A good friend becomes 40

Andreas is a long term trainings partner of the Willi Altig group, a group grown out of racers from the 60ties. Willi’s biggest success in his career was winning the final stage of the 1964 Giro Italia . This trainings group contained some national road and track champions, world and olympic gold medalists, some hopeful amateurs and time by time even actual professionals out of the region like Christian Henn, Roland Günther and Volker Dhiel. On Sundays and Wednesdays all met for some speed. There I learned riding a road race bike preferably fast without loosing too much grains from 1984 and met Andreas. To have 5000km (3000mls) in the legs at end of spring was always just enough. In spring 1999 Andreas and I rode home after training on a lane. He told me about his 40th birthday at the end of this year and that he looks for a rider to do something special. He asked me, if I would join in to ride from San Francisco to New York across the U.S.A. this summer! After 3 seconds of thinking about the chances for a great adventure I agreed. Phoning back the next days for conformation we made some plans to make it happen.



At our first meeting we discussed how to manage the distances. About 5500km (3500mls) at all and 250km/day (160mls/day) over 3 weeks was the conclusion. Starting in the morning hours and reaching a motel at the evening was the plan. That is not so easy in the Big Basin and the Rocky Mountains around we recognized early. Living in a country with a village nearly every 3km (2mls) with a bakery ore a gas station it took longer to recognize the distances in the U.S. on the maps. But Andreas had a very good idea already, a third man supporting us driving a car loaded with food & water.

At our second meeting Andreas organized maps, about 9meter (32ft). We made some basic decisions for the route and checked for the mountains and the passes. Twelve with the highest 3712m (12.092ft), Independence Pass.

At our third meeting Marcus the car driver joined us.

The next step was to train our physical endurance and to check for the psychological. We trained not hard but a lot and made some test rides which led to three other stories. • The next day counts • Arriving at a bike messenger world championship • Coming home with champions

Booking tikets was easy that times, even to the United States. Frankfurt to New York to San Francisco & New York to Frankfurt, 24 days to cross a continent. For the flight the bikes were put in bike cardboard boxes with heating pipe insolation on the frame tubes, we removed pedals & rear derailleur, turned the stem, that was all. Necessary clothes, some tools and spare parts, all other stuff was available in the US, too. Thrill and excitement was not able to be forgotten.

Sorry for not posting some pictures about that trip, they are taped on a board! I’ll try to paint with words.


Going to work

In progress ..


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