Dream it! Believe it! Achieve it!

I am a goal oriented person. I feel lost without goals. With a goal, I feel a sense of purpose. I have something to work towards. It captures my imagination and keeps me focused.

When I do not have a goal, my mind wanders aimlessly and I feel unchallenged and demotivated.

This trip was a goal borne from a variety of circumstances and possibilities.

I trained for this goal. I trained hard. I was doing between 600-800 km per week on my trainer on Zwift. Some knocked me for doing it on the trainer rather than the road.

However, there is also a second goal. I am currently the leading female zwifter in the world, distance wise, and on track, barring injury, to be the first to attain 100,000 km. I am in the top 20 all timers ( ie. only men ahead of me), out of more than one million riders.

Some have said “you are lucky” re our touring trips. It is not luck, it is perseverance despite what obstacles may present themselves. To quit, or make excuses, is easy.

Lessons have been learned from this trip….mapping, routing, accomodation, things to carry and not carry…none are major…more ‘tweaks’.

There are a few other trips in the planning pipeline, so the dreams will continue. The goals will be replaced with new ones…fairly quickly too!

I wanted to show you this picture. Some may have noticed these bands in pictures on this, and other trips.

I wear these for all of my ‘in real life’ rides ( ie not Zwift). They have meaning for me, as blood, sweat and tears have encased them.

A few years ago, my dear daughter Hannah, then aged 20, set herself a challenge. In one day, she rode a massive 337 km, with a group of other riders, in Tasmania.

Tony and I were the support crew.

She chose to raise funds for two charities dear to her. The Amy Gillet Foundation and Beyond Blue. She raised around $5,000

Amy Gillet was set up following Amy’s death, as the result of a careless, inattentive driver, crashing into the Australian road team during a training ride overseas. The Foundation pushes the safe sharing of road message.

Beyond Blue supports anyone suffering mental illness.

I support both organisations visibly by wearing these. I support their ethos, and I guess I regard these bands as good luck talismans.

Road safety is important to me. I ride, along with others that I love and care about. We all need to share the roads patiently and responsibly. Your patience and temporary inconvenience might just save my life, or that of someone else I (or you) care about.

Mental health. Tony and I have both had depression and anxiety in our lifetime. I have had one of my children suffer. We have seen first hand how some sweep it under the mat, like it does not exist at a time that support is needed more than ever.

I for one, will continue to fight that attitude. I have nothing but sympathy. The suicide rate is unacceptably high, and if I can help one person then fantastic.

I have reached out to strangers and helped. One I reached out to, I now regard as a good friend.

Tony and I now prefer smaller group events. We both feel uncomfortable and stressed in larger groups. We won’t attend such events anymore unless critically necessary, as we don’t enjoy them. They stress us. That is us, looking after us!

Cycling gives us a peace of mind. The relative quiet of the country villages and roads, not the noisy impost of impersonal cities.

The journeys will continue.

To those who liked my links on Facebook for the blogs, to those who actually read the blogs, to those who liked and commented on the blog (on my blog page), to my new blog followers….I thank you.

We do look to see who reacts positively as we see that as a form of support and encouragement, for what was, without a doubt, the hardest challenge we have undertaken, during one of central Europe’s worst ever spring weather.

Until my next trip and blog,

Love and hugs

Ooroo

Xxx

Back to where we began….

Last night, my Czech friend Mirek wrote to me, offering to pick us up. He said the weather looks really bad, and you don’t want to finish the trip so wet.

I ‘politely’ declined. Tony and I both agreed that it would take something horrendous weather wise to agree to that. We wanted to finish, what we started, on our bike. Besides, our final day was a shorter, easier ride…well on paper we thought it was!

We checked the forecast. We could see his point. Weather forecasts can change overnight, and we had our fingers crossed. On the plus side, it was not going to be cold.

Waking up I checked and it was pouring down big time.

By the time we finished breakfast and changed clothes, the rain was easing! YES!

We headed out of Kutna Hora, up a hill and onto nice quiet country roads. The first village was Grunta, boasting about 20 houses and this amazing church.

