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Berton Ride - Day 11

Years ago I read Lance Armstong's book 'It's Not About the Bike" (well before we learned of the performance-enhancing drugs). The book was about his return from cancer, and he talks about his bike as merely a metaphor for the challenging road that he faced during his recovery. In a similar vein, we knew that this cycling trip was about far more than cycling, and every day we learn the lesson anew as we see this natural beauty and interact with the wonderful people in this part of the world. It is truly not about the bike (well, except when you climb the Col de la Bonette!).

We began the day with another huge breakfast buffet. One key to a great start is a large caloric intake, and when it tastes great, the reward is even greater! Side note: apparently none of us has lost weight so far, so we seem to have the eating part well covered. We left Bad Tölz and began our 38-mile trek. Probably 80 percent of the route today was gravel. Gravel requires much more effort and increases the odds of a spill. In fact, one of the crew had a minor spill. A little road rash and a small cut, but otherwise he was fine and recovered quickly and with gusto. We rode the first 20 miles down to the charming Tegernsee lake that lies in a green, peaceful valley beneath majestic hills. Families were enjoying the beaches while ferries motored around the lake on this beautiful summer day. We stopped for an early lunch at the Tegernsee Brewery. Lunch was delicious, and we are developing a skill for first-meal beer drinking. It's a virtual necessity here in Germany. After lunch Carolin grandparents picked her up to take her home, so we said our goodbyes. We are sorry to see her go, but we know she will be able to find a better-looking crew pretty easily....

After lunch, we proceeded up the toughest hill of the day. It was a gravel track and it took every ounce of muscle to climb the extremely steep slope, as steep a slope as we have encountered on this trip. At the pinnacle there was a golf resort where we happened upon the German professional cycling team! There were two large RVs fully equipped with all sorts of items to maintain the team, including even a washer/dryer. The German team has 22 riders, nine of whom are currently in the Tour de France. Fortunately, they realized our skills and offered one of us a lucrative contract as you can see in the attached photo. We continued on the gravel paths past Schliersee lake to the east. With the midday sun we continued through a number of other tough but beautiful climbs and arrived at our very nice accommodations in a small village called Fischbachau. The hotel had a fabulous evening buffet that we devoured - also quickly and with gusto! Cheers - Rob

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