Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 24: Radstadt to Sankt Michael im Lungau

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We got up early to a lunch in the Reichelts' gorgeous dining room. Outside, it was already very bright, and it looked like another boiling hot day. Riding down to Radstadt, we took minor roads, and then headed onto highway 99 alongside it. After just a couple of kilometers the bike path petered out and we had a choice between the meandering bike path and the main road. With the warnings of the postal clerk from yesterday in mind, I chose the main road to try to get over the pass as quickly as possible.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

Past Untertauern, the grade steepened dramatically, exceeding the 12% grades promised on the map by quite a bit! We saw grades of up to 17% as the road dramatically climbed up what looked like a wall besides a waterfall (I'm not exaggerating by much). Together with the promised weekend traffic, this was quite a stressful hour and a half, with only brief periods of relief from the grade or the traffic.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

By the time we got to the top of Radstadter Tauern (1731m), we were pretty tired. Unlike other passes, this one was pretty much unmarked with a pass marker or an elevation sign. The summit looked like any other ski town, with ski lifts, busses, and lots and lots of vehicle traffic.

The descent, by contrast was a delight. I see that we hit nearly 55mph, and it was only that slow because there were cars in front of me! The map I had also showed a Twenger pass, but it turned out that it was not a pass at all, but just a town. Maps just aren't that accurate when you get out of the frequently touristed areas, and we were definitely exploring places in Austria that not that many visitors visited.

As we accelerated into Tweng, we overtook a couple of motorcyclists who graciously let us pass, but as the road flattened out towards Mautendorf, they over took us again. The day was warm in Mautendorf as we pulled into town for a grocery store lunch. There was apparently some sort of renaissance fair in town, but we didn't get a chance to check it out.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

We pulled into our hotel less than 45 minutes later, and were delighted to find our room ready for us. As we checked in, we met another cyclist who had just gotten back from a ride while his family was at the fair. He saw our loaded touring bike and said, "Why didn't you leave all that junk at the hotel?" I guess Americans aren't the only ones who don't realize that car-free touring is an option. His world view did not include the idea of point to point touring without support. The hotel had a swimming pool as well, but it was not in the best of shape. Lisa observed that the hotel didn't seem to understand what meatless was on the menu. We went to the supermarket to stock up on food for tomorrow, and then generally lounged around, resting for what everyone had told us was going to be a painful ride tomorrow.

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