We passed through the large town of Kolin but did not stop until we were back onto a bike path that followed the river Elbe. We had ridden through Kolin on our very first day.

It was a great sealed path and we enjoyed it…shared pathways are slower to ride on, but you can relax as there is not the traffic to contend with. Many are also used by local residential traffic so you can’t totally switch off.

Some photos from this section. There were taverns along the way. I imagine on a sunny summers day it would be a very pleasant place to chill out.

Note the cycle path signage. The Czechs have done a great job. No new infrastructure for bikes. What they do is use existing infrastructure, work our routes, map them, signage and at infrequent intervals larger area maps on the side of the road. This would be simple to do in Tasmania with minimal $ spent.

The plan was to stop in Podebrady for a coffee. I like Podebrady. The weather was looking ok.

The approach to Podebrady was very nice. Different aspect to my previous visits there.

We headed straight to a coffee shop we were familiar with adjacent to the main town park. We had not seen this part of the park before.

Whilst sitting in the cafe I was texting Mirek our whereabouts. I asked him the following…and then his response…

Awesome! We had enjoyed our ride on the sealed bike path to Podebrady and we looked forward to continuing on a ‘sealed’ path to Cekalovice, which is situated adjacent to the same river.

It started off nicely. The town in the distance is Nymburk.

The town fortification was interesting. It began soon after the town was established around 1275, with the more significant work carried out during the reign of King Vacaville II from 1288 to 1305,and a latter section in 1337 during the reign of John of Luxembourg.

The fortification is around 7-8 metres high, and had 50 towers. A deep defensive moat once existed in front of the walls.

The walls were badly damaged during the Thirty Year War in the 17th century, and reconstructed during the early 1900’s.

The town has a nice tower clock.

On the other side of town the sealed path turned to a single track. Narrow and slow. As we went on it became quite muddy and slippery in patches, and I ended up walking, pushing or using my bike as a scooter for the worst sections up twisting slopes.

I made a mental note to have a chat about the word ‘sealed’…I don’t think it translated! 😂😂 . Having said that though, it was ‘kinda’ fun, and slowed our progress to finishing our odyssey. Let’s face it, I did not really want to finish.

After fiddle farting around on the dirt for 10 km or so, drops of rain were felt. Wind was getting stronger, and we were at a bridge crossing the river Elbe.

We made an executive decision to hit the true, sealed road and head directly to the finish post.

12 km or so, and it was all over bar the photographs, memories, some scars from falls, 2 refrigerator magnets ( our sole souvenir purchases), 2 dirty bikes and lots of stories to tell.

Todays map….

Would I do it again? Heck Yes! I would start it all over tomorrow, no questions asked.

Tomorrow we train into Prague so keep,watch!

I see dead people…..

Another great day to ride. We have had five days straight with no rain! Garmin told me it was 26 degrees Celsius at its peak!

Our bikes were not in our rooms ( up two steep flight of narrow steps), but stored here surrounded by linen and stuff! When we headed to our room after our dinner the previous night, there were table cloths on the bikes, disguising them! We were the only guests in the penzion.

Leaving Tabor was slow…the cobblestone shuffle!

Looking back along the river this was the view.

The views today were not dissimilar to yesterday. Lakes, rivers, agricultural fields (wheat and canola), dotted with villages every few km or so.

We stopped for coffee in Vlasim.

More lovely water scenes…this one has a guy fishing.

Beautiful fields, and we did wonder what the beautiful maroon coloured plant was.

About 10 km later, I investigated….notwithstanding the fact that I inadvertently walked through a bunch of stinging nettle in the process. Both legs got well and truly ‘done’! A pretty plant. Any ideas what it is? The leaves were like a three leaf clover.

Tony and I have been impressed with all of the newer sealed roads in the Czech Republic. They have a really thick layer of bitumen and no obvious joins , like ours on the Bass Highway, where a thin seal is applied. Then they are constantly patching it up like a patch work quilt.

We encountered a reasonable amount of roadworks today. Here they have scraped back ready for a re seal on a side section. Take a look though…there are three layers, and those top two are thick. I put my drink bottle there for reference.

Shame we cannot do a better job with our bitumen.

Today was quite hilly, and as I mentioned earlier, quite hot. It was a pleasant surprise, at the top of a climb to find this little pop up shop. Yes, we had an icecream.

More nice scenery.

On the outskirts of Kutna Hora this amazing church came into view.

I had one main goal in Kutna Hora, and it was not this church, but one a few km on the other side of town.

After finding accomodation and the usual routines, we headed off on foot to a very ‘special’ and ‘entirely different’ church. The Cemetery Church of All Saints with the Ossiary, a world famous, UNESCO listed church since 1995.

It is the memorial site, final resting place for 60,000 people! The church was part of the oldest Cistercian monastery in Bohemia, founded in 1142.

The cemetery was greatly extended during the 14th century epidemics, with around 30,000 buried there.

In the spring of 1421, the Hussites troops captured Kutna Hora, attacking the area of the church, killing another 10,000 people requiring burial.

At the end of the 15th century, the cemetery was reduced in size, with bones from abolished graves were relocated to the ossuary.

The bones were decoratively arranged in the 16th century, then rearranged some 30 years later, then again in the 18th and 19th centuries.

It is certainly mind blowing seeing so many remains….some skulls have shiny heads from people rubbing them.

Extensive renovation and archeological works are currently underway. They have found more bodies.

It is quite confronting, despite the fact that we went there knowing what we would see. 60,000 people!

Walking back to accomodation we walked past the Cathedral. To the left is a cream coloured building. It is an unusual museum, but given the number of people smoking in Europe maybe it’s popular. It is owned and run by Philip Morris, of course!

We walked around this church..no doors open today.

Tony found himself a new friend. Personally he was a bit too plastic for me.

The clouds are gathering. The forecast is not great. Tomorrow we finally return to our starting point in Cekalovice, some 20 km north of Prague. Nice weather would be great….

Tomorrow also marks 5 weeks since we left Cekalovice. Wow!

Another day, another journey, another story.

Todays map and chart.

Thanks for reading

Ooroo

Great touring day

Today was an awesome day to ride in the Czech Republic, as we approach our final days. The weather behaved, the route was great and we had a really chillaxed ride.

We chose to walk out of the old Cesky Krumlov town, as the cobbles are so uneven with tyre width gaps.

Our final views of a wonderful town. We walked through this arch and whilst crossing a bridge, took a look back towards the castle.

This was our route today.

Sunday morning is a great time to ride. We have found each Sunday to be much quieter and today was no exception. As the day went on, the main traffic were other cyclists of all shapes, sizes, ages and capability.

It was an up and down rolling day.

Predominantly great roads. The smile says it all.

A cute horse and cart…taken on the fly, the man was cut out, but the horse is nice!

There were numerous lakes today intertwined with forests.

We stopped for a coffee break half way, in the town of Trebon. It seems to be a centre for all things bikes. Every place has bike racks. The lakes around the town have heaps of different riding routes.

Leaving Trebon we felt some rain spots. Dark clouds had rolled over whilst we had our coffee. Fortunately our direction was different to the rain clouds and we were delighted!

The theme of lakes, rivers and forest continued.

Reaching the outskirts of Tabor, we finished our ride with a nasty little climb to the old town, passing other cyclists who pushed their bikes up the hill.

We did not have any accomodation booked, so I whipped my iPad out and sourced a Penzion some 500 metres away.

We took an immediate like to the old town. It was humming. The market square had a large screen up with cycling! We thought awesome!

We showered and walked back into the square, noting ice hockey was now on, so we wandered around to check the old town out.

The rest of the town was pretty quiet really. I think they must have all been watching the ice hockey.

The Old Castle was interesting, but closed. It is the oldest building in Tabor and dates back to the second half of the 13th century. The importance of the castle for fortification purposes was lessened by time and fires to such an extent that it was turned into a brewery around 1612.

Only one tower of the four remains.

