Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Kappler Alm

Thursday biking again, and the days are getting all wrong now. At the start of the year the fitness fits well with the day/night cycle. The fitness increases and the days get longer. Towards autumn it the opposite with the days.
Lots of Group 1 people there today and a lot had a story to tell. Setting of towards the Kappler Alm via Kappel we had questionable weather once again. Overcast, but luckily no rain. After Kappel a step way uphill, tarmac luckily. A few of Group 1 had biked in the Karwendel area of the Alps. 2300 metres in altitude in total. And I had thought my 2050 metres on the way to Venice was a lot. Talked to a few about that as well. Heidi and some friends of hers biked the Stoneman tour last week and apparently they got so high up or so bad weather that it started snowing, in August.
Reached the Kappler Alm and carried on up towards Sportheim Böck and nearly to the top of the Alpspitze. Up a rocky steep climb only three managed to bike (Paulina, Hopsing and Heti) and Heidi fell over trying to get up, but all the rest got off, by free will or not.
Reaching the highest point of our bike we had sent Paulina of to the front and she spotted a red sun which we saw on our way down to the bistro. Went down the front and arrived for a drink just before night set in. Spent a while at the Bistro talking about tour, trips and biking in Livigno in September.
Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 1 hour 36 min.
Average speed: 10.4 km/h
Distance: 16.77 km

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day 7: Conegliano - Venice

Woke up today due to a machine doing something outside, a little fly and the alarms. Went down to breakfast and had a lot to eat and then packed up all our stinky clothes and set of towards Mestre, the city on the coast of Venice. Basically we hammered away kilometres on flat to downhill roads. After about one hour we where half finished already, stopped in some shade as we had 31℃ and had a bit to eat. We also followed a race biker a few times, us keeping up surprisingly, before he turned of a different way. Arriving in Mestre we spent a long time actually looking for a place to stay and after criss-crossing the town, found a relatively cheap hotel with internet. We had planned to spend the next day in Venice, but after finding out that the train fare is only 1,25€ we went over and had a look at the town. Got lost a few minutes in the city and ended up at the wrong end of town, as I had planned to head to St. Mark square. Even after asking someone with a map and asking directions we didn't find it. Just by chance after eating dinner we found the square and had a look around before heading back to the hotel in the (hopefully) right train to write the blog and have some rest.
Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 2 hours 58 min.
Distance: 56.9 km
Average speed: 19.14 km/h

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Day 6: Valle di Codore - Conegliano

