The Oetztal is one of the greatest areas in Austria for all kind of outdoor activities - Mountain biking, hiking, cycling, climbing, leisure activities, watersports.
One of the biggest and most difficult granfondos all over Europe is the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon.
it leads over a length of 238 km northwards through the valley , then east to Innsbruck and Brenner , Jaufen and Timmelsjoch back to Sölden . 5500 meters of altitude are hereby to overcome. Every „real“ cyclist have to do this granfondo once in a lifetime..;-)..Soelden is overcrowded with crazy cyclists. Over 4000 starters have the same aim - they wants to finish before 20.40 in the evening..:-). 4000 crazy bikers get up at 4 am in the morning, are nervous, can’t eat, go 5000 times to the toilet. The last sunday in August is the day of the day. At 6 am the main street in Soelden is filled with motivation, strength, will and enthusiasm - and 4000 cyclists of course..:-). Music and a „animateur“ is talking, kidding and tries to speak away the nervousness. But definitely it doesn’t work…:-)..it is hard to describe - you need to feel it.
Start - 4000 starters try to get without falling or any defect to Oetz. There are some tricky traps like round abouts ..;-). End of August it could be really cold down to Oetz. But don’t worry , the first mountain pass is waiting - Kuehtai. 1200 hm with a small part of 18% and many many cows beside the roads. After eating and drinking on the top of the pass a looming and really fast downhill to Innsbruck is waiting. Some athletes reaches speeds over 100 km/h. Next step to reach your dream is BRENNER.
777 hm very flat but steady. A lot of people say „Here you need a group or you are dead“. It is a insidious dead because you don’t feel at this moment - but at least at the Timmelsjoch.
Now JAUFEN waits to be climbed. Here the „TRUE“ OETZI starts. For me, Jaufen is was the hardest mountain pass in 2013, when I did the Oetzi. It is looong and there is now time to rest - 1130 hm. And the downhill part is really bad, because of the bad street.
After almost 200 km the Timmeljoch will bring you to your borders or beyond. 28 km ashole - 7 flat km - 7 steep km - 7 flat km - 7 steep km. A never ending story. And everybody wants to get to the tunnel - short before the top of the pass.
But it is not the end after it - there is one more short rise, only 100 ore 200 meters of altitude. But every bone and muscle in your body, your brain fights against it. And thaaaaan - it is almost done. You don’t realise it directly at this moment, because you are concentrated on the 30 km downhill to Soelden.
You can’t believe it. Not now. And not, when you come to Soelden and 100 of people cheer on you. And than - your dream comes true - the finishing line. And you got it. And you can’t hold your tears.
UNBELIEVABLE.AMAZING.NEVER GIVE UP.
As every year the granfondo Team Alpecin is taking part at this amazing event. I had the chance this year to had a ride on our team motorcycle to support our riders and to get some film and photo material. Check out my video of the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon.