New challenges - are highly rewarded


  1. København-Alpirsbach

  2. Alpirsbach

  3. Alpirsbach

  4. Alpirsbach-Tuttlingen

  5. Tuttlingen-Lindau

  6. Lindau-Feldkirch(A)

  7. Feldkirch-Landeck

  8. Landeck-Innsbruck

  9. Innsbruck-Zell am Ziller

  10. Zell am Ziller-Zell am See

  11. Zell am See 

  12. Zell am See-Pffarwerfen 

  13. Pffarwerfen-Tuttmoning

  14. Tuttmoning-Passau

  15. Passau-Linz

  16. Linz-Melk

  17. Melk-Wien

  18. Wien

  19. Wien

  20. Wien

  21. Wien

  22. Wien-København




Letter 10


Saturday 30.07.11
I saw yesterday how the road ascended to the sky, so it's no surprise that I start out with 6 kmh. I manage to cross the first knoll before I stop for the first time. I've ALMOST gone one km.
The next km is reasonable. At 7 km/h I can breathe, so it' just to keep on. It's 17 km to Gerlos where the final switchbacks presumably starts.
The night was without rain, but just when I intended to get up 6.45 it starts. But stops again. But the tent is all wet - as ususal. It hasn't been dry since the first night.
I'll teach you the secret about cycling the mountains. You have to be fit of course and have a suitable gearing. But I'm not a physical wonder even my modest size and low weight makes me an ideal mountain rider, it doesn't help much when I carry 20 kg extra.
You have to keep the right (possible) speed. Whenever you feel it gets steeper you lower your speed - IMIDIATELY. BEFORE you start gasping for air. You can go as slow as 4 km/h, but that calls for little traffic, as your driving gets more wobbling. By this there is a limit for you but a lot seems possible. Try it if you should meet with a mountain.

A glance backwards - and down - to Zell am Ziller Lonely bicycle

After 6 km it starts raining - a light rain. I reach a bus shelter where I put the bike and take a break. First I entered this knoll, that was the worst part. Now I'm going up a side valley and stand here looking at the other side where dozens of model houses are scattered all over the green, green valley side sprangled with dark sprouce woods. While clouds are hanging somewhere in the void between. No wonder it's green with all this water. But even under these circumstances it's enchanting. In the middle paths at the mountain side cuts it into a puzzle.

Fishing in the river... ...and walking in the street


After 8 km the landscape flattens and suddenly I'm on the middle cogwheel! A couple of km later comes another ascend, but that's really nothing. I had figured it out. The meter was already at 1100 m and the pass is maximum 1500 m so we have to save some steepness to the ascend after Gerlos - I think.
I get there, it's not so bad. At 20,5 km and 1325 m I descend. But I haven't made the crossing yet?
Then the valley seems to come to an end in a dam, only with grass - no concrete. There aree some stairs and people aree walking on top, so I stop. There must be quite a view to the other side from up there?
But the view is surprising. There's a lake! So it WAS a dam. The road up here is even surfaced.

On top of the dam AT LAST! Highest point

The next 2 km are hard. At 24 km and 1530 m on the meter the road descends again so a roll across the finishing line. The official height is 1507 m. I wonder at what height I started? For a while I thought 730 m until I realized it was the date...

To my surprise: after having hurled down for a while the road starts ascending AGAIN! And THAT'S bad for my legs! They seem to vanish under me. But soon after the rythmn comes back.

AT LAST. Gerlosplatte 1628 m. There's a plateau above the lake. Now it won't get any higher. Then comes a toll system where cyclists don't pay. And then I go down a 9%. I reach a both surprising and fantastic viewpoint. After having passed forrests for a long time a new valley spreads far, far down there. And the Krimml Waterfall can be seen far away with all it's falls. And far down the valley seems flat - that was a surprise.


Looking into the new valley... ... with the Krimml Waterfall to the right

Anyway I have to descend lots and lots of meters and I whirl through the bends. This time the road is dry and I dare go 50 km/h.
The waterfall is commercialised. You have to PAY to get close. And they've build some kind of center you also have to pay for to enter.
Now I'm sitting watching the lower fall I know find 2€50 too much. The water rushes through a turning down the rocks and is atomized into rising clouds.
I'm on my way up the middle fall when it starts raining. I turn around and manage to get back to have the bike sheltered before it gets worse.

After a cappucino from an automat and one of my perpetual "Linzenstück" it's stopped and I go on. Now I have to follow "Tauernradweg", which starts here in Krimml. I give it up quickly. You have to go far down to the river and I've more or less decided to reach Zell am See today. The plan still is to stay there for another day.

I tear down the main road, the valley isn't quite flat yet.
The problem with the bike road is that you often are sent across the valley and often up through the villages. The slopes can be very steep and my legs don't like more of them. So I change direcction from time to time. When the bike road appears I take it if it looks appealing - otherwise not.

It turns into a long day. At a time I follow the Taurnradweg along the river. The the asphalt turns into gravel - seen before. Then the gravel turns into grass... I sense it's wrong but what I do but continue... the direction is no doubt right and my bike is capable. I turn on the front wheel suspension.
I overtake a woman jogging with two dogs. One of them comes running agressively barking after me. I stop and she calls the dog. A little later it's there again. And once more. Then comes an electrical fence and the gate is this kind of roundabout with 4 arms we know from the supermarket. Can a fully packed bicycle get through? The first answer is : No, but it actually can. First the front wheel with the bags. The bike is fortunately slim in the middle. Then through goes the rear wheel. The worst problem is how do I get through still holding the bike? I almost tied myself in a knot trying to get one leg across the upper tube. All this happend twice, as the was another gate in the other end of the meadow. The woman has now cought up with me and I suggest that this is NOT Tauernradweg. No, it's further out, and she points. But I can just go on.

I do, but asks another jogging lady coming against me just to be sure, how to find it. Just go on. "Gerade aus". And soon after I've found it again. I remember once in the desert in Chile - where there were no jogging women to ask...

Had I followed the main road I'd had to go until 92 km on the meter. Now I have to go 102 km. Ok maybe it's an extra 2 km to the camping site, but the 8 km are due to the cycling road. For just one third of the distance.... Today I didn't have the time.

I find a camping site, accept the 14€, put up the tent, cook, eat and talk to a danish father with a daughter and the swiss motorcyclists next to me. Find somewhere to write in the main building and now at 21.55 I'm ready to drop after 102 km included the pass crossing.

I havn't found my french friends, but there is another camping site and they may have changes plans? My only problem now could be the swedes next to me, they played loud music all the time from when I arrived at 19.30. We'll see....

102.30 km
15.0 km/h
56.8 km/h
6:46:44 h