Returning to market square, there were big celebrations. We checked out the screen and noticed that the Czech Republic were playing Russia. The Czechs had just scored a goal to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

We remembered then that the ice hockey world championships are currently on in Bratislava, Slovenia. We had noticed the signs when we were there nearly 4 weeks ago.

The match was for the bronze medal.

We decided to have dinner at a restaurant in the square seated so we too could watch.

This was our view.

Russia levelled the scores….it was a very tense, scoreless, third and fourth quarter and the match went to a penalty shoot out in Russia’s favour. Not what the crowd wanted.

As the Russian national anthem was about to be played, the screen was switched off. All over red rover!

Someone enjoyed his dinner in the warm sun. We realised that after 35 days on the road touring this was our first evening meal where the conditions were warm enough to be outside.

Tomorrow the weather is looking ok again!!! Two days left on the road. 😢

Thanks for reading

Ooroo

Tough but rewarding day on the bike

A great ride again today, tough because of the amount of climbing. Rewarding due to the scenery and achieving the tougher physical effort.

Leading Passau we made our way over the bridge to look at the town and the raging rivers. The third river, Ilz, seemed calm and passive.

Initially we had been concerned that perhaps the cycle path may be impacted on the ‘other’ side, but there were no issues as the cycle path is quite high up. Lower walkways were submerged.

We found a mermaid.

We had wondered whether the cruise boats still operate during floods. We passed a couple tied up, buses off loading passengers and luggage and seemingly boarding.

Then we saw this one creating quite a bow wave as it fought against the flood waters. The boat appeared to have no passengers.

Even in flood, the Danube is in a beautiful setting.

Leaving the river, we turned left, and this is where the hard work started. Today we climbed heaps. This is made harder for us given the extra weight we are carrying ( luggage wise).

Here is our climbing graph. You can see numerous climbs, including two longer ones at the 20 km and 43 km points. The latter one was a mongrel!

In between climbs (you tend not to stop and take photos whilst climbing), there were lovely views. At the end of the first longer climb, there was a cafe calling our name to stop! It had quirky ‘art work’ predominantly made from recycled horse shoes.

We checked our data and realised then that we had a bigger climb still to do. Bugger.

What we did not realise was that we would be crossing borders into Austria. We thought we farewelled Austria yesterday. Austria was looking great, gentle rolling hills. Germany was just over a creek the road ran parallel to.

Then it got nasty. That second climb was tough. Still riding at tempo pace, the climb gave me a personal best FTP of 216 Watts ( previously 201 Watts) so I was really happy as I still had more in the tank.

At the top there was a lodge (no food or drink available until 2 pm, and we were not hanging around), and cute animals and wooden figurines. We had Euro on us, but out if Czech money hence our desire to eat in Austria.

We rolled down the hill and just like that we are back in the country where our journey started over 4 weeks ago.

Czech Republic was looking good too.

We stopped at a pub and had a bowl of goulash each. Very cheap and they took Euros! For 7 Euro we had a bowl of soup, a large bottle of frizzante and Tony a soft drink. Cheaper than Austria where morning tea was 15 Euro.

A few other bikes in the rack too.

Rolling along the afternoon was much easier.

We arrived in Cesky Krumlov to hoardes of tourists and cobblestones, so we walked the last km to locate our accomodation. Riding on cobblestones paved so unevenly hard, let alone avoiding tourists.

We are spending two nights here so we can have a good look around tomorrow.

Our apartment is very close to this castle.

Day 32, done and dusted. How time flies by, and wow, we have certainly covered some ground.

Todays map. I made it a bit smaller so you can see Prague. It’s within a few hundred km if we go directly. If the weather ho,de, Tabor may be next.

Thanks for reading

Ooroo

Passau

It was a great day today. The weather was great! Not too hot, not too cold. A headwind, but not too bad!

As the day rolled on, we realised just how lucky we have been on this journey that started one month ago now. The incredible rains had finally ceased but the consequences for many not.

Leaving Salzburg was somewhat easier than other larger cities with the exception of roadworks here and there. Reasonably quickly we were out in the country again. Small villages were the norm. We scouted around a reasonable sized lake, Obertrumer See and then Grabensee.

