- ODO 1566km
- Location Trieben, Austria
- Weather Thunder Showers
- Feelings High at climbing a mountain bike route followed by an afternoon lul.
In the morning I descended down to the lake. Clear alpine blue right to the bottom. An unreal shade of turquoise. I weaved through the campsites to find the ferry. €3 for an Adult, 90 cents for a bike and the same for a paraglider. I paid for the bike but didn’t mention the paraglider! On the boat there was a mother and her young boy dressed in traditional dress. Leaving the boat and rounding the headland I came across the whole street full of a stream of locals, all heading for mass on this special holiday of Corpus Christi. For me that meant food from petrol stations only for the afternoon but seeing people of all ages dressed to the nines completed the alpine scene.
After the lake I began climbing a broad gravel track. Gaining a hundred or so meters over 5 km I climbed smoothly. Cars and mountain bike riders passing occasionally giving surprised waves. I wondered where my route was taking me. As I rounded out at a trailhead I saw why everybody was coming by on full mountain bikes. The local trail rose 300m to an isolated pass between two peaks. The path became a narrow mix of rocks and loose gravel. No turning back now though.
Half way up he first sign of trouble, my front pannier gradually shrank from view. It turns out the Low Rider racks I had aren’t really meant for the forces of full off-road mountain biking! I shimmied a fix with a selection of cable ties.
Asking as I went along my other concern was the ‘steep bit’ a few bikers had mentioned. I can always turn back. 50m away form the top of the pass I came across it. Loose sheer gravel. With some heaving I pulled my bike up 4 paces at a time. Stopping half way to chat to some hikers about the cathedral in my home town. Finally I made the pass in around 3 hours I found myself by a packed cafe with a spring. Joking to some stunned mountain bikers, “I like to make it hard for myself”.
The climb on gravel proved to me though that I can get the bike around the the world – perhaps I need a stronger front rack and some bigger tyres – but steep gravel tracks aren’t a problem. Although is could become Ben pushing his bike Around the World.
In the afternoon I felt low from the lack of energy. I’ve been eating so much but after a while my body can’t absorb any more sugary M&Ms and my new favourite fruit bars ( I can’t work out if you’re supposed to eat the paper on them but it’s got a nice texture so I do anyway). As the rain continues to fall I’ve been breaking often to build up the reserves. With one more peak to pass tomorrow, the last until Bulgaria, I want to be rested.