According to my itinerary, this journey would only be 90km, however that was the Google Maps most direct route. So 130km was slightly further, but it happened to be the Gran Fondo challenge (a monthly challenge to ride x number of km in one ride). Luckily parts of it followed the Elbe River, so at least it was going to be nice.
I was somewhat paranoid about getting lost again, so this time I wrote down the names of all the towns I planned to pass through. The list was quite long, given that the towns are no more than 8km apart, but it was a useful exercise. Things were going quite smoothly and at the 50km mark I came across a fair amount of cobblestoned paths which isn’t the most comfortable feeling on a bike. However it cleared up when it opened up onto the Elbe River.
I chose Muhlberg to be my midpoint, at the 60km mark, and upon arrival I was immediately distracted by a huge structure. Marienstern Abbey from the 1500s was currently being fixed up, but the massive walls and buildings still look amazing.
After this I followed the river which caters perfectly for cyclists, with lovely smooth paths and plenty of signage. It was easy to glide along and get distracted by the beautiful scenery. Even when I realised I had an extra 40km than I planned, it didn’t worry me because the pathway directed me into town, so I never had to look at my maps.
I arrived at my hostel and I felt right at home, the moment I entered the gate. Of course, I was a little biased when I picked the place. I checked my Strava records and I had cycled 129.4 km, just 600m short of the Gran Fondo challenge. I didn’t cycle for 6.5 hours just to get 99.5% of the way there. So after checking in, I got back on the bike and finished the job.
Once I was satisfied with my effort, I did the usual wind down ritual and researched the best place to eat. My hostel was located in the doorstep of the bar and restaurant district, so I had plenty to choose from. TripAdvisor’s number one restaurant was Little India, and it looked like the ideal way to make up for the 2200 calories I’d burnt during the day. I followed up with some tiramisu from a nearby Italian place too. Even though I was probably the only one in the street without a beer in my hand, I struggled to cycle back due to the amount of food I had consumed. It was so worth it.