Woke up in our own apartment and got up to fog and no sunlight. Had a huge breakfast, to much for us to eat and then got packed up. The sun had not come out by the time we said goodbye to the b&b owner, so I had my long stuff on. We biked in to the town for a minute or two but then went whizzing down into the valley. Still no view of the mountain, the fog still hanging low. We got a bit confused as there was a sign warning about something in Italian, but as not the whole path had been marked we went around the warning tape. Further down the valley we found out why it was there, after going across a bridge and having a morning view of a church near to where we had stayed. The reason for the warning was, that there had been a landslide further down the valley. To get over some of the trees, dirt mounds or other things from the mountain we turned out to be rather acrobatic. It was a bit risky sometimes, but never life threatening. We travelled along the valley until we ended up at an old train line. They had ripped out the tracks and left the stones there for walkers. A few metres from where we had come out there was an old tunnel and the house of the tunnel warden or something similar. As we had some time we went exploring. A few metres into the tunnel the tracks started again and we found a sleeping bat in the house. Carried on along the train track, Nico playing the train. We reached a road a few hundred metres further along the rails and we followed that road for ages. Through old Italian mining towns we biked and the weather cleared up enough to actually see the massive mountains. For most of our journey downhill on that road we where alone, saw perhaps three or four cars on the way down as most prefer the main road a few hundred metres next to or under our road. We reached the end of the valley pretty fast and continued out in to the next large valley. Had a short break before carrying on. Biked through some orchards where I was disappointed by OpenStreetMap. No paths where it had said there where some. Turned around and biked all the way back to the main road and then further on. We turned back down to the river to bike along and in it. The tracks that where said where there, where there. Problem, they where the river. It had flooded and our tracks where submerged. Not enough to stop us biking, but enough to stop walkers. After nearly getting our feet wet a few times we went back up to the road. To get to a bridge to cross the river, as we needed to be on the other side, we had to bike through a quarry. To get there we meet our friend again, the river. This time I wasn’t so lucky and my left leg was dripping after falling in to a deep part. Whilst Nico photographed, I wrung out my sock and shoe, but still noticed the squelching. 
Crossed the river on a weird bridge, worked like traffic lights, and continued on along the river. At one part they let a lot of water come down from the mountain through a small hole under our path which caused the water to come shooting out very loudly. Continued on along more and more open fields and plains before having our lunch in the protected cover of a school. Planned moment there, as you could see a storm coming up. Sat through quiet a lot of the weather in our protected area before getting our rain clothes out and peddling in to the storm. All the way along the main road, up and down (had our lights on fortunately, you never know) seeing the imposing bridge structure which was a motorway spanning the valleys length. Arrived in Vitero Veneto and got our rain clothes off, as it was getting warmer and had stopped raining. A few minutes after we set of it started raining again and not just a storm, but a flood. The roads where under water, so we searched for a roof and found one. After the flood had receded a bit with it's weather we carried on, seeing the extend of the damage. Many local people where out taking pictures, so I think it was a very unusual storm. Carried on until Conegliano and after finding the tourist information closed where so feed up we found ourselves a cheap hotel (with Internet!). After having a shower went out for a pizza (again) before going back to the room for the blog and some rest. 
Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 4 hours 59 min.
Distance: 80.13 km
Average speed: 16.06 km/h

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 5: St. Vigil - Valle di Codore

Woke up to the alarm as usual and went to have some breakfast. At breakfast we met two other bikers which where spending the days biking around St. Vigil. After packing up all our things, getting out our rain gear (as it had started raining) and repacking our rain gear (as it stopped ten minutes later) we set of towards the Pederü house. Biked past the place the bike group had stayed four years ago and proceeded up a hill before going up along the valley. The GPS encountered some problems, so we took a few detours at some points. Had a few more metres in altitude thanks to that. We meet six bikers on our way up the valley, all German speaking. Had a chat and turned out they don't like water as they used every mini bridge across the stream we where following. They turned out to be a lot faster than us as they left us in the dust. Last time I biked up that valley it was blue sky and sunshine, but this time we had a very heavy cloud cover and getting near to the hut we where caught in a downpour. We stood under the Pederü house until the rain had receded, like so many other bikers. Had a good view of the concrete road our group had tried to get up four years before.
After the rain had turned of downpour mode we set up towards the Rifugio Fanes. A way up where we met a lot of other bikers. On the way up, the clouds lifted a little and we had some sunshine moments in the dolomites. Stunning views as I remember them. Nico had a small competition against two women and I (tried) to keep up for the most time. The sun shone over us for a while on the way up, so that kept us sweating. Reached the Rifugio Fanes and ploughed on to the top. Reaching the top (after passing a very Scottish/Welsh lake -> misty) we put our long and waterproof clothes on, enjoyed the view (50m sight) and biked down to the Malga di Fanes Grande where we had a very good lunch. Just at the right time as well as it started raining a bit again. We also met our six collogues from before again. We had overtaken them when they had some breakfast in the Pederü house. Going downhill we where greeted with sunshine again and a very rocky track. Typical Dolomites again. Some spectacular scenery again, but we had already reached the bottom in the valley of Cortina d' Ampezzo. Biked through forest, along riverbeds and even on an old airfield towards Cortina. Lots of people in the area again. 
After following the bike path in to Cortina we had a short break to eat our sandwiches from the morning. Passed a lot of people, some strange some not and Nico got a picture of a car. We rolled down most of the time, just sitting on our bikes and letting the bike do all the work. There where some parts uphill, but they where few and far apart. We managed a lot of kilometres that way, but it felt really slow to me. After some time we started looking for an overnight possibility but the first place we found was a bit over our budget. So roll to the next town we did. Also nothing there. It complicates the situation a bit when Nico and I can not speak Italian and no one here speaks English or German. After rolling on, asking at a bar and then a tourist information we finally got a place located just about next to our track. Very cheap considering we got a whole flat for ourself. TV, kitchen, etc. everything there (except internet of course *grumble*, but we had had no luck what so ever with that in the Alps). The owners even drove us to the nearest supermarket and then to a very good pizzeria. Very friendly people, with lots of forthcoming help. Thank you again to the Rosa appartamento in Valle di Cadore for all they did. After stuffing ourselves with Pizza we went back to watch a DVD. Then to bed and to write the blog.
Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa

Time in saddle: 5 hours 36 min.
Distance: 69.28 km
Average speed: 12.37 km/h

Monday, August 11, 2014

Day 4: Kematen - St. Vigil

The big tour today. A climb from our hotel at about 1300 metres above sea level, to a pass (Pfunderer Joch) at about 2500 metres above sea level. All in one go.
But before that we had to wake up and eat some breakfast. Had a rather large assortment we could choose from, even some cake. After stuffing ourselves so we would have enough energy but not be weighed down to much we got set, paid and set of on our bikes. A lot of people had said that getting above tree level on the Pfunderer Joch is fu****g steep and it is not to far from the truth. I have biked up steeper before but not over that length of time. At one point there was a cow fence and someone had written "only 800 hm left" onto it, so we where working ourselves up, slowly. Apparently it gets easier after reaching the top tree level at about 1900 metres above sea level. The task from then on was to have enough power or skill to be able to get up a rocky track. Shortly before we left the tree line it started to rain, meaning not a light drizzle, but a downpour. It carried on for a bit of a time period, enough so we got drenched. You don't notice the rain after a while any more, because you don't know what is rain and what is sweat. At the same place we stayed a group left up the same way we did about half an hour earlier, but we saw no head or tails of them. We did see a Alpe on the way up with two vehicles in the vicinity, but otherwise we where completely alone. The higher we went the more it appeared we where in the Scottish highlands. We where chased up the mountain by some clouds threatening us with rain, but they where mostly driven back by the wind coming the other way. At one point we had to cross a river and because it had rained rather a bit the night before we stood in front of an un-bikable challenge. Solution: shoes of and walk through five degree Celsius water, in the middle of no where with only us two in the area. After nearly freezing our toes of and getting the shoes back on we continued up. And up and up. Higher up I heard a marmot about 30 metres away and I got as near as 20 metres to get a picture before it disappeared. They tend to be rather shy creatures (I think) and don't normally let people that near to them. Carried on up and met some strange cows. Acted like they don't know what bikers are. Shortly before reaching the top we had to start pushing, when we heard a helicopter coming nearer. Flew right over our head and it looked like it had a camera mounted on the front. It hovered over the pass for a few seconds and then flew back over us before flying over to the next stone wall and carrying on along that. After quiet some more pushing we reached the snow field at the top and had a super view down the valley we had come from and no view down the valley we where planning to go. Cloud cover again. After getting wrapped up in all sorts of long clothes (it was 8℃) we took a few pictures and then went down the other side. The first few metres where spent walking but then it went over into trail biking. We got lost a few times and where stopped by some even stranger cows than before, but had a super bike down to the next Alm with Nico biking a lot of the trail, sometimes some that looked like they could brake the bike. Down past the Alm and further on. We saw one bright green blob (biker) coming down from the Pfunderer Joch but otherwise no soul up there. Underneath the Alm there was a large amount of campers and the strangest cow. It ran away from us for a few hundred metres, down the track we where biking. Not left or right turn, just strait. We eventually managed to get past it with the help of to unknowing hikers. Strange thing was, it carried on following us for a while. Zoomed down into the valley, past rock outcroppings and down tarmac roads. 
That was also the time we started looking for a place to eat. Found lots of inns, but all of them boarded up. We eventually had lunch in a Pizza restaurant just before it closed. After lunch we got rid of the sand in our socks from the river crossing in the morning and put our long clothes in to the rucksack. We half heartedly continued on along the main river towards Bruneck. Instead of following the bike path all the way we took a detour through a near forest. Lucky in that situation, as just when we passed under the forest tree line it started raining again. Thanks to our tree friends we stayed rather dry. After getting back on the bike road we continued on to St. Vigil. I was there with the bike group four years ago and biked up the same way Nico and I where going up now. I was rather surprised once again how the valley turns from normal valley in to Dolomite valley, steep drops and villages on the valley sides. After rather a long uphill bike we saw the first signs of the Dolomite mountains in the distance. Underneath that St. Vigil. After a downhill run to the town we found a room rather fast and while Nico went shopping I had a shower and then wrote my blog. Searched for dinner for some time (and WLAN, but found none) but got some in the end before going back for the night. 
Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 6 hours 2 min.
Distance: 65,33 km
Average speed: 10.82 km/h