A few things caught our interest in the town of Mattighofen. That unusual building is the KTM Austrian bike manufacturer so Tony very interested given his racing past.

Unfortunately the cafe that welcomes bikers was closed, but we found another one not too far away.

My front disc brakes had been making some awful noises. Fortunately Tony is pretty handy mechanically and replaced them during our coffee break.

More rural scenes through agricultural fields, small streams, quiet roads, and the occasional village church.

A cycle route runs alongside the edge of the River Inn, the same river that flows through Innsbruck. You will recall that the river was in flood from the terrible storms in Europe in the last fortnight, that had mucked up some of our rides.

We really enjoyed the tracks although predominantly gravel. At least they had dried somewhat with no rain in the last day. The first photo is a lagoon that is off the River. There was a little shack like cottage.

My kids would laugh at the witch on the broomstick as I used to joke that I was a witch per the Roald Dahl book of the same name. It was one of my favourite Dahl books that I used to read to them.

Obernberg am Inn had a very impressive old market square.

We pulled into a service station for some frizzante! Not any ordinary service station as it was just off the autobahn, that seemed to be favoured by more trucks than I have ever seen.

The truck queue for diesel was three wide, 100 metres long. I was fascinated just watching. As we headed back to the river, we past multiple truck parks, where the drivers were napping.

Back onto the river tracks was much quieter and safer.

We reached Scharding, a very pretty village.

This was our last village in Austria, as we crossed the bridge here. The first photo is roughly the border of Germany and Austria. the second is looking back at Austria.

The village on the German side is Neuhaus am Inn. You can see the bridge we had just crossed. Note how muddy the waters are too. The river levels are high.

A few pictures of German villages. Look at that sky!

For our final fling into Passau we found ourselves on a wonderful forest trail. Up and down, challenging in parts, but ever so pretty.

We found our way into the Old Town reasonably easy. It is handy to use the river as your reference point.

Passau is famous for a few reasons. Its location is at the confluence of three rivers, the Danube, Inn and Ilz.

It is very old, first mentioned as a Roman provincial town. With the establishment of an episcopal residence in 739, the city life of Passau began. In the 13th century, bishops became rulers of the independent, small principality. In 1803, Passau became a Bavarian City.

After the successful conclusion of the latest round of ‘where can we leave our bike’ negotiations concluded ( in my favour….they are in the luggage room, not the garage as they initially stated!), we showered and started walking.

We stumbled upon St Stephens Cathedral first. Still open we wandered inside. It was burned down in the city’s 1662 fire and rebuilt by a famous baroque architect, and other baroque artists completed the stucco and frescos.

The organ in the Cathedral is the largest in the world, with 17,974 organ pipes and 233 stops. All five parts of the organ can be played from the main console, individually or simultaneously.

Next we headed to the Danube…..ah, there were issues. That is the cycling path we are due to take tomorrow!

The conjunction point of the three rivers was obviously closed. With the flooding of two major rivers, there would be only one way to see it.

Now this boat ended up reversing. It would not fit under the bridge.

I think the next two pictures are the only way.

A few other shots before we grabbed some dinner. The first is Fortress Veste Oberhaus, one of Europe’s largest preserved castle complexes. It would be interesting to visit but not on this trip.

Back at the hotel, I have been reading the news reports of the flooding devastation in Germany and the Czech Republic. Hungary has been bracing for the full impact and fury of the Danube, sandbagging Budapest. Three weeks ago we rode along the S Bends from Esztergom to Budapest. Most of that would be flooded as it was quite low lying.

Tomorrow we are due to ride on cycle path on both sides. We know this side is ‘unavailable’ and suspect the same for the other. Tweaking will be required.

Final photo. Check this guy out on his bike on the cobbles.

Todays route and chart.

Thanks for reading

Ooroo

We got lucky!

We got a little bit lucky today, and we are very happy about it.

Despite the dismal weather predictions, we did our whole planned ride today, all 103km of it! Whoot woo!

Looking out the window before breakfast this was the view.

Yes umbrellas were up, but the rain was light.

