Meanwhile in Weil

Resting. In Munich. I’ve had a few cups of coffee, I just popped around the corner from Nick’s apartment to Aldi Sud for a few groceries, and now I’m watching a replay of the Wimbledon quarter final from yesterday between Carlos Alcaraz and Tommy Paul. I arrived Monday night and, burying the lead, LAST NIGHT I WENT TO THE EURO 2024 SEMI FINAL MATCH BETWEEN SPAIN AND FRANCE! Sorry, the all caps is a little intense, but, but… it was really, really fun and super amazing to finally be in the arena, at the match, seeing a game live after spending all my time during the tournament watching games from fan zones, bars and on my laptop. I ate it up and loved every minute of it. Spain won, 2-1, and the game was filled with chances and high-energy play. One of Spain’s goals was a beauty from well outside the box scored by 16-year-old, still with braces on his teeth, Lamine Yamal. It was gorgeous, and he became the youngest player ever to score a goal in the Euros. The crowd was great, a pretty healthy mix of Spanish, French and neutral fans, with the French outnumbering the other two groups in numbers and in noise. I was happy with the result, definitely, and will (likely?) be pulling for Spain versus either England or Holland in the final on Sunday.

Finally seeing a match in-person yesterday wasn’t really something I’d necessarily planned on doing when I woke up. After trying unsuccessfully multiple times to get into other matches during my ride, I’d basically written-off the possibility I’d actually attend a match. Trying to get tickets, through Reddit, Facebook and in-person at the stadiums just took too much time and energy. And it was frustrating because I discovered a lot of the “sellers” – especially those on Facebook – were just scammers trying to take my money. I’d also tried periodically through UEFA’s official site, as they’d sometimes release tickets, but that also proved time-consuming and frustrating as tickets would appear and disappear before I had time to click to purchase them. So, with just a little random Googling yesterday, I learned that there were tickets to be had for last night’s match. I’d seen on the Facebook group that the UEFA site actually had some. So I logged in and gave it a shot. And sure enough, some tickets were there and when I clicked on one it actually took me to the next screen to allow me to purchase it. The price was a little more than I wanted to pay, but I quickly convinced myself that going to a match, at the end of my ride, as was the case, could be the perfect way to cap off this Euro 2024 experience. So, I did it, then almost immediately headed into the city to join in the fun.

It did feel symbolic. I wore my “You Are Worth the Effort” t-shirt given to me by “To Write Love on Her Arms,” feeling like I wanted to wear the message on my chest that the reason for my ride, and for this Euro 2024 experience, is mental health. I wanted to communicate that message loudly and proudly, as something for others to see, but also as a reminder to myself that my mental health, and the mental health of others, is the true purpose for my ride. It was a beautifully warm, clear summer night in Munich, and the experience was unforgettable. I was also reminded, during the night, of the time, six years ago, when Sammie, Casey and I went to Russia for the 2018 football World Cup. I hold those memories so special in my heart, so for the night to also take me back to those awesome summer days of 2018 was also a joyful feeling.

So today is truly a rest day. A day to revel in last night’s match and a day to plan for the last two days of my ride. My final ride to Austria! I’ll write this blog, organize my stuff for tomorrow, eat some healthy food, watch some live Wimbledon later, and perhaps take a nap or two. Oh, and if all goes well, I’ll pick up my bike this evening! That’s a bit of another “bury the lead” story. Yes, I brought my bike into a shop in Munich. Yesterday morning. I met with the owner of the shop and he was a really cool guy, describing and showing me everything that would need to be fixed. When he told me I needed lots of new parts to get the bike back in good condition, I believed him. I’ve had some tune-ups to my bike over the years, but I really haven’t made any serious repairs to it since I bought it back in 2019. I was happy to take all of his advice knowing there’s a good chance I’ll do more cycling this summer and then perhaps again in the spring. The fixes will hopefully be what I need to put on another 2,000 kilometers and more! I’ll be cutting things close to get back on the road tomorrow, but the owner gave me a “guarantee” that the bike will be ready by tonight or tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed! Even if it’s late morning tomorrow, I should still be fine. I only have about 30 miles of riding tomorrow, so if I get a later start I’ll be okay. Tomorrow is south to Penzberg then Friday is Mittenwald and the Austrian border. Crazy to know that I’m so close!

Before I wrap up, I need to mention Monday’s ride, my ride from Schwabmünchen into Munich. My bike was not functioning well, so I knew it’d be a slow day. Luckily the ride was not a terribly long one, there wasn’t a lot of climbing and the day began with sun. About an hour into my ride I was ready for a coffee break so I pulled into the tiny village of Weil and into a little general store, bakery, cafe, post office combo, cute little place. I got a krapfen (jelly donut) and a large coffee and sat down at one of their tables. In walked an older gentleman to pick up a package. He walked by my table and asked if that was my bike outside. When I told him it was, he, Hubert, pulled up a chair across from me and wanted to know all about my ride. We talked and eventually I mentioned to him that my bike was in bad shape. He immediately perked up and said he knew a very good bike mechanic in town. He told me to follow him back to his house where he could call this friend. I didn’t feel I could say “no” to Hubert and I had the time even if the whole thing turned into a giant wild goose chase. And who knew? Maybe I’d get my bike fixed?

Back at his house he led me into a small cabin on the property. His wife, Anne Marie, was cooking lunch over a wood burning stove, doing so because their kitchen in the main house was in the middle of a huge renovation. When Anne Marie saw me she was very friendly and completely nonchalant, as if her husband regularly brings stray cats like me home with him. Hubert offered me a beer and went about trying to reach his mechanic friend on the phone. In the meantime, one of their sons came over and Hubert, after being unable to reach his friend, gave me a tour of the house and introduced me to the two Polish brothers who are doing their kitchen remodel. The whole thing was just this little, perfect experience, with this darling family in this quaint Bavarian village. The friendliness and generosity were off the charts. I didn’t mind one bit that in terms of getting my bike fixed, hanging out with Hubert and Anne Marie was a failed effort. I sat for a huge lunch with the family and the Polish brothers – a lunch of salad, potato salad, pancake soup and savory meatballs with gravy. It was nuts, and I absolutely felt supremely lucky to have stumbled into this experience!

OK. Scene change once again. I’m back at the apartment getting ready to watch The Netherlands versus England in the other Euro 2024 semi final. I just had dinner and after the match I’ll hit the sack and then get up around 7:00 for my ride. News flash – the bike shop was able to fix my bike, so I’m on schedule and won’t have to veer from my itinerary! I feel pretty lucky it all worked out. Quite lucky. So, tomorrow is the first of two more days before I hopefully reach Austria on Friday. Right now it all feels a little surreal, and I anticipate getting back in the saddle again in the morning will feel a little strange, having had two days off. But, I’m excited and very, very happy that I’ve made it this far, I’m so close to accomplishing my goal, and that the end is in sight. Two awesome days into the Alps are ahead! Let’s do this thing!

8 thoughts on “Meanwhile in Weil

  1. Laura Guadalupe Carreon Jimenez

    Esa bicicleta merece un monumento, como ha aguantado! Dos días mas y esta aventura termina, pero leo que ya hay nuevas en proceso de producción. Quiero imaginar la energía que se vivió en el estadio, me da mucho gusto que hayas logrado conseguir boletos, y mas gusto que España haya ganado. Te felicito por el video de recapitulación, me encantó, en verdad es ahí cuando veo todo lo que te ha tocado vivir, porque mencionas andar en bici bajo la lluvia, pero es hasta que veo como cae el agua y el viento que pienso, en verdad la has tenido muy difícil. Felicidades, tu gran esfuerzo es de reconocerse, como titularas tu libro, porque yo creo que cada ciudad y cada percance bien pueden ser los capítulos de un muy buen libro, de esos que te dicen , yo también puedo lograr esta hazaña. Tu viaje es una inspiración sabes, creo que no hay pretexto que valga para no emprender un sueño que en principio puede parecer una locura, y que el arranque puede sentirse peor aún, no, decir, en que me metí?, pero el logro diario de pequeñas metas, el detenerse, re-evaluar nuestras capacidades y hacer ajustes para alcanzar nuestro objetivo, debería ser parte de nuestro diario andar. Me quedo con eso Chris, alcanzar los sueños es parte de una aventura, que se logra con pequeñas metas, donde uno se detiene y evalúa las capacidades pero nunca pierde el objetivo. Gracias, en verdad por permitirnos ser parte de momentos tan valiosos para ti. Espero el desenlace y la foto final en Austria , y espero una recomendación de libro porque ahora que voy a leer. Ahora si que al infinito y más allá (frase de Buzz ligthyear) .

  2. Karla Harriman

    Awesome adventures and connections being made everywhere for you Chris … SO EXCITING !!!
    Glad you had a few days off to recharge and just soak it all in …
    and now it will hopefully leave you with extra energy and excitement for your last push … pedal on my friend 🚴
    Can’t wait for your much earned/deserved celebration at the finish line 🏁
    Thanks again for taking us along for the ride

  3. Donna Anderson

    7/12/2024 Hi Chris. Not sure if you will receive this message, but I will try to send it anyway. Just read your blog on your bike repair and wonderful hospitality from the family in Munich. I have great memories of Munich from 1998 also. I am so excited that you are on your final leg of your biking trip. It has been great to read your blog. Your pictures are spectacular too!! I wish you well.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *