July 12, 2018
Look at that elevation gently rising hill – easy peasy – 1,012 metres (3,320 ft) elevation gain, over a 54 km distance. Boy, it was hard work today but totally worth it.
We left the empty Hostel at 8:15, it was a little odd being the only people in a very large building.
We followed the Eurovelo Route 7, Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg and the Tauern Radweg again today. We were only misplaced once, when we crossed the river too early. Once we were back on the right path it was an easy route to follow. Let me correct that, the signs were easy to follow, the route was tough.
As I cycled up one hill I said to Ralf, I am a little conflicted, I love the scenery that hills bring, but I am not a good climber. Although I can now cycle up hills of over 5% quite easily anything above 8% and I am off and pushing. Ralf corrected me – he said that I had just managed to climb a 12% hill. It was only short about 50 metres and I was dancing on my pedals and talking to MrsSweetcheeks to get me up and over the short rise.
The scenery was beautiful, hills covered with mountain flowers and houses clinging to the hillsides. The small towns we went through were very pretty, everything you can imagine Austrian mountain villages are like.
The weather was not what was forecast. It was a little cool to start, then the sun came out and although it wasn’t hot it was a lovely temperature to ride a bike. No rain and no rain for tonight – we could have camped, but we had already booked our accommodation on-line for tonight.
We cycled through road tunnels today. The first one was short only about 500 metres, the second was called the Klamm tunnel and was 1.5 kilometres and the third was another short tunnel. All of the tunnels had a separated bike lane, wide enough for two loaded touring bikes to pass each other. The Klamm tunnel was really noisy with cars whizzing by us at 80 kph. We were safe, however, it was rather unnerving.
After we had negotiated the tunnels we had a slight downhill to Bad Hofgastein. The time was 11:00 and we had definitely worked off our breakfast. We spotted a small café, stopped immediately and I had ham, egg and cheese with salad on a sesame seed crusty bun, and Ralf had salami, with a shared pastry to follow.
I knew we had more climbing to do to get to Bad Gastein, it was the toughest part of the day. The hill up to Bad Gastein was really steep, even Ralf was pushing!
However the waterfall in the Town was stunning.
We got to the train station in Bad Gastein with about 20 minutes to spare. I had assumed that we could get a train from Bad Gastein to Mallnitz and not have to cycle the extra five kilometres to Bockstein. There was no-one at the kiosk to get tickets from so we tried to use the machine. The machine would not sell us tickets with our bikes!
Ralf called the number on the machine and the guy on the other end tried to get us a ticket. The train came and went with us waiting to see if we could get on the next train. The problem was that all the trains stopping in Bad Gastein were fast trains, we needed a local train. We had to cycle to Bockstein to get the car shuttle to Mallinitz.
Now, before anyone accuses us of cheating because we took the train, it is the only way to get through this mountain range. We spotted the train waiting in the station at Bockstein and headed towards it. Again no-one at the kiosk to sell us tickets. The conductor was finalizing the loading of the last few cars and told us to get on the train. We cycled like crazy to get on the front of the train and realized we would have to lift our bikes up to the train – four feet from the platform to the bike-train car! We hoisted those bikes fully-loaded up to the bike car with seconds to spare.
We hadn’t had time to buy tickets. The conductor told us to get them in Mallinitz, which we did. E10.00 for two people including the bikes.
This car shuttle takes bikes and cars through a 1 km long tunnel to the other side of the mountain range. The journey is about 13 minutes, the train is unloaded and it returns with more cars through the mountain range.