Monday 12 October 2009

The Lost Boy Boys Tour of Europe 2009: Rides ‘Round Rosenheim, Part 2

August 7, 2009: After yesterday’s good experience with the GPS routing, I was hoping for more of the same today but unfortunately I must have put in some directions incorrectly as once we set out the arrow kept taking us back towards the hotel.  Eventually we found a road sign that would take us in the right direction, towards the Austrian border and the town of Kufstein, along the River Inn (as in Innsbruck).

The start of the ride was not very promising as we quickly found ourselves on a major highway, Rt. 93, and although we were going very quickly it was not much fun at all.  A interesting sidelight is that we rode past the small factory where high-end Corratec bicycles are manufactured.  Eventually we cleared the intersection with Autobahn 8 and things got quieter and the Garmin was now working properly again.  Soon we reached the turn in Brannenburg that would take us west of the river and into the pre-Alps.  The climb began quite gently.  Dr. Chef noticed a sign that indicated “17%” but I said that this seemed unlikely.

We began to climb quite steadily and, sure enough, came to a section of road that actually was at least 17 percent.  The road was narrow, but there was not much traffic.  This was good as we soon came to a one-way tunnel which was short by quite steep so it was good that we did not have to dismount and lose the bit of momentum we had.

We were climbing the Deutsche Alpenstrasse, which would continue on to Sudelfeld but which we would only take to the intersection for the road to Tatzelwurm.  Some of the stronger riders had already passed the intersection but we managed to get them back by telephone.  In retrospect, we should have continued to Sudelfeld as the climb as quite challenging, but then we would have missed the truly splendid descent via Tatzelwurm through Rechenau and Seebach and Agg, which brought us down to the Inn flood plain and Reisach.  Riding towards the Inn we located the Inn bikepath and found a nice restaurant where we enjoyed lunch.  More beer!  More strudel!

The idea of following the Inn bikepath towards Kufstein was abandoned as it became quickly apparent that the nice paved stretch we found became rough gravel, so we returned to the main road and headed south, soon afterwards crossing into Austria and reaching Kufstein, which straddles both banks of the river.  Although it has only 18,000 inhabitants, it looked like a bustling place, overlooked by a large 13th Century fortress.  While scouting out the route out of town, which has a lot of one-way streets, I rode through the cobbled market area, which was very lively.

Turning back towards Germany, we passed through small villages such as Erl and the charming Nussdorf am Inn.  The road was gently undulating and fairly light in traffic.  My legs were starting to get a bit tired by this time but they were to be challenged once more as we came to Neubeuren, which is dominated by an impressive castle (sections of which date to the 12th Century, and which has since 1925 served as a boarding school).  The road through Neubeuren was quite steep and at this point all the traffic we had not encountered made its presence known.  But once over the top it was easy riding back to Rosenheim and the hotel.  We had covered 92 km, with about 1000 m of climbing, most of which was on the hill to Tatzelwurm.

Hello from Argentina!

(photo by Claus Rammel)

It was still early in the day, and the sun was beating down relentlessly.  After getting cleaned up, several of us took the opportunity to go to the “Lokschuppen,” a one-time locomotive shed that has been converted to an exhibition and event centre.  There was an exhibition “Giant Dinosaurs of Argentina,” showcasing some 24 dinosaurs, either in skeleton or reconstructed form, all species unearthed in the last two decades in Patagonia.  Argentina has fossils from all three eras of the dinosaurs (Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous) and these included some of the earliest known therapods, the ancestors of T. rex, as well as the largest therapod, Gigantosaurus carolinii, which stood 4 m (13 feet) tall and was 14 m (46 feet) long.  But Gigantosaurus c. was small potatoes compared to the sauropods on display.  There was the weird, spiky Amargasaurus, for example, It was about 11 m long (33 feet) and was very impressive.  But then we left the building to enter a large, temporary wooden structure and were confronted with the skeleton of what must have been the largest animal to every walk the earth.  Argentinosaurus huinculensis was 8 m (26 feet) tall and 40 m (131 feet) long, and weighed an estimated 60 tonnes.  We stood next to it and I simply could not imagine I was seeing a creature this big.  There was no way to photograph it and get any recognizable image.

The exhibition, to celebrate Darwin’s 200th birthday, was a coup for Rosenheim and utterly fascinating.  It will run until October 25 and is worth the detour to get there.

1 comment:

Groover said...

Great description. You never told me about beer and strudel for lunch. Damn, I would have been there ... lol

How many kilometers was that loop? And how long was the 17% section? I would have probably climbed off and pushed. Can't wait to read how it continues.