Prepping for the Tour de Suisse

Keutenberg - not as scary as the sign makes you believe

This past weekend, the official Tour de Suisse came to its end, with two stages – 7 & 9 – that were in the area I’ll be cycling my own TDS in August.

I traveled to the south of my country, to test myself a bit on a hilly course.

Obviously, the area is no match for the Alps, but it’s good enough to do ‘hill repeats’, which is next to impossible in my backyard.

The wind is often referred to as ‘the Dutch Mountains’ and a headwind sure feels like climbing a mountain every now and then, but still.

From Friday to Sunday, I cycled some 270 kilometers, with around 3,700 meters of elevation difference.

I was a bit weary beforehand about whether or not I’d be able to get up the steeper climbs, but I think I did surprisingly well, considering where I come from…

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A Well Deserved Holiday

Since I had my fair share of fun during last year’s ‘Tour de France‘, we had no cycling adventures scheduled for this year.

Instead, it was Paula’s turn to book a trip, which basically means she picks a location where we get close to ‘100% sun guarantee’.

This usually means Egypt, but since we have been there so often already, she settled for a little less certanty by booking an apartment in Playa del Inglés.

On Gran Canaria…

You remember what happened that time she decided to go to Mallorca, right?

So, although I only knew it was close to Tenerife – but not close enough to have a shot at going up El Teide – it didn’t take me long to figure out that Gran Canaria is probably as much a cycling heaven as is Mallorca.

After swearing lying that I was only going to have one or two trips up to the ‘Pico de las Nieves’, Gran Canaria’s equivalent of El Teide, she reluctantly allowed me to take a cycling kit with me.

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Berchtesgaden, Grossglockner Revisited

Grossglockner LogoFrom June 16 to 23, we spent a week near the German – Austrian border, where I cycled a bit in the Berchtesgadener and Salzburger mountains.

While the trip was originally intended as a revisit to the Berchtesgaden area, I came across the Look Marmotte Hochkönig, which was starting in Mühlbach am Hochkönig, basically around the corner from there.

And when I studied the route for that event, I realized that we would pass through Bruck an der Grossglocknerstrasse at the base of the climb up the Hochalpenstrasse by that name.

A climb I had done in 2009 and which I’d always wanted to revisit as well – I could tell I was in for a busy week.

You can read my report on the Marmotte here – this post is about the rest of the week…

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Wrapping up the Marmotte

Look Marmotte HochkonigFrom June 16 to 23, we spent a week near the German – Austrian border, where I cycled a bit in the Berchtesgadener and Salzburger mountains.

While the trip was originally intended as a revisit to the Berchtesgaden area, I came across the Look Marmotte Hochkönig.

This Gran Fondo was starting in Mühlbach am Hochkönig, basically around the corner from there.

And when I studied the route for that event, I realized that we would pass through Bruck an der Grossglocknerstrasse at the base of the climb up the Hochalpenstrasse by that name.

A climb I had done in 2009 and which I’d always wanted to revisit as well – I could tell I was in for a busy week.

But first, here’s my report on the Marmotte…

Read moreWrapping up the Marmotte

Look, a Marmotte

Look Marmotte HochkonigTapering has begun for the Look Marmotte Hochkönig – this Saturday, the gold rush will start and end in Mühlbach am Hochkönig.

Well, officially it will end at the Arthurhaus, at the end of a steep climb out of the village, also known as the Mandlwandstrasse.

As is the case with the ‘original’ Marmotte in the French Alps, a good deal of the elevation gain for the ride is at the beginning and at the end of the ride.

Right from the start, it’s up the Dientner Sattel, which means there is no ‘easy warming up’ into this ride. The Dientner Sattel is just over 6 kilometers of climbing out of Muhlbach, with some 500 meters of elevation difference.

However, the grades hardly get below 10% and frequently touch 15%…

Read moreLook, a Marmotte