Ride Report: “Rideforhelpday” gravel ride

Posted By Gravel Union On 7 September 2021

When an invitation arrives at the last minute for a local charity gravel event, Timo Rokitta drops everything to make sure he can go.

It was a Thursday evening when one of my gravel friends, Markus, messaged me that he is going on the “rideforhelpday gravelride”. I don't think twice and immediately contact the organiser, who kindly answers immediately. He gives me a starting place and sends me the GPX track.

The "rideforhelpday" is a charity gravel event organised by Bike Aid, which takes place in Püttlingen in the small federal of the Saarland on a Saturday in August every year. Many different routes are offered by the organisers for different athlete profiles. All the proceeds from the event are donated to a charity or institution each year. So far, more than € 30,000 has been collected in this way and passed on to those in need.

All the beautiful viewpoints and sights that were offered along the route are approached. The track we chose was pretty tough and in a few places the route was not easy to ride on a gravel bike. The focus was on the experience of the Saarland's interesting landscapes - a legacy of the Saarland's decades of mining tradition has created numerous “mountain” heaps and re-natured sink ponds – perfect for riding over and around.

Two days after I signed up, I was at the start with Markus on his Ridley Kanzo. Exactly at 9 a.m. we set off on a gravel adventure in the Saarland, right on the German/French border. The route, which runs clockwise, inspires us from the start. Fast trails through shady forests alternate with narrow singletracks that were sometimes very slippery.

After 50 kilometers there was a highlight (event though it might not sound like one!) - a steep track climbed to the top of an old spoil heap from an old disused mine. With a 16 percent gradient, it went up right to the top of the heap. Here we had an impressive view of the surrounding forests in the area. After a quick descent we reached a small pond. In the inn next door, we filled up our bottles before we go back up the next spoil heap. There was even a summit cross that we photographed.

We then rode north around the state capital Saarbrücken. At the 100 km point our bottles were empty again and with an air temperature of 30 degrees, we absolutely needed water to make it to the finish. Fortunately, we found a spring on a last long climb in the forest, which we could fill up again. To cool off, I even held my overheated head under the ice-cold water.

After 6 hours and almost 120 kilometers we arrived at the finish – we are done but happy at the finish. On this beautiful gravel circuit, we got to know the old industrial and cultural landscape of the Saarland extensively.

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