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Day 3: Gries am Brenner - Kematen

Woke up due to a cockerel today morning before my alarm went of. Got up and went down to breakfast at 8.00 AM to bread, cheese and a boiled egg. After getting everything packed and the bike chains oiled we set of. 
At the bottom of the first climb we met two other bikers going up the same way as us, but we started before them and didn't see both until the top. Nice bike uphill with a cloudy cover giving us some shade. Overtook some walkers but otherwise met no one on the way up. We passed an Alm we might have slept in and carried on past some fish ponds. Met a biker coming the other way looking for the Alm, but otherwise no one. After a while the climbing degree increased whilst the road deteriorated at the same rate until we where going up some rather difficult tracks. We passed the tree line at one point, still climbing hire. The wind also increased and on the last few metres uphill we had a gale blowing in our faces. Reaching the military roadway running along the top the wind was blowing against us all the time. We carried along it, watching the clouds being pushed through the Brenner valley with our bikes (and through them us) being shaken through by the rough road. In a wind free zone we could find we ate our bread we had taken with us. Lots of other biker passed us, seems to be a rather renown area to bike up there. We carried on along the tracks, with the wind howling through our bike spooks when the wind came at the right angle. After a lot of up and down biking, the passing Alps making a wonderful scenery, we reached the end of the uphill part, us standing at 2200 metres above sea level. Long clothes on and down the tracks towards Sterzing. We saw two other bikers taking the trail route down but we wanted to have some lunch so we carried on down the road tracks. The weather warmed considerably on the way down and the weather also pushed away the clouds and bought us blue sky. Down the tarmac road past Brenner, missing a turn at one point and then it was back to biking uphill. Only for a few hundred metres luckily. Going downhill after that proofed difficult as we had such a head wind we had to actually cycle downhill. In Sterzing after quiet a bit of biking round the town we stopped at a pizzeria where they had some very good home made pizza. Unfortunately just after we had finished (we where just talking about it actually) Nico was stung by a wasp (stupid things). After getting some cool packs on the sting and waiting for a while we carried on biking. Up and up again, along the main road, which was rather empty considering it was a main road. Biked through a tunnel just as three very loud cars went through, so we had a rather loud motor sound for the first tunnel section. Carried on past a farm where some turkeys where being herded by a car. Caused a loud ruckus on the farm.
Reached the top of the road, meaning the bottom of the valley. This is where Alpine scenery started. A lake, mountains and huts. 
We biked through woods and river, becoming a mobile fast food store for the local mosquito. Reached Fussendrass at the bottom of the Pfunderer Joch but found no overnight possibility so carried on to Kematen where we found a place in the local inn. Had some dinner, went for a walk and then back to the room for a blog and to watch a film on TV.
Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 5 hours 35 min.
Distance: 57.57 km
Average speed: 10.32 km/h

