Sunday, April 27, 2008

Garmisch Partenkirchen to Bad Tolz

Garmisch to Bad Tolz


GPS Log here.

This morning, I got up extra early and headed out to the train station. Hoping to catch the 8:34 train, I barreled along in the morning with no traffic whatsoever on the road --- a cyclist truly owns the city this early in the morning! In fact, I got there so fast that I made the 8:11am train by running through the station (which gave me knee a bit of a twinge), which already had two cyclists aboard.

The ride to Garmisch was scenic, and I shot a few pictures through an open window. Getting off the train, I turned on the GPS and set my route. When I set my route two days ago, I didn't have any elevation information whatsoever --- my concern was to simply find the most out of the way road that I could. Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that I immediately started climbing in Garmisch Parternkirchen and it was a significant grade, causing me to shift to my 39x34 and stand up in parts. The road was lonely, rought, single track, and every bit as scenic as I had hoped for, mountains looming up behind and to the right of me.

Someone at the office had persuaded me to head towards Mittenwald, and after a little bit of paradise, I ended up on the main road towards Mittenwald, using some side roads, bike paths, and a few isolated roads, which it being Sunday, had a lot of Sunday drivers. I entered Mittenwald to find the road strewn with horse poop. It turned out that Mittenwald was having a parade --- horses and horse carriages took up the whole road, including an escort. I overtook the lot, and snapped a few pictures that didn't turn out, and missed a turn. Since I was doing a loop around the Mittenwald valley, I considered skipping the loop, but then spied my designated route winding around the mountain --- well, that clinched it --- I wasn't going to let a chance to do more climbing bypass me!

I pulled a U-turn, looped back and overtook the parade again, and started riding up along side the mountain into the Leutasch valley, which at 1000 meters actually had snow still. I was very sad when the road leveled out, because I then had to face a 10kph headwind. All things considered it was very light, but still very annoying. I pushed on for the better part of an hour against this wind, all the while enjoying the lovely scene around me --- mountain meadows, snow capped peaks and all that. This was what I took the train all the way out here to see, and I was not disappointed!

Finally, just when I had had about enough, the road finally turned up hill and away from the wind, and I found myself switch-backing once before cresting the summit of the pass into the Scharnitz valley. A left turn and I had a long fast descent, this time with a tail wind! The road surface was good and the corners were gentle so I did not touch my brakes at all until I rolled onto the main road just outside Scharnitz and had to deal with an inordinate amount of traffic.

Back into Mittenwald, I navigated through town and decided it was time to eat lunch. I wolfed down a sandwich, washed down with water, and then discovered that my GPS unit had decided to take a break as well. I reset the unit, but decided to take a path that I had spied on my earlier entry into Mittenwald, and ignored the belated bleepings of my GPS navigator as it realized that I was not behaving like it wanted me too. I was glad I ignored it, however, as the bike path I found climbed and climbed and granted me a lovely view of the surroundings, including the Barmsee, before descending into Krun. From Krun and Wallgau it was a gentle ride along a river towards the Walchensee, where I made a right onto the toll road, which did not charge for bicycles.

The Walchensee was big and lovely, and I stopped several times to take pictures of this peaceful looking lake. Past the lake, the road became a gentle descent that was unfortunately right into a headwind --- fortunately, I was well fueled before I headed into the Lenggries Valley, where the side roads I had chosen worked very well. Once into Bad Tolz, I decided that I would have some ice cream, so I rode down town and had one. Alas, that caused me to miss the train by about 5 minutes. I should have immediately then ridden over to Wolfrathausen, but I mistakenly thought there was a train every 30 minutes. Not to matter, for I met a number of German mountain bikers and had a good conversation while waiting for the train.

What a lovely day: 111km, 1067m of climbing.
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