did not find it, and was now forced to buy all new equipment for the tour, the toughest one being shoes of the right size for her non-German feet. She had also lost her saddlebag, so Kekoa volunteered to buy a rack and panniers and let her use his saddlebag instead.

Lisa and I made a train trip down to our former apartment in Pullach, where our former landlady made excuses about why she never returned our security deposit. Our return put her in an embarrassing situation, and she promised that she would have our money when we returned from the tour.

Our other problem was the weather, which had rain forecasted for the foreseeable future. With Grossglockner's summit forecast for near freezing temperatures, my original plan to ride the Grossglockner highway first was out of the question. It took the rest of the day to get Cynthia more clothes and Kekoa panniers and racks. Cynthia wanted to try a bigger store (Karstad sports) the next morning. I hoped (but did not expect) that the forecast would change the next day.

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