King of the runway

20150401_132643_niklas

The storm “Niklas” has caused a state of emergency in Berlin. Hurricane blasts reach between 120 and 140 km/h. Trains and cars have been crushed by falling trees. And the TV tower had to be evacuated; the visitors had to take the emergency stairs to the ground – that’s 986 steps!

Naturally I wanted to see what it was like to ride in such weather. Maybe I could set some personal records on the runways on Tempelhof! Unlike yesterday, which was only rain storm, there is also sunshine today. But the weather changes so fast.

My first attempt at the northern runway was wonderful. I quickly reached 60 km/h and pedaled at 115 rpm on the highest gear. Yowamushi Pedal fans would say I pedaled like Onoda Sakamichi (who I don’t really care for) but used the wind like Manami Sangaku (my favorite). I couldn’t keep up that speed though. And I wasn’t even warmed up.

Manami Sangaku

Manami Sangaku

Then came some rain and I took a break before slowly making my way back to the western part of the field. Then I tried the southern runway, but it was nothing like the northern had been. I only reached 50 km/h, though funnily speeding up and keeping at 56 for the last part. Don’t know if it was lack of wind or if the southern strip is simply laid out differently than the northern.

I ventured for a third attempt to see if I would have better luck with the wind. I didn’t. But at 49 km/h the tube of my back wheel burst with a loud bang. I quickly released the wheel and started changing the tube. But then the storm came – really quickly, you can see it approaching on the photo. And it was stronger than I thought would be possible today (cause yesterday was fiercer). The big trash container next to me flew away about 50 meters. Within a minute I was soaked by rain, which gave way to hail. Imagine changing a tube in a hail storm. And to top that, there was suddenly thunder as well. And I was in the middle of the field (you always are when you get a flat). I did the changing pretty fast and pumped up the tire just enough to be able to roll, but then I couldn’t get the wheel on again, the chain was total chaos, and I had lost the feeling in my hands, so I started walking – bike in one hand, wheel in the other. No, that wouldn’t work. The storm subsided a bit and I managed to get the wheel on (how hard can it be). Hadn’t really pumped the tire very hard, but at least I could roll slowly towards the exit. Then the rain and hail subsided as well, and soon it would be sunny again. But I was soaked and swearing and just wanted a warm shower. How could I have been so stupid to go out and ride in the storm!

But then I came home, took the shower and uploaded the ride to Strava. And damn it if I didn’t take the KOM of the northern runway! With over 2 km/h margin; my average speed was 57,3 km/h – number two has only 55,2:

strava_kom_landebahn_nord_01.04.2015

So now I’m number 1 out of 429 competitors. The record will probably last for quite a while, or at least until the next storm strong enough to cause an Ausnahmezustand. It was worth it after all.

Update: The previous KOM holder “grt h” congratulated me on Strava (you get an email when your KOM is stolen) and said that he had just got out himself to steal back the record. He didn’t succeed though:

Hab grad noch versucht ihn zurückzuholen, aber keine Chance 😉

(PS: Now you all think that I care a lot about these Strava records. And you know what: I do! I’m proud as hell. In case that wasn’t obvious…)

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