2009-07-06 49 10
Today's location is in a barley field near Unterpleichfeld.
Country: Germany; state: Bayern (Bavaria, EU:DE:BY); administrative region: Unterfranken; district: Würzburg rural district
Weather: 17:30 sunny with clouds; 17:35 first thunderclaps; 17:40 heavy downpour
The way to the hashpoint was pretty straightforward: Lengfeld - Estenfeld - Unterpleichfeld - hashpoint, all in nice weather. When I stopped near the hashpoint I saw that the sky behind me had turned dark and I could see the leading edge of the rain not very far away. Better hurry now.
Just as I was checking whether the hashpoint would be some more steps in this direction or perhaps more to the other side, I heard the first thunderclap. It was louder than I like them while standing in the middle of an open field. Better hurry NOW! I decided that a few metres more or less were not worth my life (especially since there would be nobody to write the report. My mother would probably guess correctly why my body would be found in a field far away from home though.) so I took a
Stupid Grin Anxious LookTM picture, jumped on my bike and raced towards Unterpleichfeld. Not fast enough, the rain found me after only a few metres. Rain? My shirt and pants were drenched before I reached the first turn of the field track. I briefly thought about getting my jacket from my bag, but that would have meant ten additional seconds for lightning to find me and the jacket probably also would have been soaked soon. I really feared for my life. I gave everything I had to go faster, ducking my head to minimize lightning strikes all the time, my vision heavily impaired by the water on my glasses.
In Unterpleichfeld I stopped at the first dry place I found. Not caring for the passing cars I took of my shirt, tried to dry myself with my towel and put my jacket on. When the rain got less I cycled to the next bus stop which thankfully had a roof, too. The next bus even came a few minutes later, that was really lucky with less than one bus per hour! It could not carry bikes, so I decided to leave the bike at Unterpleichfeld and boarded the bus with wet pants and only my thin jacket to keep me warm, or at least warmer than my surroundings.
Total distance by bike: 14.6 km + 2 km = 16.6 km
In retrospect it maybe would have been better to cycle to Bergtheim, a little more distant but away from the rain so that it would have caught me later, and take the train (which can carry bikes) home.
By the way, the headline of Bild, Germany's and Europe's most-selling "newspaper" (based on sensationalism, fear, non-verified stories and the topless page one girl) today was something like "600000 lightning strikes last week - record number. This weekend three deaths from lightning".
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