Across the Border and Down - Riding the Inn in Austria - CycleBlaze

August 15, 2019

Across the Border and Down

From Bad Tölz to Jenbach

The day starts innocently enough on a well marked, pretty bike path along the Isar. Again the weather is pleasantly cool but sunny, perfect for a day on a bike. For the first ten km's we are steadily gaining altitude, no hills just a slight imperceptible tilt to the road, suggesting that you aren't quite fit today. You need more effort than you expect for a path that looks so flat. After Lenggries it begins to look like a hill, a steady, mostly gentle climb to the Sylvensteiner Stausee, a reservoir built in the 1950's.

Signs tell us to leave the bike path due to construction which we are reluctant to do. The traffic on the main road would certainly spoil our enjoyment of the surroundings, particularly since today is a holiday and there are plenty of cars whizzing by. We wait and see that there are indeed cyclists coming down from the bike path and, good news, they assure us it is open. We continue on, pass through a short tunnel to Sylvenstein Stausee which what feels like the end of the climb for today. Wrong. Just looking at the elevation profile tells me that the incline continued until we plummet almost all the way down to the Inn Valley where our hotel is located.

Leaving Tölz on the Isar Bike Path
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Here we are rerouted onto an newer path. This is an intentional blocking of the original path, we think because the area along the river is a nature reserve - people not welcome, and rightly so (even if they are cyclists).
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The lovely river meadows along the Isar
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The Isar rushing from the mountains to eventually join the Danube
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This gentleman stops for a chat with us, and can tell us much about the history of the Isar's course which was changed considerably by the construction of the Sylvenstein Reservoir.
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And he kindly offered to take a picture of us.
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We reach the Sylvenstein Stausee which I didn't even take a picture of, however you'll get a glimpse of it in Janos' video. This plaque commemorates the deaths that occurred during its construction in 1955, 1957 and 1959.
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For most of the way along the Sylvenstein Stausee we share the road with motorized traffic, occasionally there is a stretch of bicycle path. At one point it dupes us and leads us down a hill on a nicely paved surface but once we are at the bottom we have to deal with loose gravel and a rather steep gradient to get back to the road. And then we are in Austria. For the rest of the ride to Achensee we have less traffic, some bike paths and quieter roads.

We were here twelve years ago on our bikes but I don't remember being impressed by Achensee at all. Maybe it was a grey day, maybe it was raining. Today the lake, sparkling in the sunshine, is glorious. We ride its full lenght of ten km's and in Maurach at its tip we take the road leading to the Inn Valley.

Returning from our little adventure on gravel, we see we are entering Austria.
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The views and countryside are a treat.
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Tirol is every bit as Catholic as Bavaria: here stations of the cross.
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We stop for a bite to eat.
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And now for the lovely Achensee
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More Achensee
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What a wonderful bicyle path!
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Spectacular views!
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What a wonderful day - no, wait, it's not over yet. We already know it will be a short and steep ride to the Inn Valley and our hotel is not quite at the end of the descent. Unfortunately, we don't study the map carefully enough and ride down, down, down, clutching the brakes, only to discover that our hotel was on a different road. Of course, there is a small side road connecting which - I'm sure you can guess - turned out to be very steep, steeper than anything I have ever pedaled, as long as I could pedal. Actually, I manage to stay on my bike for most of it, but it made the climb to Bad Gastein on the Alpe-Adria route look like child's play. We get to the top, catch our breath, and still don't know where the darned hotel is. Janos says he will have a look, I should wait and he rides off. When he doesn't return, I figure I should follow.

Here is where things really go wrong. I unwittingly take off down a different road - and ride and ride and wonder what happened to Janos. In the meantime he is also wondering what happened to me. My road which turns into a track over the fields finally leads to a busy road. I do know the name of our hotel and when after a long wait a cyclist appears, I can ask directions. In the meantime, I hear loud claps of thunder and when I get on my bike for the final kilometers of the day it starts to pour. No time now to put on rain booties or rain pants. It's uphill, the traffic is heavy and the adrenalin pumping through my system has me riding at a good pace. I might add that our cell phones are for some reason making no connection, and I can't operate mine on the busy road in the downpour anyway. For obvious reasons, no pictures from this part of the ride.

I find the hotel, Janos is standing there, frantic. I am furious, although there is no one to be furious at, except maybe myself since I hadn't seen which road Janos had taken. I eventually get dry and cool off, the hotel is good, the food is excellent, we have a gorgeous mountain view.

Here I have almost crested the short and painful hill and wait for Janos.
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The view from our room
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All is well that ends well - the rain has stopped and a rainbow reconciles us with the tribulations of the day.
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If you enlarge the map you can see the crazy ride I had at the end. You can also see the zigzags I was riding to keep going on the steep climb.

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Today's ride: 63 km (39 miles)
Total: 110 km (68 miles)

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Tricia GrahamWhat a terrible end to what at been such a great day - I can imagine just how frantic you must have felt - losing each other is my worst nightmare
keep safe
Tricia
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1 year ago
Suzanne GibsonTo Tricia GrahamIt was a bit frightening and I was ever so glad that I knew the name of the hotel!
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1 year ago
Scott AndersonSeparations like that are so frightening, aren’t they? We’ve been there a few times ourselves, and they’re experiences we won’t forget. What a great way to end the day though, with that stunning view from your room.
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1 year ago
Nancy GrahamOMG!! That view from your room!! How gorgeous. And the rainbow added to it is nothing less than wonderful. Such good riding you have at you finger tips and you show it all so well with your photos.

The things that go a bit wrong on a tour — make the adventure oh so memorable. That is a time you are not likely to forget, and though a low light at the time, becomes a highlight to recall later.
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1 year ago
Rachael AndersonTo Scott AndersonLooks like great bicycling country. I’m sorry to hear about your losing each other. It’s really scary!
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1 year ago
Suzanne GibsonTo Rachael AndersonThe bicycling here is just right for us, never too steep - unless you take a wrong turn.
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1 year ago