Date: August 09th-16th, 2006
Start: Tegernsee, Germany
Finish: Riva del Garda, Italy
Ride total: ~446,7 km / ~277.5 miles
Riding time: ~55 h
Ascent: ~7800 m / ~25590 ft
Energy used: ~25900 kcal / ~108440 kJ
Weather: mostly cloudy, several rain showers, ~16-20°C
Day 1: Mayrhofen
Ride: 86,8 km / ~53.9 miles
Riding Time: ~6,5 h
Ascent: ~1080 m / ~3543 ft
Energy used: ~4200 kcal / ~17585 kJ
Finally, the event is starting off now: After several months of preparations my new Stumpjumper is going to feel real mountains! Long hours in car and train have made it eager to begin this trip crossing the Alps. Via Monialm and Erzherzog-Johann-Klause we are heading towards Mayrhofen (Austria), enjoying some easy rolling with our bikes.
The sun might shine a little more, our Kaiserschmarrn should not cool down too quickly. Anyway, this meal already gives some feeling of vacation...
Shortly before arriving at today's hotel we encounter a little rain shower, but it cannot stop us now.
For dinner we order spaghetti bolognese for bikers, which means the XXL helping: "If you can eat all that...", the waiter winks. Later on, he is taking away the plate without any comment - of course it is empty...
Day 2: Pfitscherjoch
Ride: 75,0 km / ~46.6 miles
Riding Time: ~10,5 h
Ascent: ~1745 m / ~5725 ft
Energy used: ~5400 kcal / ~22609 kJ
Today we are going to ride(?) over Pfitscherjoch. First we arive at Schlegeisspeicher after Mayrhofen. It is a little windy during lunch break, before we start riding uphill on the trail. After very short time we realize that we have to practise more biking technique before riding up here; so we continue walking. Passing hikers try to be enchanting: "Back up there riding is possible, again."
At last, we arrive at 2216m above sea level. Although there are higher levels to reach, this is a new record in height for me and my bike! And it is pretty cool up here...
While beginning the downhill into Pfitschtal the sun shows up: now it is even more fun. However, I am happy to have added real gloves to my equipment shortly before leaving.
During this downhill we reach a maximum speed of about 46mph, but we still need quite a long time to arrive at our hotel. There is no time for having a shower before the kitchen closes, therefore the other guests may take some sniffs of our special trip...
Day 3: Bressanone
Ride: 59,2 km / ~36.8 miles
Riding Time: ~9,5 h
Ascent: ~1450 m / ~4757 ft
Energy used: ~4100 kcal / ~17166 kJ
Sunshine lets us proceed to Bressanone without complications, al- though the road changes into being a trail and back several times.
We still need to buy the tickets for our return train; this is why we already have our lunch break here. While eating, we watch the people staring at our bikes in the pedestrian zone.
Shortly after leaving Bressanone we head for the mountains again: A long dirt and gravel road takes us through several brooks up to about 1700m, from where we ride down to St. Peter. There we shall find our next hotel. Several rain showers with differing intensi- ties make life a little difficult...
Riding is so easy on the road that we almost miss the hotel. We are allowed to put the bikes and the rain gear in a room near to the heating for drying, before the hosts let us use their machines for washing our clothes.
Day 4: Snow
Ride: 26,4 km / ~16.4 miles
Riding Time: ~6 h
Ascent: ~1275 m / ~4183 ft
Energy used: ~3000 kcal / ~12560 kJ
The fourth day is planned to be the hardest: about 56km with 2000m ascent over two ridges.
On our way we shall have a great view of the Dolomites from Gschnagenhardtalm. Unfortunately we cannot tell, because we are moving at today's cloud ceiling. Additionally we encounter pro- blems following the trail to Broglesalm, which is classified as being rideable, at least in turns. Crossing the first ridge we need much more time to St. Ullrich than planned.
Down there we decide for taking a taxi ti Soraga di Fassa, before we end up being too late this evening. A good decision, because what had been sleet at Broglesalm, now turns to be snow at Passo di Sella. We would not be prepared properly for that!
While waiting for the taxi a funeral procession hinders all traf- fic. We are told that a young inhabitant has died - in his six- ties.
After lousy weather during the day, we enjoy the hot tub of our hotel, hoping for a good meal for dinner. Unfortunately there are communication problems, which prevent some of the desired food from being served to us.
