Alpen Tour- Stage 2

Stage 2 of the Alpen Tour was a 15 km, 1100 M vertical time trial up the ski hill here in Schladming Austria.

It would’ve been a great day to be skiing down the hill, to be riding up there in spandex and bare skin was about as logical as having a soccer match on a skating rink. Riding to the race my teammate Kris Sneddon made the comment “Apparently we haven’t smartened up much in life if were still flying 1/2 way around the world to freeze our asses off riding bikes up snowstorm engulfed mountains.” The rain we started in at the bottom of the mountain quickly turned into heavy snow as we headed skyward towards the heavens. The once muddy track, turned into an unrideable sloshy mess of snow ice and mud. We went from bike racers to mud runners in a matter of metres. A little further up we hit icy compacted snow and were able to remount our bikes and ride on a small packed down path between 6-12 inches of snow beside the trail. It was just like riding mountain bikes up in the Canadian Rocky mountain town of Jasper in the middle of the winter. The Freewheel boys up there use fat tire bikes to train in these conditions and I’m starting to figure out why. From now on I will make sure too pack the Kona fat tire bike being released in 2014 for any uphill time trials I do in the Alps.

Overall the experience of riding bikes in close to a foot of snow was pretty cool. For the first half of the climb I was getting caught by a number of pencil neck euros but once we hit the snow and the bike ride turned to a hike a bike/ sketchy bike ride I turned the tables around and started passing the skinny freezing boys back. At first I had to wrap my head around the fact I was pushing my bike up a ski hill then I started to pretend I was a cold tree planter running from a bear and started trotting up the hill. At one point we had to get out of the way for a Euro retreating downhill in full panic mode. Not sure where he was going but I’m pretty sure he would’ve been better off trekking the last couple km up to the ski lodge rather then face a 7 km snowy descent back into the rain!

At the top as we hiked through the finish line we continued the race straight into a warm ski lodge for hot chocolates and warmth before our bodies had a chance to realize what we just put them through.

When I saw race organizer Gerhard Schönbacher in the ski lodge we both broke into a laugh as the last time we saw each other was in the +42 degree heat of the Australian outback. (Gerhard also organizes the legendary Crocodile Trophy) He was smiling as he told me there were a lot of guys asking him to cancel the stage today. We both had the same thought of why in the world anyone would want to miss out on such a rad adventure. After all It’s days like this that make a person truly feel alive!
PS they are also days you question your sanity..

Tommorow calls for more rain and +8 weather down here in the valley. What lies up in the mountains is no longer a surprise as we are starting to smarten up and dress like skiers.

One Comment on “Alpen Tour- Stage 2”

  • Joe June 1st, 2013 10:42 am

    hey cory,
    you are such a tuff guy… sorry Europe shows its ugliest face…we never had this weather in June !!! please say hello to Gerhard if you see him next time from Joe if he remembers me (2010croc)

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