Day 3 of Lockton Cycle to EXPO REAL dawns dry at last. The lack of rain that greets the 20 pioneers on Sunday morning definitely lifts the spirits, although no one is luxuriating in the chill of the 2 degree morning temperature. The cyclists roll out through picture perfect Oberammergau for the first 44k stage. The valley is shrouded in mist and after a few climbs for the first 20k, the road flattens out. The group picks up speed and comes in ahead of schedule to the first coffee stop, where slabs of apple cake, cheesecake and chocolate cake await.
The second stage is fast and flat, with a couple more lumpy sections in it: although they don’t match the climbs of the previous two days, there is enough to do damage to legs that are already tired and suffering. Doing through and off keeps the group moving fast all the way to lunch, as they make their way from open farmland into Bavarian forest.
This is probably the best lunch of all the lunches so far, with delicious vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, and roast pork and dumpling for the meat eaters. Dessert is huge (as all the desserts and cakes have been since we arrived) - great for full stomachs, not so great for the legs when we set off again.
The afternoon remains chilly and there’s a smattering of rain as the group sets off for the final leg of the day. We make our way through more forest and it’s a fast, flat run until we finally reach the outskirts of Munich. The group makes use of the plentiful cycle paths to make their way to Messe Munchen, home of EXPO REAL 2019.
And Lockton Cycle to EXPO REAL is a wrap. Twenty pioneer cyclists, 3 countries, 5 border crossings, 390km and 5,000m of climbing in three days: phew! The cold and the rain (especially on day 2) put everyone to the test, but like all the days in the saddle that are the most challenging and which, on the face of it, seem the worst, they become the best. They lead to stories that will last well beyond the ride - and hopefully well into next year for another edition of the ride.
Huge thanks to Lockton and to everyone who took part, worked so hard and made this such a special experience.