Ooh, we're out of order here.
Anyway, I worked on German a bit this week, attending a tandem meet-up. I didn't meet with my tandem partner since she wasn't available.
The big thing this week was the Autofreies Lautertal, the auto-free day when the B270 is closed to traffic between Kaiserslautern and Lautertal. Ever since my first year here, I've attended it.
It's a contrast between the first time I did this ride (I describe my first one in 2013 here). Until last year, I spent most of my year suffering from allergies and sinus issues. I finally decided to listen to the advice I've received from many doctors over the years and take the inhaled steroids they recommend. As a result, I've gone from feeling crummy and/or getting sinus infections often to getting sick very infrequently now.
So, this year, even though the bike ride is during high allergy season for me, I could breathe freely and wasn't recovering from being sick. It definitely helped with my endurance and I did not huff and puff like the first year during the 18 mile ride.
I also bought myself a much nicer bike than my previous $200 sporting goods store bike. (Well, I bought the "new" bike two years ago so I guess it's not so new now.) Having a quality bike makes a huge difference. I love the commuting kit on it too, which a heavy duty, built-in bike rack and hardwired dynamo lights.
I've upped my activity levels since I moved here. Though I'm still tired at the end of the ride, 18 miles by bike isn't daunting like it was before. It also helps now that I'm familiar with the route and that makes it not feel so long. The awesome thing was that I wasn't sore after the ride the next day.
Reflecting on this ride, I think of the way I've come over the past three and a half years I've been here, and the people who've come through my life. The first year, I was unfit and sick and struggled on an old bike. I rode with a Scottish lass, who'd become a very good friend, and her two British sidekicks. The next year, I went with a German guy and an American gal and we played drums along the way. I'm sad that isn't offered any more! In 2015, I rode with a Persian guy and made him stop along the way so I could pick some sumac to make lemonade. This year, I rode with a Palestinian guy and a French lady and most of the time we spoke German. What I love about all of this is that it combines enjoying the beauty of the Pfalz region with interesting people from a variety of backgrounds.