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Day 8 - The toughest day so far Posted on July 15, 2013 I knew it was going to be a long day. Todays ride was routed to be 190 km - the longest stage of the entire tour. In the end it was tougher and longer than I ever imagined. The day didnt start too well. I wanted to leave the hotel in Vienna at 6am, but it took the staff 20 minutes to find the key to the garage where they had stored my bicycle. It was then slow work heading out of Vienna. It was a matter of zig zagging through the streets trying to stay on the designated bicycle paths. Not to mention that I am pretty sure that 75% of all the traffic lights in Vienna are red. After about 25 km I was in the countryside, and for the next 100 km I just felt like I was climbing, climbing, climbing. The hills were not steep, but very drawn out, and the headwind was so strong that the downhills were like flat terrain. It sucked the energy out of me hour by hour.
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But things changed the minute I crossed over the border from Austria to the Czech Republic. Immediately I was in a forest surrounded by tall trees, sheltering me from the wind that had been shoving me and screaming in my ears all day. There was a peaceful calm, beautiful landscape, and I felt revitalised. Most of the rest of the route was through small country roads with almost no traffic, and the scenery was stunning. Then came the cherry on the cake. The last 10 km were almost entirely downhill. It was a blissful ending to a torturing 9 hours on the bike. But the 190 km are behind me now, and there are only 6 more days to go.