Planning & Training

Training for Rügen

Since planning our tour across Germany from Ingolstadt to Rügen, we needed to get serious about training. Either of us could ride 100km today, but the day after would be a nightmare recovery and require lots of ibuprofen. Adding kilometers and more hills with each training ride are the best way to train for a long tour. Going out and riding considerable distances daily doesn’t allow you to recover and gain the benefits of consistently planned shorter rides.

Over the last couple of weeks, we have done some local rides to get ready, adding some distance and height with each ride. We leave for the tour on 14-June, and it will be a recuperative trip for me, with daily hip strengthening exercise, yoga, and biking. I want to be back to my former strength by July, or at least that’s the goal.

I will update this page over the next weeks until we leave for the tour.


We started slowly with a flat, easy ride. This tour is along the north side of the Donau and is hard-packed gravel, mainly on the top of a jetty just inside the trees from the river. Two of our friends joined us for the ride, which was nice as we got into the village area of Gerolfing then back into the city. A Biergarten stop for dinner always ends a ride with a good feeling. After so much time away from the wheels, I felt good about getting back on the bike. The Sonder Camino Force1 Ti soaked up the bumps and ruts along the river perfectly, giving a lively but comfy ride.

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain Calories Burned
04:25:36
hours
01:42:07
hours
24.37
km
14.32
km/h
29.52
km/h
102.00
meters
427
kcal
First tempo ride since my total hip replacement 13 weeks ago. Felt great!!

Next, we moved to add more distance and (a little) speed. This loop is similar but has a much more varied terrain than the last ride. I was riding my Cannondale Synapse with 650b gravel wheels that handled the bumps and ruts perfectly. The first part of the ride along the south edge of the Donau is a speed gravel section. Flat and packed gravel with a few muddy spots to add a dimension of perceived risk – it’s only some slippery spots, though. Turning north over the bridge and dam, it opens up to a wide cycle path, then we head further north and find the only hills on the ride. Cruising back into the Altstadt is a breeze and has lovely vistas to admire, ending at Kreuztor for dinner before heading home.

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain Calories Burned
01:55:42
hours
01:48:42
hours
32.25
km
17.80
km/h
36.36
km/h
87.00
meters
531
kcal
First time back in clipless. Felt good!

For this ride, we modified our track, taking a different route on the first half, then mostly the same on the return trip. There is a very long, straight-gavel road almost directly from our house to the village of Weichering, where we turned north into the farms and forest road, ending up at Jagdschloss Grünau. It is a restored hunting castle where festivals and shows are held during the summer. The Auenzentrum Neuburg is located in one corner, where research and preservation of the Donau floodplain happens. After the turn north, we eased back into town. This ride was different since I rode my Canyon Exceed CF 7.0 mountain bike. I’ve had it for over a year and had never ridden it. (Thanks, pandemic.) It is modified with bull horn grips, a layback handlebar, and a Sella Italia Avant seat for more comfort. These modifications are a perfect fit for long hours on tour with 0% downhill and 100% trail riding.

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain Calories Burned
02:16:48
hours
01:59:52
hours
34.41
km
17.23
km/h
42.48
km/h
61.00
meters
1,299
kcal

Back on the titanium Sonder, we headed out for the hills. Yeah, the river rides got us back in the swing of cycling, awakening the muscles and joints, but we lacked the fun of the hills. By fun, I mean pain and suffering until the top when it’s fun again. To find the hills, we need to head north out of the city along the Künettegraben, then past the Audi factory, and into the open fields south of Gaimersheim. This countryside is a classic Bavarian landscape: large planted areas and small villages dotting the horizon. The day called for 370 meters of climbing, absurdly modest for most riders, but we knew it would be a challenging first hilly ride for us. Before the tour, I replaced the rotors and brake pads on the Sonder, and I am glad I did. The forest road downhills were extreme for our everyday riding experience. Steep, dark, and shadowy roads connect the farm fields through clusters of old forests, and with the rain, we have had recently, the paths are a mess. We stopped for a break at Högnerhäusl Biergarten. The payoff is worth it, even if the only route to the Gasthaus is about 15% gradient up up up. From there, we headed home for a hot shower and then compared knee pains for a while. 

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain Calories Burned
04:33:58
hours
02:59:20
hours
44.33
km
14.83
km/h
44.28
km/h
371.70
meters
1,221
kcal
I am so untrained after a long winter and hip surgery. Too many kilos and not enough kilometres. But the ride and the route were both excellent. Several segments were far, far away from anyone.