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Day 2: Seefeld - Gries am Brenner

Woke up in the middle of the night, thinking I was awake to late. Luckily had a few hours left to rest. Woke up at 7.25 AM with the alarm and got ready, packing things here and there. Had breakfast at 8 o'clock, lots of bread and tea and set of at about 9.30. First thing we looked for was a bike repair centre, as Nico's bike had morphed to a motorbike. He had a throttle on his left handle bar as his grip wasn’t tightened enough. After (seemingly) fixing that, we carried on, steep uphill for a short while after which Nico's handle grip fell of completely. Dropped his rucksack and raced the short trip back to the bike centre. I looked at some religious stones set up in a circle until he came back. After biking through some woods and past a local (muuu), we went whizzing downhill into the Inn valley. Rather a hot day again, with blue sky. After passing the Power-Plobb (turns po in to power) we carried on along the Inn towards Innsbruck. Long strait little gravel roads with lots of bikers. We passed a racing track with an RC fuel car making a lot of noise and stopped to watch a bit. Carried on and biked through Innsbruck with it's lots of people. Had to push through the pedestrian zone as that was full. After that we used the Innsbruck bike network to get out and also saw rather a lot of bikers. The Inn valley seems to be a rather liked bike destination. Getting out of Innsbruck we paid the price for our 500 metres in altitude downhill run from Seefeld. All and more back up again. Unfortunately we had to follow the main road up. Didn't see any tracks going up the Wipp valley (name of the valley towards the Brenner pass). Whilst biking up we heard the ominous rumbling of thunder and clouds had been appearing more and more for a few hours. After Nico had replenished his dwindling water supplies we where caught in a bit of a shower but nothing noticeable. At one point I was biking in dry conditions whilst Nico being 50 metres behind me caught a bit of rain.
We had lunch at a rather snug restaurant and whilst we where eating it started raining. Rain clothes on and with a full stomach we carried on. Saw the Stubai glacier to our right but carried on up the Wipp valley. A weird up and down track followed. The left curves mostly being about 30 metres above the right curves. And it was still raining. We where overtaken or passed by still a high amount of other
biker. Arrived in Steinach am Brenner after going down into the valley where I asked at an ice cream pallor for a plastic bag to put the wet rain gear in. We biked uphill for quiet some time and didn't want to run a green house centre under our jackets. After biking under and up past the Brenner high road we reached the top after quiet some climbing and the rain had picked up again. Reaching the top we where just under the clouds and as it went downhill after that we got our long clothes on. From that point onwards we started looking for a place to stay. The first place we rung at nobody answered. The second place was a pub. Nico disappeared inside for a rather extended amount of time, me looking after the bikes outside in a downpour. It turned out the owner was very friendly and helped ring up half the town. No place free except one about one to two kilometres away from where we were standing, back the way we had come. After getting a bit lost we where greeted by the friendly owner and a warm shower and fireplace for our things to dry. After the shower we went down for some dinner and when we came back full, where greeted by a kitten at the front door which we played with for a while. After that to bed and blogger.
Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 5 hours 3 min.
Distance: 65.88 km
Average speed: 13.05 km/h

