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My first bikepacking trip – four countries, joys and mistakes

Max

My first bikepacking trip – four countries, joys and mistakes

Road Cycling Collection by Max

4

Tours

31:11 h

378 mi

33,150 ft

I have been cycling for over 17 years now. I raced road races, MTB Marathons, and even made some unsuccessful attempts at cyclocross. After stopping racing in 2013, I started planning and riding some multi-day tours with friends using our mountain bikes. Before the times of modern bikepacking setups and strap-on bags there were two groups: The touring cyclists with huge pannier bags, that were moving at a more leisurely pace and on easier terrain, and the mountain bikers carrying their essentials in backpacks, thus being lighter and more agile on rough trails. We chose the backpack – and the faster, more sporty – approach. From weekend trips, to crossing the Alps over multiple days, we enjoyed taking our bikes much further than we thought possible before. However, limited with what we could carry in our backpacks we slept in hotels most of the time and had very defined stages for each day.

In 2018 I heard about the Silk Road Mountain Race. I saw the pictures, watched the trailer, read all about it and I became addicted to 'dotwatching' – following the event competitors via their GPS live tracker – and following the crazy stories around it. I decided I wanted to do this in 2019 and started training and went bikepacking on overnighters and more. It became a passion and changed the way I ride bikes.

For my birthday I decided to go on a 4-day trip through four countries (my native Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Germany) crossing some of the highest passes in Europe and encountering all kinds of terrain on my 600 kilometer journey.

This is the story I'm showcasing in this Collection: a story about failure, mistakes, bad planning, but also about the huge joys and excitement of my very first proper bikepacking trip.

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My first bikepacking trip

375 mi

34,975 ft

34,975 ft

Last updated: May 23, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • 06:06
    83.3 mi
    13.7 mph
    6,300 ft
    4,025 ft

    The moment you're supposed to take off is always the most stressful part about a trip. Did I pack this? Oh, I forgot that. Hmm, there's clouds in the mountains, let's check the weather again. And BOOM it's already nearly lunch. Well whatever, I thought I just ride until I am too tired to pedal any more

    by Max

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  • 08:20
    91.4 mi
    11.0 mph
    9,325 ft
    10,700 ft

    Rested and with dried clothes I started into the day and I was very happy to get up in perfect sunshine! And today I was able to follow my originally planned route.

    

    Finally I had less tarmac. Nice forest roads and trails led me through Lungau on my way to Carinthia. The biggest climb of the day was close

    by Max

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  • 09:17
    111 mi
    11.9 mph
    10,575 ft
    9,550 ft

    I woke up to the sound of the river Soca and the birds chirping. The sun rose and slowly brought warmth to the unexpectedly cold valley. I packed my gear and left a thank you note.

    

    As I was out very early, I was able to enjoy the Soca Valley without a lot of tourists and with barely any traffic. It is

    by Max

  • 07:28
    92.3 mi
    12.4 mph
    6,950 ft
    8,875 ft

    I got up early in the morning to beautiful weather once more. What a day for the last stretch. Waiting for me was the famous Großglockner Hochalpenstrasse. I never went up from the Heiligenblut side. I chose the small path up Appriacher Höhenweg to escape traffic and have better views. It is highly recommended

    by Max

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    4
  • Distance
    378 mi
  • Duration
    31:11 h
  • Elevation
    33,150 ft

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My first bikepacking trip – four countries, joys and mistakes

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