PACTIMO REWARDS(0)    PACTIMO & COVID-19  |  FREE EXCHANGES  |  FREE SHIPPING ON $70+ ORDERS    NEED HELP?   US Dollar British Pound

STORY LIBRARIES:   Tips & Advice  ·   People, Places & Things  ·   Training & Coaching
FEATURED BLOGGER:   Alison Powers - Triple National Champion


Day 14: Villach to Mauterndorf: One epic climb

Day 14: Villach to Mauterndorf: One epic climb

"We were headed up 1500 feet over the course of 4 miles."

by Dave Young

After the most challenging day so far, the first day in Albania, we decided to rework our itinerary to shorten the days we would be ascending over the Alps. Justin did most of the planning when we took some extra time in Kotor, Montenegro. Today was the most obvious realization of this plan. Our distance was shortened to only 55 miles because of one epic climb. 

Athens 2 Amsterdam Day 14

Because we didn't have much distance to go today, we decided to sleep in a bit (or we slept past our alarms). We managed a quick session of silly stretches, then finally left our apartment around 7:15 am. The first hour of riding followed a nearly flat, train-grade ascent into Spittal an der Drau. Here, we found a sweet bakery in a strip mall and continued on with plenty of carbs to fuel us. 

Athens to Amsterdam Day 14 Pactimo Custom Cycling Jerseys

 

Athens 2 Amsterdam Day 14 Pactimo Custom Cycling Jerseys

The route changed from following train tracks to following a river. Here, the grade became steeper, but we maintained a steady and quick pace. The real climb was to start at mile 41. Fortunately, there was an authentic Austrian mountain-side town right at that point so we decided to stop there for lunch. 

 

Athens 2 Amsterdam Day 14 Pactimo Custom Cycling Jerseys

We ate traditional Austrian food and saved room for a little dessert.

Our kind waitress showed us a small continuously running spigot we could fill our water bottles from. While hesitant given our previous GI illnesses, we assumed the water was from a deep well and went for it. 

Athens 2 Amsterdam Day 14

Athens 2 Amsterdam Day 14 Pactimo Custom Cycling Jerseys

Once filled up, we set off with mild trepidation for what was to come. We were headed up 1500 feet over the course of 4 miles. Getting up the pass was no joke, requiring a couple of rest stops and about 1000 grunts, but we eventually made it to the peak! We stopped for a picture, and let the quad fires extinguish. 

 

Athens 2 Amsterdam Day 14 Pactimo Custom Cycling Jerseys

We love descending, but what was to come was far too dangerous for anyone to let off the brakes for more than 3 seconds. It was nearly vertical (ok, a sustained 17% decline). Not surprisingly, I took no pictures for fear of dying if I took even one hand off the brakes. We coasted down into a valley and into our home town for the night, Mauterndorf. 

Athens 2 Amsterdam Day 14

As we reached our hotel, we were met by a traditional wedding procession. We stopped to take pictures and cheer them through the town. Patrick and Justin ran to the store while Don and I took showers. They returned with post-ride snacks and our new obsession, Radlers! To our surprise, we learned that these drinks were made especially for cyclists. In 1922, Franz Kugler whipped up a half-beer half-lemonade drink when a large group of cyclists came through his inn in Deisenhofen, Germany. The common name of Radler (called a shandy in my household) comes from the word "Radlermass," which literally means "cyclist liter."

Athens 2 Amsterdam Day 14

 

Athens 2 Amsterdam Day 14

Next up was our favorite time of day, dinner! And tonight's was going to be one for the books. Our dinner was going to be in a castle! Built in 1250 (what?), the tower and palace are the oldest structures in the Lungau region of the Alps. The castle was used both as a regional seat of government as well as a fortress to secure the Tauern trade route from attack. Coincidentally, we rode on most of the trade route today and will again tomorrow - currently, it's a small highway from Villach all the way to Salzburg. The trade route typically was used to bring wine, fruit, and luxury items from Italy and gold and silver back from the mountains. 

Athens 2 Amsterdam Day 14

 

 

Athens 2 Amsterdam Day 14

Our dinners were all local fare: hearty and absolutely delicious. Our bellies are stuffed, and we are in bed early. We might actually get 8 hours of sleep tonight! 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

ABOUT DAVE YOUNG

Athens to Amsterdam Dave YoungDave met the other guys while in Boston for medical school. He completed an emergency medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and moved to Denver to complete a Wilderness Medicine fellowship at the University of Colorado. he returned to CU 2 years ago and has been faculty since. His passion for cycling began in college and was solidified when leading bike touring trips for the American Youth Foundation. Dave completed the Seattle2Boston Ride with Justin and Don in 2014 and has been looking forward to another epic ride since.

 




Also in Athens 2 Amsterdam

Day 21: Arnhem to Amsterdam. The finish!
Day 21: Arnhem to Amsterdam. The finish!

Before going to bed last night, rain was on our minds. For the last few days, rain was predicted in Amsterdam and the forecast hadn't changed. We knew that it was unlikely that we could avoid it, but we were going to do our best to minimize it. 

Read More

Day 20: Bonn to Arnhem: But almost is not done.
Day 20: Bonn to Arnhem: But almost is not done.

Our night at the Centro Hotel Residence in Bonn, Germany was presided over by a rather stern receptionist. She was adamant our bicycles not be kept in the room despite our persistent requests. As we laid down to sleep, Dave became increasingly concerned over the safety of our trusty steeds and we snuck down to the basement garage under the cover of darkness to carry them up 5 flights of stairs. 

Read More

Day 19: Mainz to Bonn
Day 19: Mainz to Bonn

"After some rest and necessary laundry in the historic town of Mainz, we took off early this morning headed towards the Rhine River, which we knew we would follow for the remainder of the day's ride. Leaving these towns in the pre-dawn light is always a fun spectacle: four men in matching bright jerseys on bikes navigating on cobblestone streets, dodging delivery drivers and early commuters going the opposite direction."

Read More

Find us on Google+