Transalp with Michael

This years highlight for me and probably Michael was a trip across the Alps with our bike. Starting point was in Oberstdorf, Germany and destination Torbole, Italy on the shores of Lake Garda.

Stats for the tour are; 464,1 km and 10705 meters of climbing.

My bike for the adventure was a Niner One 9, equipped with a Rohloff Speed Hub, SLX brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear. Rock Shox Reba 100mm fork. I also had a Supernova Infinity Dyno hub up front powering a Supernova E-3 Tripple light. I had normal Alp-X gear except for my camping gear; Six Moons Designs one man tent, Big Agnes Pitch Pine 40 sleeping bag, Big Agnes Clear View pad. Vargo Ti stove and Alpkit Ti mug.
This was also a rigorous test for our new Pactimo kits, I had our new shorts, Jersey, Arm warmers, Vest and hat. Except for a little grease stain on the shorts, there are no visible signs of wear and tear!
Michael’s kit was almost the same except that he had his new Edel Bikes 29+ He received a lot of attention with that orange beauty! He was also running a Supernova Plug to keep all of his electronic gadgets charged.

We deviated from the original route due to bad weather, took paved alternatives instead of braving the muddy trails and dirt/gravel roads. In the end it was hard enough going up the steep asphalt passes of Italy.

we choose to do it bike packing style, meaning we had camping gear along to sleep out under the stars and cook our own meals. This turned out to be very challenging right off the bat. Shortly after starting in Oberstdorf we had to climb up and over the Schrofen Pass, it’s not long or terribly steep but really narrow and there are a couple spots where you have to carry your bike. When all of your gear is on the bike this can be really hard. At one point Michael’s bike almost went over the edge. I couldn’t do anything but watch. Luckily he was able to wrestle it back on the trail and we could continue.

Another hard section was the hike-a-bike above the Silbertal, according to the description in a Alpencross book it says it’s an hour of HAB. Haha!! It was more like two and a half! That’s when I realised that whats good for one route doesn’t always means it good for another. It’s great to have most or all of your gear on the bike but for serious HAB’s where you have to pick up the bike and carry it over big rocks or ledges it can make things rough.

On the third day we met a guy named Marcus from the Allgäu region of southern Germany. He was doing a trip alone. So our duo turned into a trio! Marcus really knows the Alps well and he told us about the different places and passes that we were riding through.

We only camped out one night due to the crappy weather. One place I would have loved to camp was in Val Mora, right on the border to Switzerland and Italy. Maybe next time.

We met some great people along the way like Marcus. Had great food, if only the weather would have cooperated. 

Here are some pictures of our trip.

Start in Oberstdorf

Start in Oberstdorf

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Hut below the Schrofen Pass

Hut below the Schrofen Pass

Michael on the Schrofen Pass

Michael on the Schrofen Pass

Ladder on the Schrofen Pass

Ladder on the Schrofen Pass

Michael in his element

Michael in his element

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Fimba Pass

Fimba Pass

Downhill from Fima Pass.

Downhill from Fima Pass.

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Sent, Engadin

Sent, Engadin

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Trail to Costainas Pass, Switzerland.

Trail to Costainas Pass, Switzerland.

Pass da Costainas

Pass da Costainas

Döss Radond

Döss Radond

Val Mora

Val Mora

Val Mora

Val Mora

Marcus's knee after a crash. Looks worse than it was.

Marcus’s knee after a crash. Looks worse than it was.

Rifugio Val Fraele

Rifugio Val Fraéle

Getting ready

Getting ready

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The road to Passo di Verva

The road to Passo di Verva, we had cake and coffee in the house to the left. 

Passo di Verva, 2301 meter

Passo di Verva, 2301 meter

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The last few km's to Lake Garda.

The last few km’s to Lake Garda.

Finished!

Finished!

 

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Darkness: The 10th anniversary

10403498_10152660479346060_2429173016049520799_n 10513373_10153043345138448_7949083984020458526_n 10534564_10153043373598448_615540859710788600_nWe’re back from SiS and I guess all of us agree we had a fantastic time again. In Weidenthal we feel kind of home and in the last years we have written quite a lot about SiS on this blog, so I won’t go into detail to much. Hanging out with the gang in the BWR-camp at the middle of the festival area was great fun and so was the riding.

