Trains, Planes and Jet lagged bike rides

The days after a big race are generally a struggle as we try to battle through fatigue, the diminishment of excitement, and the usual pattern of packing up and travelling.This time around I was lucky to have a few extra days to relax in Europe as my flight home was set for Wednesday morning out of Munich.

Sunday morning my Kona Teammates drove out of Lofer towards the Munich airport, I headed out of Lofer on my bike for a little cool down through the mountains to Bavaria.  The number of well signed bike routes in Austria is unbelievable. The place is primed for bike touring around! On this day I started following bike paths up into the mountains and soon found myself hike a biking up a steep trail towards an alpine hut.  My head was in outer space when I nearly stepped on a black snake with crosses over its back.   De Ja vu Australia.  My heart skipped a beat as the slithery creature hissed my way and asked me to leave.  I obeyed and turned my bike downhill towards the valley and off in the direction I was suppose to be heading. After a nice little climb I came to a bunch of hikers and what looked like a trail heading down a steep creek canyon.  It looked more intriguing then losing my elevation on a gravel road so off I headed.

The trail skirted above the creek canyon, with a cliff on either side at some points.    It was a sketchy as there wasn’t a lot of room for error.  Probably a wiser choice to be a hiker on it.  Riding a bike was nerve wracking as I knocked my handlebars on the upper cliff nearly shoving me into the creek.  Luckily there were guide cables along the cliff to hang onto.  A few hikers gave me a weird look and said something in German.  I had the feeling bikes may not be allowed on the trail but didn’t see any signs so I acted as an oblivious English speaking alien.  It was an unreal ride, eventually leading out of the canyon, over a bridge, and up another steep canyon towards Weisbach Bavaria.  I arrived with time to kill so headed to Insell Germany (home of speed skating World Cups) and bought a mountain of Gelato for recovery.  With a stomach ache I headed back to Weisbacch,  where my  Austrian friends Klemens and Viollete picked me up and tool me to there flat in Salzburg.  We met over in Australia at the Crocodile Trophy last year and they offered a place to crash if I was ever around the area.  Done deal.

On Monday Klemens took me on a grand tour of the Castles and Cathedrals in historical downtown Salzburg.  It was cool seeing such a city rich in history dating back to the 1600’s.  Big contrast from Canada where our history on the west coast dates back to the late 1800’s.  On the grand tour Klemens tired me out with all the walking and then we headed back to there flat for a huge BBQ, topped off with Chocolate Avocado Mouse for desert.

Tuesday a couple local rippers, Manuel and Anderl (who both raced the 4 Peaks race) took me out on a 4-hour rip in the Bavarian Mountains.  It was one of the best rides of the year as they lead me down some great single-track descents, a pile of rolly bike paths along the river and eventually we climbed back up to the sketchy Canyon I road on Sunday.  My friends were amused I had already ridden this trail as they figured it was a bit of a secret ride.  Hitting the canyon a 2nd time was great as I now had a couple of fast locals to show me the fast lines and we could bail each other out if anyone went overboard.    The ride was solid and ended with a stop at a nearby Bavarian bakery for treats.  Thanks guys for the great day out.

Another nice evening with Klemens and Violette then it was off to bed as I had an early train to catch at 5:40 am back to Munich for my flight.  Arriving at the train station at 5:20 I was all set for my journey home.  The problem was that no trains showed up. I waited and waited and waited and eventually some Germans starting cursing sheizer and walked away.  Not a good sign.  The train arrival board kept giving us updated arrival times but after 10 of these it became apparent they were just dragging us along as no trains were actually coming.  From my experience racing across Austria I’m guessing there were probably a bunch of cows on the track somewhere down the line holding the trains up. We never found out what really caused the absence of trains.  Lucky for me Klemens loaded me back up in his car and drove 45 minutes down the highway to the next train station that wasn’t jammed up by cows.

From here it was a quick journey into the Munich airport. Being the last one to hop on the plane I noticed there was a whole row of empty first class seats.  After the gongshow trying to catch a train I figured I deserved some first class treatment and sat down and made myself comfortable.  I had a few weird looks from the British Airways flight attendants but they let it go.  It was a great flight full of warm face cloths, gourmet meals and wine.  Thanks for the royal treatment British Airways!

Getting home to Canadian soil is always a treat.  Dave picked me up and took me on a 1 hr easy road ride which turned into 2.5 hours.  I cracked hard in the last hour then took my tent up into the woods behind Coquitlam for a 10 hour sleep in peace at one of Dave’s secret campsites.  2 days left to get rid of this jet lag then its off to Squamish for one of my favourite bike races all year, the Test of Metal!

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