Up Next: Hochsauerland

hsk-medebachNow that September seems to be done throwing record-breaking temperatures at us, it’s time for our next trip to the ‘hilly’ area of Hochsauerland, Germany.

If the trip to the Vosges was any indication of my abilities to handle that sort of terrain, I’d do well to plan my cycling adventures a little less enthusiastic, lest I’ll end up in the back of the van again.

As it seems these ‘climbing abilities’ – pitiful at best anyway – have diminished further, even the hills in the Vosges proved enough to finish me. In my defense, I’d like to point out that the average grades on the ‘friendly rolling’ hills there are often close to 10%.

However, the hills in Hochsauerland are not as high as in the Vosges and the climbs are – in general – a lot shorter…

Anyway, as I’ve been there before (March 2014) and I vividly remember the struggles I had during that trip, I can’t say I haven’t been warned.

After this trip, the outdoor season is about to end and I doubt there will be another trip to the hills until next spring. Which means that during the indoor season, I have a lot of work to do, if I want to make the intended trip to the French Alps next year a succes.

During that trip, I’m planning to ride both the (classic) Marmotte Gran Fondo Alpes as well as the Sestriere Gran Fondo, probably not more than a week apart.

Not the official ones, just on my own. Besides, the Italian Marmotte is not even an official event anymore, as it has been exchanged for one in Austria…

The ‘Marmotte Alpes’ is a 174 kilometer, 5,000+ altimeter challenge –  totally realistic and do-able, right?

The Sestriere Gran Fondo is ‘only’ 117.7 kilometers, with some 3,200 altimeters – however, that is including the Colle delle Finestre, which features a large unpaved section and averages 9.1% over the total distance of 18.7 kilometers. And that unpaved section is actually the steepest – 13, 14% – which should be fun to ride…

So, to help me to fulfill this mad quest, I have subscribed to Today’s Plan – they have added both Gran Fondos to the list of training plans. More importantly, it was announced today that they have partnered with Team Sky, so basically, I’m now part of that team too 🙂

More on next year’s Tour de France and training with Today’s Plan later!