We went to breakfast, packed our bikes, walked over the bridge to the bike path to make the call. Ride or train? We decided to ride as it was more nuisance level rain and it was not particularly cold (6 degrees). We also had the safety net of riding within cooee of the rail line.

Our first goal was Wörgl, some 67 km away. If we had taken the train, we needed to change lines at Wörgl.

There was water around, and the bike track we took for most of today was a mixture of sealed and unsealed, the latter ensuring our bikes were filthy! So much for me cleaning them yesterday 😂😂😂

There were continual low clouds that made the mountains look somewhat mystical.

We criss crossed the flooded River Inn multiple times, using these wonderful covered bridges, for cyclists and walkers.

Churches, statues and picturesque villages.

Great carving on this footbridge and I loved the positioning of the church! It looks so eerie.

At one village we rode past a railway station. Needing to use a loo I walked through the station, down the platform to the ladies. I went in and here was a very strange looking woman standing outside the cubicle door. I asked her was she waiting, and she indicated no. I went into the ‘vacant’ toilet and shut the door. As I did, lo and behold a creepy man was hiding behind the door!

Now I’m not normally a screamer but hell I screamed! He scared the living daylights out of me. I told him to ‘get out’ and he did! WT????

I went and spoke with someone who looked official and they told me security were on the way as he’d already been reported by another woman. He was still lurking when we departed. Not sure what his story was, why he was behind a toilet door..he was not using the loo…he was in there hiding. Creepy dude.

Riding along…..

The sign said Bike Stop. So we did. What a great installation, complete with charging connections for electric bikes and a tube station. There was a similar one at the other end of the village.

The next village was Rattenberg, and it looked really cute. We did not detour as we could see half a dozen tourist coaches down the far end.

Rain wise, it totally stopped at around the 50 km point. We knew Wörgl would be achieved.

Arriving in Wörgl, we discovered a busy town that slowed us down heaps as we hopped on and off footpaths. We were both fairly dirty, so needing toilets we stopped at McDonalds! We figured they might not mind quite as much. No men hiding there either.

One Wörgl picture. The roof impressed us.

We turned right and entered a different valley to ride towards St Johann. So many views looked like picture perfect jigsaw puzzles. Austria is just so neat and tidy everywhere. The ride was more up and down as we climbed to a maximum of around 800 m.a.s.l.

Aside from the cute sheep above, Tony took a fancy to these cows.

Some of the gravel paths I was pretty slow on. More brilliant views.

About 8 km short of our destination we climbed and I found a seat! Beautiful place!

Another dirt section, and this one we climbed up was steeper. I pushed my bike up the loose gravel for that!

A clever guy had these sculptures outside his house.

Then our destination St Johann in Tirol.

We were both delighted with today. It was a great cruiser ride on a day that proved the forecasters as wrong as the pre poll ballots for the recent Australian election. We are hoping that our luck continues!!

Super impressed with Austria’s efforts with cycling. The trails (sealed and unsealed) on the whole, are fabulous. I think that we need to explore more of this country!

Tomorrow we are due to ride to Salzburg. Fingers crossed 🤞🤞🤞

Thanks for reading

Ooroo

Looking for oompah loompahs

Today we bid farewell to the Dolomites. Very low clouds and light rain, 6 degrees…so what was new there?

We climbed, again nothing new for the Dolomites, but it was an easier climb to Passo Di Cimabanche at 1529 m.a.s.l. The pass witnessed much fighting during WWI, with a military cemetery nearby and a bunker established by Mussolini.

No photos at the Passo sign as it was raining and we were cold and keen to keep the legs spinning.

The following photos Tony took as he was riding. He gets the camera out, points and clicks! As I am behind him, I just he does not lose his balance, as I know I would!

Here I am climbing the hairpin bends shortly before the top of the Pass.

There is a lovely lake, Lago de Landro. My bathers have not yet made an appearance on this trip, and won’t be today either. Thanks look like a pretty cool spot for a hot summers day though. The water depth is quite shallow, and the clarity transparent.

Only a few km down the road is another quick stop.

