Years ago when I lived in Vienna, Austria, I used to love taking my bike up into the Wienerwald to ride for hours and hours on the gravel roads that meandered through the woods. These are not the kind of gravel roads we are used to in the US, but are called fire roads, or rather - Fortstraße. They are not open to vehicles outside of Park Rangers. But they are open for hikers, joggers, and cyclists.
I happen to be staying at the entrance to Kilometers, and Kilometers of these gravel roads. The weather has finally turned in the right direction to allow me to get out and enjoy the beauty as the snow and ice are mostly gone. So today as temperatures hit the mid to upper 40's, it was time to take advantage of the climbs, the descents and the fresh air without having to worry about cars.
Today's ride on the way up...
I climbed for a total of 9.42 miles which tested my quads and lungs, but it was refreshing to be out in the woods enjoying the beauty and grinding some gravel - German style! 9.42 miles!!!! Tell me where in Iowa you can climb a gravel road that goes up for 9.42 miles? It's right out my front door!!!
Delicious is all I can say. It brings back all the fun memories of spending most of 2002 and 2003 in the Wienerwald on the bike rehabbing my knee after tearing my meniscus.
Not to worry - I'll be back for much more as it is time to jumpstart the legs and the training after the past 6 weeks have seen my pedal time dwindle due to weather, travel and work. Obviously, work takes full precedence, but with the expanded daylight hours and the heavy lifting of the first 5 or 6 weeks due to administrative duties over with for the most part - I can now begin to enjoy why I brought my Roubaix along. The gravel roads, climbs and descents are perfect for the Roubaix (as well as my 30mm Challenge Strada Bianca Tires).
Here's a video from a segment near the end of today's ride as I was coming out of the forest and back into the edge of town where the pavement started...
Tomorrow will be sunny again and 50 - so I'll be out as well trying to milk 2+ hours out of the gravel between class and the evening Pizza gathering we do every Thursday as a group.
German style Gravel Grinding has begun!