Two rest days in Riga. Sight-seeing, resting, maintenance and office work were on my agenda for the two cycle-free days. It was time for some sorely needed relaxation from the daily strain of cycling. In a way you are exerting yourself on the bicycle. To cycle every day on average 70 km with a bicycle that weights approximately 55 kg is quite an ordeal for the body and in particular the leg muscles. So occasionally, they need their deserved rest, as does the mind.
This brings me to the point of how I am holding up so far. One of the main remarks I had received in my preparations were subtle but nevertheless quite pointed questions if such an old body can cope with the strain of cycling a heavy load every day. The ability for recovery appears to be less pronounced in older gentlemen like myself. The unspoken question in the room being quite often: shouldn’t older chaps stay at home, rest more and stay close to the medical services in cases something comes up? Well, I am not walking like a living dead through the Latvian ecosystems right now. I am actually feeling quite sprite, and when I am getting on my bicycle I am transforming into quite a functioning human sparkplug. Thank you for your concerns.
In a way I had also tried to plan the route in such a way, that it does not overtax me in the beginning. Except for the first day, were I had a total ascent of 630 m, most of my days had ascends of under 300 m, and since the islands in Estonia my route had virtually no ascends at all. It is better to get trained by starting easy, because the body adjusts much better for the big tasks to come. That was one of the main reasons why I chose for my way southwards the Baltic Sea route over the alternative going via Sweden.
As always, Riga didn’t fail to impress. The old town of Riga is a marvel and in my opinion is one of the prettiest old cities of all the world’s capitals. I had been many times in Riga during my professional life, but every time you walk through the old city you discover something new. Experiencing the market and having a coffee and a piece of cake in a café were on my to-do list and a welcome alternative from my usual wolfing down some energy food and drinking from a water bottle at the side of the street. And in a blink of an eye my two rest days were over, the clothes were washed, the bike was maintained, and my office work was partially done. It was time to go back onto the bicycle.