As you can see, the road is wet…it is raining and the temperature has dropped to 4 degrees. Brrrr….moving on.

A few km before Dobbiaco, is Lago di Dobbiaco. I had ridden past this lake last year but had not stopped and ridden off the main road to check it out. Today we did the very slight detour and very glad we did

The lake is the most incredible green, with amazing transparency.

We went into over water cafe at the end to warm up and drink coffee!

At Dobbiaco we turned left (West) to follow a different valley, and the scenery was certainly different. Despite still being in Italy, the language also changed. Signs were now in German. The Tyrol.

The weather also dramatically improved. The rain stopped and the temperature increased dramatically. Clothes off! It was in the high teens!

Now I mentioned oompah loompahs! Last year I was highly ‘entertained’ by a ‘performance’ in the town of San Lorenzan by a group of Tyrolean ‘performers’. It was a Sunday and they ‘performed’ outside the local church.

By pure coincidence today was Sunday, but a few hours later in the day, but we would swing by just in case…..

I’m looking, but sadly no!

A view of the village from a slightly higher position with an old castle higher in the hills above the town.

The adjacent village also had some nice old structures.

We joined a sealed bike path, in great condition. Crossing a bridge, Tony found a replacement for the recently deceased ‘grumpy cat’.

There were numerous small Tyrolean villages.

Well sign posted, great paths.

More animals to pat.

Nice views.

This old castle is at the entrance to Muhlbach, our overnight stop.

I stayed in Muhlbach last year, en route from Zurich to Asolo. I booked the same overnight accomodation.

Last year, we arrived to great festivities with a band playing, dancing, drinking and lots of people wearing Tyrolean costumes. It was the annual Vespa party.

Today was much quieter, and I was told the Vespa party was a fortnight ago and washed out due to bad weather.

Today was a shorter day of 83 km. Tomorrow is Brenner Pass, a very busy mountain pass for all, as there are not that many in Europe. We need to cross to drop down into Innsbruck, Austria.

Todays route and chart.

Fg

I was sad to say goodbye to the Dolomites, but I did not look back. No point lingering as we are not headed that way. Great memories, but looking forward to what is ahead.

Thanks for reading,

Ooroo

Lago Di Misurina

Last night we wandered back from the shops and took this photo of the main church in Cortina with a (partial) mountain backdrop. Unfortunately low clouds have ensured we do not see all.

This morning, around 6 am this was the view out one of our bedroom windows. It was a promising start.

Unfortunately, that was the best of the day weather wise! At least we caught a glimpse of it.

Our ride today therefore was a shorter one of around 40 km, climbing Passo Tre Croce (1809 m) and then heading into Lago de Misurina.

It is quite a stiff climb, with non cooperative cold legs protesting somewhat. As can be seen from our climbing graph, within 8 km, we went from 1200m to just under 1800 metres a.s.l. By most measures, that’s a killer warm up.

The rain was drizzling quite lightly but consistently. You are heating up quickly despite the very cool temperature. A layer of clothing came off.

The camera did not venture out a lot due to the moisture. As you will see there are drops of water on the lens on some photos.

This small lake is only a few km up, and there were signs dictating dogs were permitted.

The following three photos show damage caused by rains, floods, snow melting.

I was pleased to get to this pass. The raincoat went back on. I double gloved as my fingers were really cold.

The road plateaus and descends before turning off to Misurina. You can see that the clouds are extremely low and you only get glimpses of the mountains occasionally.

The lake was frozen. The duck has the ice field all to himself.

We drop into the first open cafe complete with bike parking. We hang our bikes and head inside for coffee.

The view from the cafe paints a fairly bleak picture.

So we order a second coffee, as the rain is now heavier, and the temperature below zero.

We note the stuffed animals! Can’t say that I am a fan but is this a mink?? Vicious looking thing, quite unlike The Mink I know all too well! 😂

Rain or not, we needed to bite the bullet and press on. This is the view from the other end of the lake.

This is a ‘borrowed’ picture taken on a nice day!! It highlights the fickle nature of alpine weather.

