If I've got this right, to "pedal in the sauerkraut" means expending a lot of energy to very little effect. It sounds like a useful expression. It's also a pretty good description of my efforts this afternoon to beat my previous time round my regular ten mile loop.
A while back I set a reference time for this particular route of 46 minutes, and I've been using that since to measure any improvement in my speed. I've convinced myself that I ought to be able to get round the loop in 40 minutes. After all, it's only ten miles, although it is quite hilly. In practice though, I get round in about 43 minutes when I'm on good form.
This afternoon's time was 47 minutes. That's long enough to think up some good excuses, but the only plausible one today was the headwind, and I'm not entirely convinced. Goodness knows how I originally got round in 46 minutes without all this practice and new bike.
Today it was like pedalling in sauerkraut.