Leonie and I spent another night at the Ossiacher See after the Tour de Kärnten. The following day we drove to Triglav National Park in Slovenia. On the way we stopped at our favourite castle Finkenstein for a post race snack. Camp Triglav was closed so we headed up the river to another campsite. It was sunny so we went cycling up the pass Vrsic.
The following day we packed our bags and went walking into the park. We followed the Soca river towards its source and then continued up into the hills towards Zavetišče pod Špičkom. It was steep going. Around 1800 m we encountered snow. There was more than last year when I ran up to the same hut.
I had forgotten my gaiters so tried to avoid the snow as much as possible crossing to patches of grass and rock whenever possible. It had rained while we were walking along the Soca and the snow was slushy and wet and with each step we would sink in to our knees. Occasionally when we strayed too close to rocks we would break through deeper revealing a big undercut where the snow had melted away.
The hut was a large metal box, not particularly pretty but it was cold and grey and any shelter was welcome. Only the winter room was open, a small windowless room with five old mattresses at the height of the door. It wasn’t quite up to the impressive winter room we stayed in last year over the other side of the park.
We put on our warm gear and boiled water for hot drinks. Then we prepared a mountain curry from ingredients we had found in the Villach Hofer yesterday while foraging for tasty treats. After dinner and more hot drinks the weather decided to close in culminating in a heavy downpour of a hail and rain. We scuttled around the hut and into the winter room.
The weather fined up in the night and it was sunny when we woke, then it was cloudy, then it was mostly sunny again. We went for a little stroll to a saddle and then came back. Leonie spotted three or four snakes in front of the hut in the patches of grass. Other than that we saw a weasel racing down across a patch of snow and a few Marmots.
We walked back down to the camp site stopping to visit the source of the Soca on the way. As we arrived at the camp site it started to rain but on the bright side Katha, Dom, Vero and family turned up. I hung out with them a bit in the evening.
The weather forecast for Monday was bad so we drove back to Lindau.
Today was the last stage of the Tour de Kärnten for 2019. It was reasonably successful.
The format this year was different compared with the last few years. In the past we have started either in small groups or alone and the course was a pure hill climb. This year it was essentially a short road race with a hill climb to the finish line. Not that this was a bad thing.
As usual, we started neutralised from Ossiach. We headed to Feldkirchen and then took a left taking the same ascent from the Dach der Tour. The first 35km were the same until we reached the hill climb. A sharp left turn and we started climbing.
My strategy for the stage had been not to go too hard to start with as I thought my legs would probably blow up on the climb. So I rode at a moderate pace on the first climb and stuck with a bunch through to the last climb. I bridged a gap at one point but otherwise didn’t do any work.
This proved to be a good tactic as my legs weren’t in bad shape for the last 700 m of ascent. I was feeling like a tasty pie or perhaps a banana could help me but since none were available I made do with my caffeine filled jubes. I rode to the front of the bunch as the climb began. I was worried my legs would die halfway up and the bunch would flow past me again but I got into a good rhythm and started to pass many people. I caught up to a group that must have been the remains of the next bunch and slowly passed them too. Good times.
The road became much steeper, 16 percent according to my cycle computer. I kept puffing my way up. I could see snow further up and it was starting to get a little cooler. The 1000 m sign appeared and then after more panting the 500 m sign. I tried to sprint across the finish line but it was pretty pitiful. Still, I was quite pleased with my effort.
There was snow near the finish line and on the hills. The sun was out though and it was surprisingly warm. I rolled back down after a short break. There was a large group waiting at the bottom of the climb and I jumped on the cycle train heading back to Ossiach getting there in half the time it had taken to ride the stage.
And with that the Tour de Kärnten was over for 2019. It seemed to go quite quickly this time around. I didn’t seem to feel as tired this year. Maybe it was the cooler weather… or did I just ride more slowly.
Tour de Kärnten 2019 Stage 6 Bergzeitfahren
Time: 02:03:50.1 Dst: 41.9 km Place: 180 Cat place: 87
Today the weather forecast sunshine and good times. Well mostly sunshine and 20 degrees but good times can be had by 20 degrees so it’s essentially equivalent.
We headed off neutralised to Feldkirchen again and then shortly after started climbing. Due to the profile of the stage I thought it would be a good idea to get a fast bunch so worked hard on the climb. My legs were already cooking slightly by the time the rolling climbs had finished and we began descending. Still I had got an ok bunch and so I sat at the back of it and we cruised along.
The problem with my approach is that by the time we got to the next major climb I was a bit tired still and so I couldn’t keep up with the bunch. I ended up getting to the top with just a few other guys. We descended and the small bunch worked well but I was still too slow. I kept up for a while but then spotted a big bunch behind us and wondered if it was worth riding hard when we would most likely be caught up.
Another guy dropped off the back and although we could have got back on the bunch we were indecisive until it was too late. He had ran out of water and I offered him mine. We worked together until the bottom of the last hill climb. As the climb began the big bunch caught us and there were cyclists everywhere.
I managed to float at the front of the bunch for a while. I was now also out of water but spotted Sebastian, from previous years, up ahead and asked him if he had anything left. He graciously gave me a bottle to help myself to and we talked for a while before the climb got too steep to continue.
He rode off ahead and although I kept going my legs were fading a bit. Some cyclists began to pass me. The last steep climb to the finish line was really hard. Leonie cheered me on as I rounded the last corner. Bernd, standing below the finish line, ran the last few metres with me crossing the line.
The finish was at a nice castle which was made nicer by the fact they were serving Kaiserschmarrn in the restaurant to all the participants. I grabbed a plate and headed back down to the last corner where Leonie had been secondered into triggering the cameras on the last corner.
All-in-all a good stage but a shame my legs died a bit in the end.
Tour de Kärnten 2019 Stage 5 Burgenrunde
Time: 03:11:32.3 Place: 183 Cat Place: 86