Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon 2017

For the first time I tried out the long course. Markus and Leonie did too and Angela rode the middle distance.

Here’s how it went.

We turned up on Saturday afternoon after driving back from Cortina and met Markus and Angela at the Haldensee campsite. The weather forecast for Sunday promised sunny times so we were happy.

Sunday dawned but without the sunny times. Still it wasn’t raining so we were happy. The race started at 6 am. As usual we started a long way back in the field as we arrived a little late. I spent the first 15 minutes passing people and at some point Markus caught me up again. So did the rain. It began with just a little bit but soon it was “Arlberg Giro Feeling” or perhaps “Tour Transalp Stage 1 Feeling”. In fact it was very much like the Tour Transalp because the course also went through very similar areas and in some parts followed the same roads. The tour-feeling grew stronger as the intensity of the rain increased.

 

Markus, Leonie, and Cris (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Leonie shortly after starting (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)

Above left: Markus, Leonie, and I had the crazy idea to enter the Tannheimer Tal long course. That’s 220km / 3500 m. It’s not something we train for. Above right: The race started dry.

The route went from Tannheim across the border to Germany and meandered around Allgäu. Then it headed up over Riedbergpass and back into Austria. By the time we got to the pass we had ridden 70 km or so and the rain had stopped. Markus stopped to clean his glasses and I continued alone. The route took us towards Hochtannberg Pass. By now the sun was shining.

I cruised up the pass conscious not to ride too hard. We had also been stopping at the majority of the refreshment stations to top up. I stopped at the next one in Warth just over the pass and Markus caught up again. I waited and we rode together down the valley collecting people along the way.

We ended up with a reasonably sized group for the ride down the Lechtal. At some point a van in front of us started motor-pacing us which I thought wasn’t so cool. We caught up to the next group only to find that they also had a car motor-pacing them!

Cris climbing Hochtannberg Pass (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Cris and Markus on Gaichtpass (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)

Above left: It soon started raining heavily while we were riding through Allgäu. Luckily it cleared a little after Riedberg Pass and as we started climbing the Hochtannberg Pass it was sunny. Above right: To my surprise my legs felt good ascending Gaichtpass and Markus and I cruised past many people. This is odd because usually by the time I get here on the 130 km course my legs are smashed. I suspect it’s because of the difference in speed. I race the 130 km harder.

We stopped again at the last feed station before the pass back into Tannheimer Tal and then started the climb. Our legs were surprisingly fresh still, in fact the whole race seemed much easier than I had imagined. We sat on someone’s wheel for the flat section to the finish and then did a nasty sprint past him to cross the line in about 7 hours and 57 minutes.

I was surprised how fast we were as I had expected to take much longer. I was also surprised how easy it felt. I was expecting to suffer a fair bit on the last part of the 220 km and 3500 m of climbing. Very strange, I felt much more destroyed after the 130 km version of the race in the past. Perhaps it was a mix of not riding too hard and stopping at most of the feed stations.

Leonie had a very good race coming in half an hour or so after us.

Angela did the 130 km and also had a good first race.

Cris and happy Markus (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Cris crosses the finsih line (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)Leonie crossing the finish line (Tannheimer Tal Radmarathon)

Above left: Markus didn’t seem at all tired! How irritating 🙂 Above middle: After being towed for the last 8 km by the third guy in this picture Markus and I allowed ourselves a finish sprint. Mmmm finish sprint. That’s one of the best parts of racing. Above right: Leonie had an excellent time coming in just under 40 minutes after us.

Above: This is what Strava thought. Interesting that the reported climbing is so different from what the organizers claim… Hmmm.

Wolfgangsee 2017 I

We woke at the Hofpürglhütte to clouds followed by rain. As this wasn’t the best for climbing we had breakfast and wombled down to the cars. We then drove to the Wolfgangsee with some creative navigation that involved us driving over a pass. Unfortunately this cost us 10 EUR for the entertainment but as we are positive people we saw the positive side and intensely enjoyed the mountain air, the winding road, the cows, and all that could be enjoyed.

We drove to Gasthof Kleefeld for lunch and did the Brustwand klettersteig, the same one that Leonie and I had done a few weeks earlier. Then it was off for a swim in the lake briefly as the sun was coming out. It was then time to look for our accommodation between Strobl and Bad Ischl. It turned out to be a very large arty apartment with room for nine people at least. It had a balcony facing onto a river and it was all quite excellent.

We set about cooking dinner and spent the evening listening to chilled out music, drinking wine, and chatting. Sam and Sebas turned up from Munich in time to enjoy the evening too.

Nice nice.

Brustwand Klettersteig (Salzkammergut Adventures)Brustwand Klettersteig 2 (Salzkammergut Adventures)

Above left: Rain forced a hasty getaway from the Hofpürglhütte and we drove to Kleefeld at the Wolfgangsee and did the Brustwand klettersteig. Above right: All went well.

Leonie’s Liechtenstein Marathon 2017

Leonie ran the LGT Liechtenstein Alpin Marathon today. I was too lazy for such things. In fact I was feeling almost too lazy to cycle. I don’t think I’ve recovered from the recent racing quite yet.

Anyway, Leonie ran off into the hills and I cycled slowly up towards the finish line while managing to miss her at all the possible spots along the way. She finished in 5:07:33 beating her 2015 time which was very good since she’s not really been running much this year.

Leonie at the start (LGT Marathon)View of the  king's castle on the marathon route (LGT Marathon)

Above left: Leonie ran the LGT Alpin Marathon in Liechtenstein. Above right: It went past the king’s castle.

Leonie at 35 km (LGT Marathon)Leonie at the finish (LGT Marathon)

Above left: It was strenuous with 1870 m of climbing. Above right: But she made it to the finish in 5:07:33 and got place 8/14 in her category and 27/73 from all women.

Arlberger Winterklettersteig

It was beautiful spring weather. Jörg picked Leonie and I up from Lindau and we drove to Sankt Anton. The plan was to do the Arlberger Winterklettersteig. It’s a via ferrata route that starts at 2650 m above sea level and heads along a ridgeline to the Vordere-Rendlespitze before dropping down to the Mitterkarspitze and continuing without rope (there’s no need for one) to the Roßfallscharte. It can be reached either by taking the ski lifts (Rendlbahn + Riffelbahn I + Riffelbahn II) to the start or by ascending the 1200 odd metres from Sankt Anton am Arlberg. We paid the 17.50 EUR for the one way lift pass and took the lazy way up.

At the top of the Riffelbahn II ski lift we put on our harnesses, strapped our skis to our packs and walked the minute to the start of the fixed route. The via ferrata is a mix between grades A to D. It ascends about 200 vertical metres gently and the guide says it should take 2.5 hours including getting back down. Hmmm… Here’s all the info. you might want in this handy pdf.

Anyway, the route was very nice. We had nice views down off the ridge in both directions. Leonie managed to control her fear-of-heights entirely and had only a bit of trouble on the first D section. We found the rope was often buried by the snow which meant walking sections along the ridge without protection. Falling wouldn’t be a good thing as it’s often quite exposed. Aside from the one section it didn’t seem too hard though. It pays to take an extra sling to extend your via ferrata set a little because at some points the steel rope is too high to clip onto without one.

Heading off from the lift (Arlberger Winterklettersteig March 2017)Walking along the ridge (Arlberg Winterklettersteig March 2017)Leonie climbing (Arlberger Winterklettersteig March 2017)

Above left: We set off from the top of the Riffelbahn II after taking a collection of lifts up to 2650 m. It was warm, there wasn’t any wind and it was sunny and blue. Perfect. Above middle: Ascending to the Vordere-Rendlspitze. Above right: It was scrambly in parts.

Jörg was very good and talked Leonie through any bits that she was at first unsure about. Leonie did the whole thing wearing crampons which must have been a bit annoying on the rock but perhaps helpful on the snow. If the conditions had been different crampons could really be useful so I’d say it’s definitely worth having them in your bag. I found the snow was soft enough that they weren’t required while we were there.

We stopped for a break at the Mitterkarspitze before unstrapping our skis, switching our boots to ski mode and heading down to the East by snowy slopes to the Malfonbach. The snow was heavier than I had hoped and a bit difficult at times to turn in. Later I encountered a very small 20 m patch of delicious powder before we descended enough to have spring conditions. We skied all the way out the Malfonbach down to Pettneu. The last part of the 1500 vertical metre descent was down a very narrow ski track on which we could do nothing but snow plough.