Friday, August 8, 2014

Day 1: Nesselwang - Seefeld

Biking started today, of to Venice with Nico. Said we would meet at 8.30 AM, so after stuffing and repacking my rucksack several times we set of at about 8.50 AM. First stop was Jon's, as I had to bring back a GPS I had taken. After that we where of towards Pfronten, weather being a superb blue sky. Through Pfronten and then down the Vilstal where we were complained at by two people that we where biking next to each other (they where walking next to each other). Along the valley until we nearly reached Reutte and past the Hahnenkamm ski resort (are there in winter a lot). They had floods in the area, so we saw some forests underwater. Carried on with the mountains getting bigger and higher. Then came the first uphill part, underneath the Ehrenberg castle. No forest track uphill, it was through mud and across fields we went. Even got stuck sometimes. Had to bike along the main road for a short bit but we where lucky in that regard that we got a car-dead zone. Saw a lot of trekking bikers in that area as well. We got somewhat lost around the back, as we where supposed to bike over the main road, using a bridge that wasn't there, but ended up going under the road and under a train track.
After that it was around the Plansee, with our first weird action being to bike through the water next to a bridge. Nico's comment: no risk, no fun. My right foot was wet for the rest of the day. Carried on along the shore after that little experience and had a short break before continuing along the side. Saw a bridge with a few people jumping if into the water.
After that was where the fun really started. Along a very long trail following the edge of e water with lots of small ups and downs, roots and stones. Basically a super trail run for a very long time. Nearly never had to get of and most of the walking people where friendly. Reached the end of that after spending a lot of energy on the trail but getting everything back in fun.
Took a wrong turn but noticed my error in time to turn round and take the valley down to Garmisch. Overtook and later where followed by two elderly men, but lost theme somewhere on the way. Reached Garmisch after 73 km and both had the same lunch (a huge cheese and bacon baguette) in a restaurant, which was needed badly.
After lunch a long uphill run, seeing the ski jump area and nearly running over a man (his fault, he was standing in the road and cars don't gave bells to ring, so quit complaining). Had a short stop where we would have turned left to Melanies (a friend of Nicos) but as she was not home we carried on right to Mittenwald. Did a detour through a field but ended up back at the main road. Followed that until Mittenwald and biked towards Scharnitz, passing through a tightly packed pedestrian zone (dodge left, dodge right). After going out of the way of some lumberjacks we reached Scharnitz and as we nearly had 100km carried on. We passed the 100km somewhere between Scharnitz and Seefeld and I got photo proof. Unfortunately, to get to Seefeld, we had a long uphill run, but we reached it after some time. I had wondered if we would find a place to stay, should not have been worried. I'd be surprised if there is a house that doesn't offer accommodation. Found one after a bit of an extended search as we weren't sure if any place had room and they don't hang up signs here. Looked our bikes in a shed and then had a shower where you could choose between hot and hotter.
Went into town for an evening meal and came back to write the blog and get some sleep.
Track at GPSies and pictures at Picasa.

Time in saddle: 7 hours 18 min.
Distance: 110.02 km
Average speed: 15.07 km/h

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dietringen and Beichelstein

Currently got holiday and as I had some business to attend to in Dietringen on the Forgensse I decided to bike there. After creating a short track with Google Earth I was on my way there. First of past the Kögelweiher and then down into the flat lands. Through some forest and valley and then uphill a bit. A moderately flat tour, compared to some other recent ones. Past the Faulensee and shorty after that I arrived in Dietringen.
Met up with the boss of the local sailing school and discussed when I could take part.
Back along the same way most of the time, as I don't know my way to well around there. I did take a longer route up the Beichelstein, nearly missing the path that had not been built for bikers if not for the help of a friendly hiker going up to the Alpe. Passed the Alpe and then back down along stony tracks, past some walkers recapturing a runaway cow. Back uphill and with a bit of a different route past the Kögelweiher towards Nesselwang. I wanted to get the 50km mark, so I did another detour through Rindegg and then on to Jons to get my bike cleaned and ready for the tour to Venice. Also had an ice cream as a reward with mum and Jon.
Track can be found at GPSies.

Time in saddle: 3 hours
Average speed: 16.8 km/h
Distance: 50.6 km