Day 5: Finish uphill
Ride: 36,7 km / ~22.8 miles
Riding Time: ~8 h
Ascent: ~1490 m / ~4888 ft
Energy used: ~3600 kcal / ~15072 kJ
Today three mountains shall be climbed: Best weather and greatest panoramic views at Soraga this morning. We leave for Moena, where we change for dirt roads up to Karerpaß. The description makes us expect a day of relaxation, but every now and then the route sur- prises us - and these surprises cost lots of sweat.
Hearing the hikers cry "Brava, brava!" makes Annette feel good. Others are irritated: "You ride this way? By bike?"
After reaching this pass we head for easier ground, having a look at today's finish from far, Passo Oclini and Hotel Schwarzhorn. We are going to experience a finish uphill at 2000m!
In between we visit Epircher-Laner-Alm, where we enjoy some deli- cious cake before riding downhill through the forest, looking for the last uphill for today. Latter brings us to the hotel via Passo Lavazze. We have kept our schedule, however, as the last guests arriving we are awaited already.
On our way we learn why wearing our helmets is recommended, even on easy ground: a big fir-cone hits Stefan...
Day 6: The Villa
Ride: 86,3 km / ~53.6 miles
Riding Time: ~9 h
Ascent: ~335 m / ~1099 ft
Energy used: ~3000 kcal / ~12560 kJ
It is raining. Anyway we have to begin our descent of about 1800m. Passing Jochgrimmhütte we shall not be stopped by the cows of the next farm.
The weather brightens up with every meter we roll down, so that proceeding on an old railway track is very simple in the end. This track leads us to Auer with its convenient gradient.
Having lunch break in sunny Neumarkt is very relaxing, afterwards we roll towards Trento along the Etsch. We realize, why the trans- alp actually ends in Montan or Auer: There is no need for special riding capabilities anymore, those trails we have left in the moun- tains behind. Very few work is necessary to move the bikes, only other bikers could interfere while we are enjoying the landscape.
We wait for a shower to stop before proceeding towards Trento. However, we are arriving in a very good mood. Before taking the last ascent of the day, we do some sight-seeing in the old part of town.
We have got enough time for doing some thinking:
In Germany all the ice parlours are owned by Italians. So why do we not find any ice parlours in Italy?
The word "gravel" seems to describe lots of different kinds of ground in our road book: Its meaning can vary between dirt and old military roads, and the stones themselves exist in a great variety of diameters...
Day 7: Did It!
Ride: 54,4 km / ~33.8 miles
Riding Time: ~4 h
Ascent: ~180 m / ~591 ft
Energy used: ~1600 kcal / ~6700 kJ
While riding the tour d'honneur we wonder where the ascending me- ters would result from. Suddenly the course changes to being really steep. But this part is quite short and cannot be the only reason.
In Mori we change onto an old road of cobble-stone, the downhill towards Lago di Garda. This section once more demands full concen- tration (and its tribute). However, we almost end up at the lake- shore in Torbola. We did it!
Wait, we still have to go on to Riva. But we sit out the last ki- lometers - yet the bikes have seen water already!
The weather is nice, all areas are occupied with sun-bathing people, and suddenly there are so many bikers around. Riva really is their Mekka...
Checking in early today lets us explore the lake as well as the old city of Riva. Believe it or not: After these few days offroad we try to escape the crowds and seek the quiet.
Day 8: Rain...
Ride: 21,9 km / ~13.6 miles
Riding Time: ~1,5 h
Ascent: ~250 m / ~820 ft
Energy used: ~1000 kcal / ~4187 kJ
How can it rain cats and dogs today, after yesterday's weather being so nice? All the same, we have to pass through it, because the train is leaving Rovereto at a certain time.
We drudge uphill in this mess. Completely soaked we arrive much too early at the station, but even after changing into dry clothes we do not feel like visiting the city.
More and more bikers arrive, some of them we had already seen yesterday. The community is big, but it spreads all over the Alps. Certainly they are met only at rallying points.
The bike waggon is not available, that is why everybody is asked to jam their bikes between the seats of an extra one. It is not only me who has a mouldy feeling about leaving my loyal companion alone. Everything will be fine, and there are many more of them...
At the border to Austria the bike waggon is filled much faster than expected. The conductor cannot easily pass - we do not really care.
Back in Munich we end this trip at an Italian restaurant filled with pride. Having survived our first transalp tour, we enjoy the good food and remember each other of lots of different experiences during the trip...
During the trip several hosts were very kind and
Navigating by GPS with pre-programmed route is very
Gloves covering entire fingers are of good use on
If you prefer not to
meet too many bikers during the