GBI Europe 2019 _ Milan, Italy to Munich, Germany by bicycle – 658km_5860m

I love traveling so much so I never get bored. Although I don\’t post many pictures on this site, my phones have suffered. Too many pictures and videos of myself, Landscapes, cities and people. I arrived in Milan and was welcomed with a hot summer. As a Rwandan even Ghana is too warm for me, but this time I wouldn\’t say warm but Hot, Italy is HOT. I did not plan a sightseeing because I wanted a good rest and prepare for the tour.

Last year I had promised myself to train so that I could attempt track 2 of GBI Europe 2019. Little did I know that this year was going to be tough even for the trained people. When it comes to cycling, I do not ride because I am fit but because I love and enjoy it. For me, cycling is therapy but when you are riding with a group, it is very important to train at least to their level. They do not want to leave you behind and you would not also want to be the one everyone is waiting for. 

I walk up very energetic, filled my bottles, got my coffee and sat down to calculate how to manage my strength or set a target of where i should stop and call for help (GBI provides pick up vans for in case you can\’t make it to the destination). While I was staring to the flyer, I noticed the track 2 will suffer this year. The Total Distance was 830km only, but the elevation was 10700m, I had to change my mind and quickly go back to my team. 

Here is how it went:

Day 1: Milan (IT) – Montichiari (IT) – 105km
The usual welcoming ceremony and a short tour briefing traditionally opened a GBI Europe tour. After that we started the tour within our teams. The first day was ideal for warming up. After we left the metropolian area of Milan to the east, we cycled on flat ground through the Po Valley. To the left I could see the Italian Alps in the distance, but my track (1) will not touch them. It was this day I realized that European countries aren\’t the same. Italian drivers were not as patient as I had witnessed in other European countries. I was so scared of the drivers who were so impatient to allow me to cross with my team and I was disconnected for 20kms alone and without navigation. My team did not realize because the speed was too high. From there on I started chasing every cyclist I met on the road. if they were to slow, I followed whoever passed us. I regrated for not having my own navigation and I would not use my phone because the battery would have run empty before I arrive. I was also afraid of follwing Track 2 riders; I would have been left in the Alps. I later found a group to join, and it was a happy ending. Our destination Montichiari is located about 10 km southwest of Lake Garda.
As usual, evenings are for recovery, talk to your family if you have, connect with friends or make new friends or have some rest, or work and don\’t forget to prepare for the next day.

Day 2: Montichiari (IT) – Cavaion Veronese (IT) _56km
The second day was short ride along Lake Garda. Shortly after starting the day, we reached the southern coast at Desenzano, a marvellous lake town. After a short detour to the inland we again reached the lake at Pesciera del Garda, another pearl at the lake shore. I can\’t swim so I was busy taking pictures and videos. With the Lake\’s fortification and old town it is a superb spot for a longer break.

 After leaving Peschiera we cycled between the lake and the Adige valley northwards. As our destination Cavaion Veronese was located on a hill, we had to climb for the last couple of kilometers.

Day 3: Cavaion Veronese (IT) – Trento (IT) -88km
From our elevated camp location, we first had to cycle down to the Adige Valley and the Via Claudia Augusta cycling path. It was recommended to use this cycling path and NOT the streets! The mountains on our sides rise constantly the more we headed to the north. We cycled the whole day with a slight, but steady incline. 

In Trento we left the Adige north of the city and arrived at our destination in Gardolo very soon.

If i had done track 2, I would have done 106km with 2130 m elevation.

Day 4: Trento (IT) – Brixen (IT) – 104km _1230m
The first part of the day to the nutrition stop in Bozen showed us the beauty of the Adige valley. We cycled on the cycling path, almost the river besides us. After the nutrition stop the city of Bozen/Bolzano was a good option for a lunch break. Then we turned into the valley of the river Eisack/Isarco, that cuts deep into the Dolomite mountains. 

The ascent was then increasing noticeably, and the route was curvy, but we had some impressive views.

Day 5: Brixen (IT) – Innsbruck (AT) _ 94km – 1640m
This was the queen\’s stage of our tour. We immediately started to climb the mountains after leaving the camp, approx. 800 m of climb must be conquered to the Brenner pass. We had to cycle on busy roads for the first 10 km, afterward we switched to the Eisack cycle path. 

In Sterzing there was a last chance to refresh ourselves before we tackled the last part of the climb. Like I said, I had trained for Track 2 so this climb I did not feel it at all. Even I had a back puncture which I did not realize until someone told me and I still had to manage it until I reached the Nutrition point. Where is the tough climb? I asked. You just finished it, I was told. I had my bike fixed and the good part was ahead. 

 After the nutrition point at the Brenner there was a very long descent down to the Inn valley and followed with up and downs, up and down to our destination in Innsbruck. 

Day 6: Innsbruck (AT) – Bad Aibling (D) _130km
Today there was no dedicated track 2, all cyclists followed the same route downstream the river Inn. Although we descent in general, there were some smaller hills in-between, and it was a very long day with about 130 km. To our left and right the Alps rise high while we cycled most of the time on the Inn cycling path, always close to the river. 

The city of  Kufstein was a good spot for a lunch break. Later on we crossed the German border and had to climb one challenging hill before returning to the valley and head to our destination in Bad Aibling.

Day 7: Bad Aibling (D) – Munich (D) – 71km
The last day was quite relaxing compared to the the previous days. There were only a two noticeable hills on our way. We cycled through the beautiful bavarian countryside east of Munich. There was always an opportunity for a photo stop or a typical bavarian Brotzeit (snack) in one of the lovely beergardens along the route. 

The village of Markt Schwaben was indeed a good coffee and lunch break, as it was very close to the start of the group cycling in Finsing.
The final group cycling for the last couple of kilometers is always a highlight of the last stage. North of Munich in Hallbergmoos we celebrated a week of challenges and fun, new friends and exciting memories at the traditional closing event. 

Today the time is coming to say farewell to our teammates and to go different ways, but I look forward to the next years of these kind of adventure.