My Philosophy

"Don't tell me the sky's the limit when we have footsteps on the moon!"

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Tour de Austria: The Forest

The result of my aforementioned stupidity was that I would have a long grueling journey up a hill/forest. This would last 3 hours and occurred after nearly 5 hours of cycling, stupid, stupid me!

At the end of the last post I had stopped for a breather at what I thought would be the top of the hill, suitably pleased with my efforts I plodded along through a farm. One of the workers at the farm saw me and said "Servus" (Hello) but was looking at me a bit funny. I ignored that and plodded along, I could see a down hill, very steep so I unleashed and got some major speed.

Then I realised why the guy was looking at me funny, I was heading for a dead end. Yep, the track just ended. This was pretty dangerous because the hill was still steep. I stopped and swore really loudly (in English) and heard an echo. More pain was endured getting back up this hill that had been so enjoyable going down. I swore a couple more times on the way up.

When I got back to the farm I asked the guy how to get to Mondsee (where my hotel was), he told me the way (in German) and refilled my empty water bottles (also very stupid of me not carrying more!). He said NOT to turn towards the church, but after checking Google the next day that way would have indeed been quicker and avoided the highest point of the hill.

I explained in my last post that my map described height or difficulty of a hill with a number. That day I had done a couple of 3's and 2's but what I was facing after not turning towards the church was a 7!!! And this was with a bumm knee as well so riding was both slow and painful - very poor for morale!

The terrain was very level here for about 10 minutes until I was greeted with another hill. I cycled up all the way of this one but when I reached the top my quadriceps were actually twitching and quite badly so I stopped again and stretched. I was in a lot of pain here.

After an hour of switching between walking and riding up the hill I saw something picture worthy, which was the lake I should have been cycling alongside lol.

This doesn't really show just how high up I was, maybe this one does...

At this point I realised that it was quite late and wasn't sure if the hotel had a deadline for people checking in, so I called them up but had no answer. Well, the only thing to do is carry on right? So I did, and finally I could see the top! And this time it was the real top. It was blocked by one of those level pole barriers to stop cars, one one side was a cliff and the other the hill continued so I couldn't get my bike round it or under it, so it had to go over.

At the top I saw a sign for Mondsee, but the problem was that it was a hiking sign. I looked at the trail and it was indeed unsuitable for a bike, not even a top of the line mountain bike. I swore again. What got me this far was the belief that every stride up hill would mean a nice downhill stretch, but instead I had to practically carry my bile and gear down the hill, using more energy than going up did!

The reward for me getting to the top of the hill was to work harder getting down!

At one point the toil became too great and I had to rest, I put my bike down and sat on a log and looked up at the sky for a while. Suddenly I heard a really loud snort from an animal behind me. Startled, I looked behind me and behind a (low) fence there was about 15 stags, all of them staring at me. I wanted a picture but I wanted more to get the hell out of there! So on I moved.

This was all down hill but the ground had been minced by a tractor at some point and with a cliff on my left I deemed it unsuitable for riding other than when it was good enough, which was no very often at all. On one of these rare occasions that I was on the bike I got the fright of my life!

A deer came running from my right down the hill, I was so shocked that I nearly fell off, I hope that if I did fall off I would have the sense to fall right instead of left, otherwise that would have been the end. That adrenalin was used to get me further down the hill, which was becoming more and more cyclable ground. I even saw a nice looking cycle path going down hill, I prayed that I would be on there soon. Something even better than that happened!

I saw that the path I was following turned a corner and around this corner was the most amazing downhill stretch I had ever been on, but I also saw a truly breathtaking view (and at this point I hadn't much breath left to give!).

Unfortunately this picture doesn't really do the view justice and I only took one, so keen was I to get to Mondsee that I got straight back on my bike and rode like a bat out of hell down the best downhill cycle path I have ever been on. The smile on my face had returned.

Total Cycling distance: 68 miles (110km)
Total Calories (estimate): 4500
Highest hill climbed: 1050m
Pain factor: very high!

Viel Spaß homies!

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