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%…

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Going For Gold: Marmotte Hochkönig

Bugs BunnyBottom line of this post is that I have set that ‘one more, just this one, I promise‘ target for 2017: the Marmotte Hochkönig in Austria.

But first, I should apologize on behalf of the rebel, as it has been a while.

Those of you more or less frequently visiting this blog – I’m not judging, but I can’t even… – may have started to wonder if the rebel is still alive.

Well, I can assure you: he is. It’s just that he didn’t feel like there was anything noteworthy to write a new post about…

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Midweek In Hochsauerland

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Medebach Hochsauerland

After our previous trip to the Hochsauerland area, I promised to come back one day for more cycling and last week we made good on that promise.

Like last time, we rented a cottage in Medebach, which is in ‘High Sauerland District’, the area where the highest ‘mountains’ are located.

And while these, or any other climb around here, will not make it onto my ‘been there, done that‘ list, they offer enough altimeter gains to help you finish a Strava climbing challenge in no time…

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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…

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Stuffed Ballons d’Alsace

Ballon d'Alsace marker (borne)During my first ever trip to the Vosges, I got a little more ‘Stuffed Ballons d’Alsace’ than I was able to swallow.

I anticipated ‘friendly’, green and quiet climbs, which is what most descriptions show/promise you.

Don’t get me wrong: the scenery was very nice, although traffic was a little annoying at times.

However, I really chocked on the more than frequent bits of 11, 12% average, with extra spicy chunks of 15, 16% which – as usual – are not visible in those nice profile pictures.

Obviously, I may also have been a little overenthusiastic when I tried to fit in as many of the ‘known’ ballons into my only 3 days of cycling.

I did get on the bike on Monday afternoon too in the end, but I doubt that was a very sound decision after some 10 hours en route…

And to make things worse, the weather was not very cooperative.

I first rode in drizzling rain and near-uncomfortable temperatures of around 10 degrees Celsius on Monday afternoon and all through Tuesday, when all of a sudden the weather changed and Wednesday threw a blistering sun and 36 degrees Celsius at me.


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