Some of us joined the singlespeed race a couple of hours before the actual nightride/nightrace. This time, the SSP-fun took place on a really flowy singletrack course up in the woods where we had to ride laps and drin Pfälzer Schorle.

At the nightrace afterwards I felt we lived the right spirit, somewhere between fun and racing. Our crazy soloists Ausilia, Mandi, Kalle, René and André did impressive distances with up to 160Ks. Ausilia won her category and Mandi, Kalle and René podiumed (the latter being punished with non-alcoholic beer). The Fatbike-team with Michael, Phil, Rick and Sheldon seemed to have a lot of fun and “the slow bastards” consisting of Mat, Jelle, David and me fucked it up at three in the morning – which acutally was really funny and at least brought Mat and me some Malteni beer during the race. Rüdiger also seemed happy after his ride in a one-person-2er.

Guys, that was great – see you soon!

 

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Dyfi Enduro

Wales, UK is normally wet, muddy and mountainous the 2014 Dyfi Enduro was all of those except it didn’t rain! The Howies Dyfi Endurois a 60km (including the ride out and back from the campsite) off road enduro that’s got around 1600m of climbing on fire road and some techy singletrack climbs, the descending is tough on slate, rocky outcrops and some very slippery muddy sections. There’s a bar serving free beer with a disco near the end too which always a welcome sight. It’s a non competitive (cough) event but the red mist normally takes over and we have to let rip once in a while. This year Mandi chose to ride her Independent Fabrication 29er and I thought my Salsa Mukluk FatBike would be perfect :-) Enjoy the video!

 

http://youtu.be/BYrlrqjXKrQ

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Pictures from Kellerwald

Only have two pics, better than nothing though! 

 

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Kellerwald Marathon

On last Sunday I rode in the Kellerwald Bike Marathon which also happens to be the German Single Speed Championships. Not a real single speed race because there wasn’t any freaks or drunks running around. Also the course might as well be called the German Gravel Grinder Champs as its mostly gravel or dirt roads. Very little single track. Still it was a good time and an opportunity to test my fitness. Fortunately the weather was pretty good, dry and a little cool. The course is 40 km long and we had to do two laps for the SS race. There is also 1000 meters of climbing involved in one lap, so there’s no shortage of climbing. I chose a 32-19 gear for the race, which turned out to be perfect. I did do some pushing on a few of the steep climbs but so did a few gearies. I’m waiting on two pictures, I’ll post when I get them. 

I came in fourth in the SS category. No really, I got fourth! there were only 6-8 SS’ers I only saw three. 

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New Bike

I recently finished building my new Niner Jet 9 full suspension bike. I didn’t do all of the work, just the easy stuff. A friend of mine, Andi set up and adjusted the front and rear derailleurs, the wheels were built by Jelle at JustPedal in the Netherlands. A second carbon wheel set was built by Christoph at Bike Work Desch in Gelnhausen.

The Bike is amazing and a blast to ride. It feels so fast its like I’m cheating. I haven’t ridden a “fully” in a few years so the feeling is special. I won’t give up on my single speed bikes, I still love to ride them but I think I’ll be spending a lot of time on the new Niner.

A big thanks to Jelle at JustPedal for the frame and parts!

 

2014 Jet 9

Trail riding in the Spessart.

Trail riding in the Spessart.

 

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And finally Bensheim

The last race of my Cyclocross season was the Deutschland Cup in Bensheim one week ago. After a long debate between rationality and stubborness I decided to do the drive up to Hesse although I had been ill the two weeks before the race and couldn’t ride a single meter. During the practice laps a little pain in my sinuses still reminded me at every pump in the course that I probably wasn’t in best shape ever. Strangely, as it turned out the race obviously helped me to get better. The longer it took, the better I was able to breathe and on the morning after I felt completely recovered.

But enough of sinuses and colds – this is a race blog. The course was not top-class but allright and with quite some elevation for a cross circuit. My favorite passage was a run-up over stairs where the only fast option was to have the bike on the shoulder in Belgium style.

So, off we went and little Christian was back in race modus. I pushed myself to the limit and tryed to stay there, but had to find out this was still a bit too much. Soon enough I had to scale it down to 80% and did my job at the end of the field. In the end, it was a fun day and I came in on position 24 of 27. Not a good result, but I know it was way under my limit.

That was my season. Given the time available for racing and training I am pretty happy with it. Now Christmas can come.

Have it good out there

Christian

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