Since winter has grasped Munich with its icy fingers already, confining me to cycling indoors which I hate, I flew south yesterday, following an invitation extended by Juliana Buhring. My bike survived the flight quite well even though I hadn’t put it in a box (thanks, Lufthansa!) and after a lovely evening with great food and wine we went for our first ride. 

Training here isn’t only about the weather, though I appreciate the sun and 15 degrees celsius quite a lot. It is just as much about learning to survive on the road. German roads have spoiled me, and while there are some fairly irresponsible drivers back home, nothing compares to Napoli. Traffic laws are more of a recommendation. Drivers will swerve in and out of lanes without so much as a glance. And the potholes are like deep sea trenches. 

But Juliana is the Queen of the Road. She waves and roundabouts come to a halt to let her pass. She yells and even the most annoying driver will stop. I’ve been told that it doesn’t always work, but generally, my best bet is to stay close to her and copy all of the waving and yelling like a crazy person. 

After cycling 75km, she announced that we’d return home via a 12km ascent, covering about 700m of altitude. Not exactly alpine conditions, but exhausting nonetheless. I’m proud to say that while she basically rode in circles around me, I did not have to stop and get off and it only took half of an energy shot to get me up there. The reward was, well, reaching the top of the hill, but also amazing ocean views, a hot shower and the couch. 

Check back tomorrow to find out what it means when Juliana says we will “do some hills”.