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Friday, June 18, 2010

Kreuth to Terfens

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From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

After an unusually hearty breakfast for such a reasonably priced B&B, we left at around 9:00am. As Cynthia expressed surprise at the low cost of the accomodations, I told her that this was what happened once you got out of touristy areas, even in expensive countries like Germany. A drizzle set in as we rode out of Kreuth, forcing us to stop to put on rain gear. The map marked a 12% grade riding over Achenpass, but it turned out that the 12% grade was really on the descent, since we did not encounter any significant steep grades on the climb.

The ride towards Achensee was non-descript, though I did find a few bike paths. Cynthia was still leery of dirt paths, and after I found a particularly steep one rebelled and everyone pretty much forced me to stay on paved roads thereafter.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

At Achensee, the main road rolls right into the tunnel, but a bike path brought you down to the water, where we got to inspect and admire the lake up close and personal. The rain had seeped into everyone's waterproof clothing by that point, so as soon as we rolled past the lake I was glad to find a cafe that served Goulash soup and gave us a chance to dry off.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

After lunch, the weather magically cleared up, and we descended into Jenbach via a 12% grade on dry roads. The road was very busy, but since we were descending the bicycles weren't the cause of any road blocks. We turned right towards Innsbruck along some backroads which invited quite a bit of climbing but had very little traffic. Once we hit the actual valley floor, however, there was a headwind which just blew against us and only seemed to get stronger as we approached Innsbruck.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

It didn't take 10km of riding before the whining started, so by the time we got to Terfens I was talked into hopping onto a train for the last run into Innsbruck. At the train station, we found a hotel, and to my horror discovered that the train line from Landeck to Bludenz was completely blocked due to a broken rail line that still had not been repaired for a week! Rail passengers were being shuttled over the Arlberg pass by bus, but the bus did not take even single bicycles, let alone a tandem.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

The forecast looked miserable for the next couple of days. Alan would later explain to me that the line between Landeck and Bludenz had always been a nightmare, and with the heavy rains the rail bed could actually get washed off. Austria's rail-lines had regular inspections so there were no fatalities because of this, but apparently a few weeks later the same thing happened between Bolzano and Merano in Italy, and with Italians, the lines don't get inspected as often and people died.


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