The TT out of the way, I could now focus on the road race which meant taking of the tri bars off and putting the bottle cages back on. There, that’s better! Now you look like a real road bike. I also had to figure out how to get from my hostel to the station and then make sure I got the right tickets for the right train. Sounds simple enough I know.
Erik and Kasper at Danhostel Hobro were exceptionally helpful and made a number of phone calls for me to find out what was required to get my bike on the train. It wasn’t an easy task, as it turned out, they got conflicting stories. In the end, it was deemed I didn’t need an extra ticket for the bike like I did coming from Copenhagen which was odd because it was the same train on the same line…The ticket machine at the station had an option for English which made the process easier and the Danes have very good electronic interfaces I find, very simple and logical to follow. I was presented with some options for my ticket and I saw two that were candidates, “Ticket” and “Seat ticket”. I figured Ticket was just a general admission ticket where you got to sit anywhere someone wasn’t already sitting and possibly had to stand if all seats were taken. So I picked Seat ticket.
The train came and I buckled my bike into place like a local and sat down. When the conductor came through, he eyeballed my bike briefly and then came over for my ticket. As he checked it he said “This isn’t a ticket, it’s a reservation for a seat”. My heart sank. So what I’d managed to do was ‘reserve’ the seat I was currently occupying. If I thought about it, I could picture a scenario where you might want to do this but it seemed a bit far-fetched. In any case I asked the conductor what I should do then. “Pfffff, don’t worry about it, it’s fine” was the answer. And he walked off. Practical Denmark, great stuff.
Arriving in Aalborg, I was struck by how pretty the town was. I love the Scandinavian architecture and street aesthetic and this place had plenty of it. I found my way on foot to my hotel (Hotel Chagall) on Vesterbro and checked in. very nice! Out for an explore shortly after, I went towards where the event hub Was located to see what was going on and walked along a very nice street full of interesting, modern shops backed by very old abbeys and churches. To complete the experience, a man was playing Albinoni’s Adagio in G minor to a backing track and this sweet music filled the length of the narrow street. Now I know many of you have probably walked the streets of Europe many times before, but this was still very fresh for me and my senses were working overtime to quote XTC.
I saw a number of groovy looking men’s clothing shops and knowing full well that I hadn’t bought an item of clothing in about five years, and that I was looking very 2010, I went inside one. It didn’t take long before I had 2 pairs of jeans, a top and some new pairs of undies on the counter. When I go into a clothes shop, I try to make it count. I don’t want to go back into one for another five years. I took my booty back to my room and got ready for a ride around Aalborg.
I had no plan of where to ride, I was just going to tootle around and try not to get lost. Which all started out well, but after about half an hour, I had no idea where I was nor where the town centre was any more. Well done Paul. I resisted the urge to ask a local for a while, thinking I’d eventually get back on track and recognise a landmark, but I started seeing bike paths leading off into the countryside and freeway entrances so I swallowed my pride and asked a bike commuter which way back to town. “Follow me, I am going there” he said. Now I don’t know if he always rode like this, or whether he saw my bike and outfit and was trying to impress, but he shot off like a rocket and rode though all kinds of obstacles and intersections that I would have taken a lot more caution with. But I damn well wasn’t going to lose him, he was my lifeline! We parted company at the edge of town and I thanked him for a very entertaining ride.
For dinner, I caught up with Rich, a friend I had made back in Hobro and he introduced me to some other Aussies he’d met including Ben, his lovely wife Monique and their two kids. It was nice to be around children, I was missing mine.
I still had a full day tomorrow to ride, socialise and have fun before the big test on Sunday so my anxiety levels were still nice and low for now.