Mannomannomannomann or better ‘Leck’ mich doch am A…..’ – this is what I was thinking for about 1.5 hours today. There were a few other thoughts such as ‘Why the heck am I doing this? Should we take the bus, which is going up every 15 minutes and passes far too close? Are we completely crazy? But let me start from the very beginning of this day.
We had an early start – as per our means – and left the camping in Bludenz at 8.45h. We got up at 6.45h but we just need about 2 hours to prepare and pack. Since we did not listen well to the farmer who explained the best way to get to the bike path, we took the walking path for the first few kilometers and of course had to go back again… we have to go wrong at least once per day. From the very beginning we steadily climbed, while the beginning was really easy with an average speed of about 12km/h. We had our second breakfast at around 10.30h in Dalaas half way before the real climbing starts. We ate almost everything we had with us, since we thought we could buy food later in one of the villages on the way. However, when we finally found a supermarket at 12.10h it was already closed – lunch break from 12.00 – 15.00h (should we start a supermarket in Austria once we are back?). This is the first time I got a bit worried, since also all the hotels and restaurants are currently closed (great!).
And here we got lost for the second time:
We walked for about 30min on this stony path (which wasn’t really a path but a track from a truck or tractor) until it suddenly ended. But we enjoyed the nice views.
Shortly afterwards the streets got steeper, the villages emptier and my worries bigger. We had to go through narrow tunnels with no bike paths or sidewalks. The noise in the tunnels is extreme and the cars passed at really high speed (max. allowed is 80km/h, which is hard if trucks and buses pass by very close). So we decided to walk through the tunnels since we couldn’t hold our handlebars straight, to avoid the worse.
In Stuben we finally found an open restaurant, so the food problem was solved. But here came the next one: the real climbing, right after lunch. After exactly 1.15h and about 500m walking we arrived on the top at exactly 1,800m- I could see it already for the last 20min but wasn’t really expecting this to be the top of the Arlberg, but it was! What a feeling, I almost had to cry, not sure if it was from being so exhausted or out of happiness. And here is the proof:
After a short break we only had to cycle down – in the pouring rain, which didn’t really matter anymore, since we decided to stay in a hotel tonight. With free WiFi – hooray, that also lets me upload photos, thank you WordPress for supporting this function again. The receptionist asked where we came from and if we would have gone further without the rain… and I thought we did great today, but maybe she isn’t a cyclist, certainly not one with luggage :-))).
That’s it for now! See you soon here! Oh, by the way we are in St. Anton (we used to go skiing here, great resort, for those who are not familiar with skiing in Austria).