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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Day riding in the Bavarian Foothills

Holzkirchen - Wolfrathausen Loop

The weather forecast was for beautiful, 60 degree weather today, so I went into the office yesterday and mapped out a route on Garmin's Mapsource software. This morning, I got onto the 9:00am train (note to self: the 8:40 train does not go all the way to the end of the line), and went to Holzkirchen to start my ride. The weather was cool, but warmed up quickly as I headed up one hill after another. The small roads I had picked the day before proved to be very very conducive to cycling --- winding around and up and down hill and dale, with many a descent lined with beautiful trees.

Soon, I reached Tegernsee, a lake with plenty of development along its side. I stopped briefly for some pictures but pushed on. At this point, I quickly became a fan of GPS navigation --- while I had laid out a route the day before, I found that I could deviate from the route however I liked, and let the navigation system compensate and get me back on track. So whenever I saw something on the ground (including dirt roads, or bike paths), I could choose to explore, confident that I would find my way back on track somehow.

Nothing I rode today was steep --- I never dropped into my granny, though I did go into the 34t sprocket a couple of times. Yet I still got up to about 900m or so, whereupon I saw snow on the ground as I rode by. Perhaps it's a good thing I didn't try for anything higher. I rode past the Austrian border, and then headed for the Achensee, which didn't look like anything interesting from afar, but was quite beautiful up close (see pictures).

After a quick lunch, I saw that there was an official bike path that would take me all the way to Wolfrathausen if I wanted, but since I was relatively high, I eschewed the bike path for a proper road descent. At the bottom when the road levelled out, however, I quickly discovered that the bike path was preferable --- car traffic was fast and there were a lot of Sunday drivers.

From Bad Tolz, I took a series of small roads which were delightful, and provided more steep climbing that the brief visit to the Alpine lakes I had seen. As I got close to Wolfrathausen, traffic picked up and soon I was on the bike path again, getting to the train station 5 minutes before the train left. The ride was 63 miles but less than 2500' of climbing. I'm going to have to find more climbing to do, but as a starter, this ride has me satisfied that my choice of location wasn't a mistake, at least from the cycling point of view.
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