Stage 8 – Into the Black Forest
: 231.5 km/143.8 miles
Pforzheim to Gérardmer-The Road to Germany
This is the second longest stage of the race. The longest I’ve ever spent on a bike was 123 miles. Riding on two wheels from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon into Zion National Park was an eventful 12 hours. While these elites will finish in half the time that I did they certainly don’t have the story of flagging down a Coke truck in lycra.
Germans are great bakers, particularly in the Southwestern region around Bavaria. According to Spokesman Review, smaller independent bakeries are struggling. "Since 1965, the number of bakeries in southwest Germany has dwindled from 9,300 to just 2,500. While discount giants dominate the marketplace, German specialty shops like bakeries, butcher counters and pastry shops have managed to survive. In part, that’s due to strict national regulations governing the ownership of the shops. Bakers, for example, must complete a three-year apprenticeship, followed by a public exam. To become a master baker, they must then attend school for another year."
Naturally, the cake that comes first to mind is Black Forest Cake. Originally called Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte it’s a chocolate layer cake with Kirsch, whipped cream, sour cherries and a blizzard of chocolate curls. Luscious deliciousness. Kirsch or Kirschwasser is a double distilled, clear cherry brandy made from the small, sour Morello cherry which has a dark red skin.
Mountains will make a first appearance tomorrow where we will start to see grades of 2.9% to 6.8%. Might be best to have some cake and coffee.