Starting weight: 77Kg, the stubborn remnant of a two-week trip three months ago back home to British Columbia, during which I made too many visits with mom to White Spot and other fine purveyors of fat.
Achieved goal: 74Kg.
Diet: Two all-natural peanut-butter-and-honey-sandwiches on homemade seed bread, two generous slices of Panforte made from a recipe by David the American pastry chef in Paris, two dozen dates, two slices of dense, home-made apple cake the recipe of which I do not have because my sister-in-law offered them to me and I didn’t ask, two generous handfuls of mixed nuts, or what they call here in Germany: Student Feed.
One 500ml bottle of Weizenbier.
Six litres of water.
12 and a half hours’ worth of fresh air
Biking: Pump your tires to maximum recommended pressure. Check and oil the chain if need be. Wear bike shorts! If you’re setting out to ride 185Km in one day – about three times what you’re used to – you want your tush to be comfy.
Bring toilet paper. Beware of stinging nettles.
Get up at daybreak and have a couple cups of coffee, then get going. You want to arrive before sundown. It might help to bring a map.
Ride along a set path you’ve studied carefully both online and in various maps from just north of Osnabrück to Buxtehude through farmers’ fields, moorscape, beech forests, pine forests, along narrow paved roads lined with centuries-old oak, past cornfields, tobacco fields, ancient barns, haystacks and wedding announcements made of haystacks.
You’ll also be greeted by great, gagging waves of concentrated, liquified pig manure as you continue through the endless green and over railway tracks, six-lane Autobahn and bridges great and small, get lost a couple of times, curse under your breath at the uselessness of viamichelen.com which recommends you take a right down Doktorstrasse in some Hintertürverkehr town that ends in a cul-de sac blocked by a 150-year-old building, find your way again, get lost again, finally get on the right track and continue through ever-changing landscape dotted with pheasant, deer, hare, birds of prey, herons, dairy cows, sheep, horses, chickens and many, many cats out on the prowl for that elusive rodent.
Curse once again viamichelin.com for listing streets you must take, when, in fact, the street either does not exist or is not posted on any sign.
Ask locals for directions. They are friendly and helpful!
Thank the fact you’re travelling northeast and getting pushed the whole way with prevailing winds, without which the trip would be unthinkable.
Curse yourself for having left your camera’s memory chip in the computer, so all you have is 8Kb of internal memory with which to take a few incredibly crappy photos for this post.
Thank that you had the good sense to buy a new mountain bike to replace the one you rode to Bremen in the opposite direction.
Stop and have lunch on a bed of dry, crackling beech leaves looking up at the blanket of foliage blocking out the daylight and marvel that in only a few weeks it will all be gone and the long northern winter you’ve been trying so hard not to think about will surely be upon us.
Ignore pains in the knee and the feeling you might be developing a Charley horse in both thighs. Breathe deeply.
Call your wife and ask her to take that bottle of beer out of the basement and stick it in the fridge because you want to think about it sitting there waiting as a reward for your day’s efforts.
Don’t tell her your legs hurt.
Ask yourself just how many kilometres getting lost and having to swing around to find the proper route added on to the official total of 185km. Arrive at a round number of 200km, give or take five.
Ask yourself if cycling so far in one day is that much of a good idea.
Weigh yourself the next morning. Voilà! Three Kg. lighter.
This diet is not recommended for anyone over the age of 3 unless accompanied by a desire just to find out if you really can do it.