We then descended, slowly and controlled as the road was very wet, and it was cold. We did not want to slip and fall.

The rain eased up once we had descended a few hundred meters which was good as we were cold!

At the junction, we then turned left towards Cortina. The weather was a lot more comfortable now…4 degrees Celsius. A pretty junction that we will pass again tomorrow (heading out to Dobbiaco).

We did enjoy our hot shower back at the hotel.

We leave here tomorrow as we head towards the Tyrol, very close to the Austrian border.

There is unfinished business in the Dolomites. Any excuse to return!!

Todays map.

Thanks for reading

Ooroo

😊💪🚴

Dolomites

Fingers crossed, we peeked out our bedroom window early. Rain had been forecast on and off for the whole day. There has been some, but it looked potentially ok.

We had mapped out a few different routes we could ride for our two full days here.

Heavy, misty clouds hung over all of the peaks surrounding Cortina. We decided to attempt a climb up to Passo Falzarego (2120m.a.s.l) and take it from there. I had done this climb last year arriving to sleety and cold conditions at the top, huddling in the small chapel trying to warm up before descending.

The climb is certainly not the longest or highest single ascent we have done. It is a 16 km climb from around 1200 m.a.s.l to 2120 m.a.s.l, so around 920m single ascent.

We headed off and climbed, climbed and climbed. Within a few km we already had great views of Cortina.

Through the one and only tunnel. The signage appeared every 1 km advising you how much further the summit was.

Tony saw two deer…look closely. An adult and fawn are just to the right of the green tree, behind the brown area. Snow clad peaks in the distance.

Patches of snow started appearing when we were at 1600m.a.s.l gradually thickening as we attained greater altitude.

The climb was at a tempo pace, so quite comfortable, despite the continual but steady ascent.

About 2 km from the top, a guy came past in his car, wound his window down and gave us a thumbs up. Ride on!

At the top, there was an amazing amount of snow for this time of year. I had previously thought that maybe the heavy rains may have melted it.

Here I am, just cresting the last incline.

There were a couple of motor bike riders at the top. One guy kindly took this photo.

Also taking a break were these dudes. There were three groups of these disguised test cars using the mountain roads as a private testing ground. They had overtaken us at huge speeds. Tossers!

This is the little chapel I used as a refuge last year. The snow is very deep around it and I did not attempt to revisit it.

The weather was good, we pushed onto Passo Valparola.

When you get to the top of a climb, it is traditional to have your photo taken with the sign, showing the altitude. I was having problems! When I did eventually stand up, my feet went down so deep that the snow was at thigh level, so maybe three feet deep.

So Tony went up instead, and then I used his foot well marks!

Now we had decisions to make. One part wanted to roll on down to Corvara. In fine weather, no problem, but this is an alpine region where conditions can change very quickly. The dark clouds ahead looked a tad ominous.

The sensible voice said, head back to Cortina, you got lucky, had a great climb and views, do not push your luck. The other, competing, very loud voice said, go for it!

I hate internal conflict. I asked Tony what his opinion was. “Whatever you reckon”……🙈🤷‍♀️

The road ahead did not immediately descend greatly. You could see a straight section for maybe 500 metres…so maybe ride it and then have a better look at what is ahead of the descent?

There was a WWI Museum (closed), and when I looked down the descent, I thought ‘nope’, not today.

So we did an about turn and headed back down to Passo Falzarego and then down to a cafe near Col Gallina where a cafe open. Coffee time!

We kept a good eye on the conditions and after a couple of coffees rugged up for the descent. All clothes on. These photos are of the cafe and Col Gallina.

The descent was very cold. Holding the brakes the whole way back to Cortina, with minimal peddling required ensuring you stayed chilled.

We were pretty pumped that we had achieved our higher altitude ride with no rain. The conditions at the top were as good as you could hope for. We got up there before the tourists (two buses arrived as we started descending).

The climb epitomised my love for the Dolomites. 💕

The map route and ascent chart.

What will tomorrow bring? Well the forecast looks like rain…but let’s wait and see.

Thanks for reading,

Ooroo