Today I’m putting in a rest day. The past few days I’ve finally overcome my weaker self and started my bike training. To my delight I was able to establish that my physical condition is better than expected. But that’s probably due to the fact that I skied so much this winter as never before – no wonder during this winter of the century! The aim of my bike training is to be able to undertake the Amadé-Bike Marathon on the 27th May 2018, which is celebrating its 25-year anniversary this year. I’ve taken part in this competition at least ten to twelve times, I’m not exactly sure how often. But it’s always great fun to test my limits.
53, 96 or 147 km – that’s the question!
Of course, 20 years ago I decided on the long route of 146 km in length and 2,200 m height difference, whereby – if I’m completely honest – I sometimes swore along the route and asked myself why on earth I’m doing it. But once you’ve completed it, the feeling of satisfaction is even greater. In the past few years – probably due to my age – the medium length route sufficed and this year, there’s the novelty of a shorter route of 53 km in length for all rookies, wishing to have a go at a bike marathon. Thus I managed to persuade my friends Stefan and Andreas to take part, who are undertaking this adventure for the first time under my auspices.
When the cannon booms in the morning
The starting signal is fired is at 7.30 am by the Radstadt Citizens‘ Guard cannon and then hundreds of biking enthusiasts set off on the bike marathon. Whilst some dozen aces break off ahead, further back it’s more easy-going. Quite soon – according to condition and age – groups are created and together you put kilometre for kilometre behind you. Strangers soon become sporting comrades, you swap the leading spot and there’s no end of good tips. The best thing about the Amadé Bike Marathon is the fact, that it starts off quite vigorously with the ascents up to Forstau and afterwards up to Ramsau, but there’s still plenty of energy left. Once you reach the Ramsau high plateau at the foot of the Dachstein then you’ve achieved a lot. As a reward there’s a 20 km long descent down to Filzmoos and then onward on to Eben im Pongau, where you can recover from all your effort. And whilst the racers on the two longer routes turn right towards Bischofshofen or the Lammer Valley, the racers on the new shorter route only have around 10 km to go until they once again reach the start and finish line in Radstadt. The best thing about the Amadé Bike Marathon is that you can also decide along the way which route you want to take. Which means – if I’ve registered for the medium-length or short course and I feel fitter than expected during the race, I can always decide to take the longer route when I get to where the routes split – the same goes for the other way round too. Due to the use of chips for the time-keeping it’s no problem.
Pasta & mountain pine oil
Race organisation leaves nothing to desire – there are great refreshment stations, good signposting, bike service along the route and a super programme of events to entice me back Radstadt. Before the race you can always meet up with friends from previous races and during the race itself you make new friends. And Radstadt businesses do their utmost to ensure the event runs smoothly. The evening before the race catering establishments dish up lots of carbohydrates in the form of tasty pasta dishes and the accommodation leaves nothing to desire. My accommodation owner last year for example, left a small bottle of mountain pine oil from Mandlberggut in my room on arrival. She swears it’s the best thing for tired muscles. I tried it out and she’s right.
I’ve just had a look out of the window and I think I’m going to postpone my rest day as a short bike tour is a must when the weather’s so beautiful. And we’ll maybe see each other on the 27th of May at the Bike Marathon?!
Photo credits: Annik Roseland & TVB Radstadt