From Pettneu we caught the bus back to Sankt Anton and then drove back to Lindau. We started around 10 am at the top of the lift and got to Pettneu around 4 pm. We certainly weren’t fast but our 6 hours was considerably longer than the 2.5 hours in the guide.

Definitely check the avalanche report before going out. It was level three when we went which I would normally not have gone out in. We had the impression that most of what was going to come down had already come down as we were there as there were already avalanche debris everywhere on the descent. However, a week after we did the tour two people died on the descent in warning level two.

More posing (Arlberger Winterklettersteig March 2017)Us on the Mitterkarspitze (Arlberger Winterklettersteig March 2017)Leonie descending (Arlberger Winterklettersteig March 2017)

Above left: The via ferrata followed the ridge line over the Vordere-Rendlspitze. Above middle: Still perfect weather at the end of the via ferrata. Above right: We had a long 1500 m descent from the end of the via ferrata down to Pettneu.

Map1Map2Map3
Above: Maps showing our route from Sankt Anton am Arlberg into the mountains and down to Pettneu.

Above: A video of our adventure in shining 720p.

And some more photos below…

Indianer via Ferrata

Leonie and I went and checked out the Indianer via Ferrata in Netstal, Switzerland. It’s a fairly short C rated route with some nice things like a tunnel through the rock, a tower, and a flying fox (zip line). It’s a 15 minutes walk to the start of the route from the road. There’s also a couple of sport climbing routes at the start.

The route ascends for maybe 15 m/20 m and then there is a telephone stuck to the rock. Interesting…

Following this you climb through a tunnel in the rock and then ascend steeply again. Another ascent and you’re standing on a tower of rock with the Swiss flag. From there, there is a bit of a scramble down and around one side of the tower to a “flying fox”/”zip line” or whatever the internationally accepted English word for this is. Leonie found this section a little unpleasant but I think she was pleased to have done it all the same.

According to The Internet the next section was supposed to be a little more difficult. Leonie opted to take the emergency exit, an option that took her quickly to the end of the via ferrata. After taking this option with her I returned and finished the rest of the normal route. It was a little more difficult but not too bad. I think it would feel a bit sustained for people who don’t regularly go sport climbing. The last section was very slightly overhanging and required some arms.

From the top we followed the path back down to the car park below. A very nice via ferrata. Well worth doing.

View from below (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Walking to the start (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie staying connected (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above left: The via ferrata starts on the left hand side behind the tower, climbs up onto the tower, crosses to the main rock and then traverses around to the flat rightwards facing slab before ascending to the top. Above middle: It’s about a 15 minute walk from the road to the start of the via ferrata. Above right: Leonie tested the telephone about 20 metres into the climb. It seemed to be out of order.

Climbing through the hole (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie looks up (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie waiting below (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above (1): Just after the telephone there is a climb through a tunnel in the rock. Above (2): Then it heads up again. Above (3): Leonie waited as I went up to inspect.

Leonie climbing (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above: I belayed Leonie on parts to keep her feeling safe-ish.

View towards the mountains (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)View across to Leonie (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Posing guys (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie puts on her happy face (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above (1): The view isn’t bad. Above (2): We climbed up onto a tower and then down slightly and around the side of the rock. I was happy to be clipped into the metal rope as it felt quite exposed. We climbed around to a flying fox that Leonie thought looked a bit spooky. It did feel a bit spooky but once I was over the side all was fine. Above (3): Some Swiss guys waited for us on the tower while we sorted ourselves out on the flying fox. Above (4): Leonie didn’t really have such a happy face as she slid across but it was just a short distance across the void.   Climbing on the other side (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Taking the emergency exit 2 (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Notausgang makes for smiles (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Guys in front (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above (1): Leonie looked a bit happier on the other side. Above (2):  The Swiss flag flapped in the breeze as we took the short cut to the end. Above (3): Happy face again. Above (4): I went back down and completed the via feratta following the two Swiss guys.

 Looking down (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Looking up (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above left: Looking down. Above right: The last section was steep and a little sustained. It probably helps if you’ve been climbing a bit recently. Luckily that was the case.