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Testing Springs, Riding Up Hills

You've been busy at work but you're are slowly getting used to it, and after getting back on your bike things feel more normal again

After you wrote your last post in the 3rd-person, this time you thought you'd try using the second-person. Why not, you think - it could be amusing...

No amount of free coffee helped you win at Staying Awake At Work this week. Staying awake when there's nothing to bloody do is more testing than anything else. You just sit there at your desk wishing someone would run up and say, It's an emergency! Do this structural calculation fast or we all die! But unfortunately for you, this was not about to happen. Sad times... Instead of life-or-death trigonometry, you went to Sood-somewhere-or-other-town to do some springs testing. The most fun part of the day was going south instead of north on the train to work. Yep, that was the highlight for you; after that it was all about watching a spring being agonisingly-slowly compressed and repeating a few hundred times. You tried really hard to convince yourself that it was interesting, but - let's not kid ourselves - it wasn't one bit. You did, however, score yourself a free lunch and an early mark - but what did you do with it? You did paperwork and paid your rent at the post office, you boring bastard. For shame!

Aaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllll week the Langstrasse Fest was going on just outside your lounge room window. Langstrasse = Long Street, and it is rather long. The whole length of it was lined with sausage-selling, beer-selling, and other-crap-selling stalls, all of which were playing their music as loudly as possible to drown out everyone else's. There were also live bands and dancing, but of course none of that rubbish interested you so much; not until the band outside you window played Jumping Jack Flash and you opened your house wide and enjoyed the ambience of it all. Then they stopped playing, so you went back inside your little cave and grouchily grumbled about the noise again. Repeat, repeat, repeat... Weekend over!

You did make your comeback to the getting-lost-in-the-woods scene by riding up Utliberg to the tower on the top, which was very satisfying. The road there was bike-friendly with lots of room for you to stop, gasp for air, and die of when-does-this-bloody-hill-END?! disease. That being only the sealed road, while the rest was far steeper and made of loose gravel. Not a happy time for your high-pressure tyres at all. There was this one bit that got you very pumped-up; it was steep and impossible-looking enough to be worth sprinting up. Passing a few bewildered-looking old people who surely thought you were mad, you eventually made it to a nice little playground with families +baby strollers. Baby strollers? How did all these not-as-fit-as-you-looking people get all the way up here, you wonder. Maybe Swiss people, having lived in the mountains all their lives, are used to climbing hills. While you were sitting on a log having a break this snazzy-looking mountain bike goes whizzing past you, flinging mud and being generally extreme. The trail he came from doesn't look that hard, so you think to give it a go. After 20 meters and a loud enough creak-sound coming from your frame to make you pay attention, you reconsider this idea immediately regrettable. The trail was actually hard to just walk up, let alone ride up. The damn thing is a downhill mountain bike trail! Do you know anything about downhill mountain biking? You'd best have spent a few days welding metal plates on your bike frame as reinforcement, or you're likely to break it in half on the first drop-off. Buying a new mountain bike just went up on your priorities list. You eventually discover how all these families made it up too: there is a train station. Cheating bastards! All the way up: hard, fun, satisfying. All the way down: you realise all-too-late that your bike's brakes are not made for these kind of shenanigans. You make it back somehow, unharmed.

After all that you make a quiche without cheese, but it somehow works anyway and you feel very fatisfied (and healthy, was a veggie quiche). There was meant to be some kind of work-people pub crawl, but you notice quickly it's more of a pub sit than a pub crawl with everyone feeling under the weather from the night before. It really is time to ask: why do 'Australian Bars' have Indians with bad Swiss accents working there and no Australians in sight? You wonder if the only thing Australian about them is the Fosters. European-Australian bars - You're doing it wrong! Walking back, you see an interesting (and naked) statue; you then wonder if all ancient people actually slaughtered their enemies naked, or just have fun posing the way we all do. When you get home you notice a note stuck downstairs which reads: German German German pot-plants German German. Each day the note remains stuck there makes you more and more curious, and at the same time worried, that it's a note for you. After translating it properly, you realise it was not so critical after all - shame that... Now your day becomes 1% less exciting.

Something else new this week is night-time riding about the hills of Zürich. After you finally found yourself a screw - free from this nice local bloke - you were riding again. Oh man, doing sprints up steep hills with trams whizzing very close past you is so totally fetch (pop culture reference insertion: complete). Something deep inside you burns with desire to seize a firm grasp on you grips and pump your peddles as powerfully and as passionately as possible; the beads of sweat cascade from your heaving, thrusting body and your breathing becomes deeper and more rugged; you feel the agonising pleasure scream from inside your quivering thighs as you muster your rigid machine of justice to go faster and faster; the freezing air rushes past you titillating your skin with an icy pleasure that both excites and scares the hell outa' you as you check your speed, that clocks you 49.5 km/h. Oh wow - that was as exciting as one of Izzy's romance novels, as you yearn to do it again! Summary: you think riding up and down hills here is fun.

Something else that's sure to make Shu and Tom jealous was the 2nd hand bike market held on Helveticia Platz (directly outside your lounge room window). It was a real shame that you're such a lazy bastard and slept until 12.30, and all the good bikes where gone already. Oh well... To continue the making people jealous vibe, Zürich city on a Sunday is great! Why is it so great, someone asks? Most of Europe is closed on Sundays; that is, all the shops are closed and no one is crowding the town. You wonder along the pristine flowing river winding it's way through the city, along a water-level path letting you splash your toes and scatter the many fish. The rain is falling lightly making ripples on the mostly still surface of light green water, as you watch from the Uni's botanical garden terrace (with a potato tree), for the first time discovering the river swimming pool subtly secluded from the public eye below you. There is no wind but the coolness of the air as you walk is nice and refreshing to match the absence of bothersome city noises, of which there are none. Rainy, cool, not crowded, lots of nature: you can be sure Tom was wishing he was here.

You finally feel like you're settled. You have a place to live in the World's best city and you love it :-)