Thursday 12th September Sollenau to Mönichkirchen. A Trail of Two Halves- Long, Flat Straights and Long Climbs Straight Up. - Retyrement on 2 Wheels - CycleBlaze

September 12, 2019

Thursday 12th September Sollenau to Mönichkirchen. A Trail of Two Halves- Long, Flat Straights and Long Climbs Straight Up.

We farewell Sarah and Henry in Sollenau as they brew a batch of soap. It’s a clear sky with the promise of a brilliant day. We find the Eurovelo 9 sign and set off enthusiastically. It’s such a good feeling be back on our bikes that we’ve pedalled a couple of kilometres before we realise we’ve followed the sign in the wrong direction. “Going south, sun on left”.

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Crisis averted we turn and make up for time. The route is excellently signposted and the track is smooth so that reaching the challenge of the day, Mönichkirchen which stands at the top of a 10 kilometre climb seems achievable, even if it’s 79 Kilometres away. Our journey continues through pretty countryside and along and over rivers fed from the mountains. The landscape is open at first, with several peaks in the distance. The temptation is to keep thinking, ‘Which of them are we going to have to climb today?’ It develops into a little subliminal mantra.

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Back in covered bridge territory.
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Stork’s nest and steeple.
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These “storks” bear names of new babies born in Seebenstein.
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We cycle through pretty villages, shady woods and over open farmland. The plentiful walking tracks are indicated by small yellow signs. Weiner Neustadt has more industry and timber mills. We cross the Schwarzau River at Bad Erlach. There is a massive modern Therme complex there called Lindberg Asia. There are also hilltop fortress towns which look picturesque and mysterious against the skyline.

The Spa
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Welcome shade
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Need to go cross country to get past this barrier.
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Up from Aspang Markt
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As the valley closes in we  note that like the approach to the Reschen Pass, autostrada, river, rail and cycle way- all run through the valley. The further in we cycle, the narrower it gets, until at last there’s only one way out and the first uphill is visible- and it does not disappoint. The initial stage out of Aspang Markt is so steep we are reduced to walking for some metres, but then the gradient becomes less steep and granny gear goes into action.

Alpine meadows
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Requesting water at an alpine farmhouse.
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It’s a challenging climb though, and we need a water refill about halfway up, from a friendly woman on a farm. She tells us that we are over the worst. The views on this clear afternoon are forever and small towns and villages are spread out in every direction below and to the side of us. There are several farms on the way up - massive wood and plaster buildings. There are also herds of non reactive cows calmly masticating , some have bells, as we gasp and pant our way past them.

At last, 10 kilometres up, we reach Mönichkirchen. At the top of the world, we eat an ice cream and survey the road back. While consuming, we book into the Gasthaus Landerblick. The owner/manager is very welcoming and has good English. The room is clean and spacious but the 1970s decor needs a mention. How colours have changed since then! Where did brown go? Pride of place must go to the toilet which any member of the beige brigade would feel entirely at home with, incorporating as it does the two tones of their garb to a T. 

We decide to celebrate our achievement with a meal in the dining room. Even accompanied by a rather aromatic rosé,  it’s nothing too out of the ordinary, but it’s the calories that count.

Today's ride: 81 km (50 miles)
Total: 2,060 km (1,279 miles)

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Tricia GrahamI am so enjoying your journey though the thought of todays climb made me want to lie down! We are close to reaching the end of our trip with only about 10 days of cycling left before we reach my niece in Paris
Keep safe
Tricia
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4 months ago
Ann HutchingTo Tricia GrahamThanks Tricia, it was a big day but wonderful as well. ( like childbirth- all is well at the end! and the tough bits forgotten).
We are keeping up with you and recalling the route that we enjoyed. It’s good to have a prompt to do that.
I note you use Komoot. Have planned our next section with them. We don’t have a GPS apart from phone., and no bike guides from now on.
Go safely. Would love to meet up in summer. We are in Auckland. Ann
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4 months ago
Tricia GrahamTo Ann HutchingWould love to meet up with you in the summer
As far as Komoot is concerned it works extremely well most of the time. Like you we only us a phone. I have found the key to this is to have a handlebar mount for it (before we had this and Ihad it in my handlebar bag I found it impossible). Make sure you have it set on cycle touring - occasionally if it will give you an impossible route, if it does this change the setting to road cycling. I actually do have a GPS but find the phone more satisfactory
Like you I have been really enjoying reliving previous trips through yours
If all else fails the cycle route given on google maps can be helpful.
They dont exist in all countries - I dont know about Slovenia but they dont in Italy
Keep safe
Tricia
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4 months ago
Tricia GrahamTo Ann HutchingOne thing I forgot to say Ann is that Komoot uses a lot of battery from your phone so if you are using it a lot you need a power bank you can hook into if your battery gets too low
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4 months ago