Friday’s 68 km cycle ride started in the German town of Stolberg, some 25 km from Heerlen.

My aim today was to explore the Hurtgenwald, a large forested area at the northern edge of the Eifel hills region.

About 7 km into the ride I entered the forest near Vicht.

Here began a very tough 25 km of cycling along the rough gravel forest tracks.

It can be seen from the elevation profile below the steep inclines and descents I had to negotiate.

In places the inclines were so steep I had difficulty getting the back wheel to grip and make progress.

The steep descents also presented their own challenges.

The wheels didn’t want to grip the loose gravel when I used the brakes, which made it extremely difficult to control the bike.

Although I always enjoy the challenge, I was greatly relieved that the bike and I emerged from the forest tracks in one piece.

The majority of today’s pictures were taken in Hurtgenwald and give a good idea of just how picturesque and peaceful this area is.

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