One from the vaults: Home sweet home

I’ve really dug deep with this one. It’s from June 2009 when we decided to take a cycling vacation in Seefeld Austria. Sadly, the weather did not co-operate! When I first started blogging, I made little or no use of my photographs. But if you want to see photos of Seefeld and the surrounding area, there are plenty of other posts on my blog.

Sunday was the final day of our vacation and it was still raining, or should I say pouring. Undeterred by the climatic conditions, we have however had a most enjoyable vacation. Most days we have waited for a lull in the precipitation before venturing forth on our bikes, muffled up like Michelin men in rain jackets, leg and arm warmers. It’s warmed up as the week has progressed, although the surrounding mountains still have a dusting of snow.

During the week, we have ascended and descended all the surrounding hills, several times, most of which are an average 10% gradient.  I foolishly made the mistake of buying my beloved husband a book on rides in the surrounding area enabling him to seek out the highest climbs. However, we have also ridden along the valley visiting some of the villages perched part-way up the hills.

Now, we’ve seen plenty of cyclists out and about in the valley but, surprisingly, have not passed any, or indeed been passed by any on the climbs. Slogging back up one of these from the valley on Thursday, I was delighted when it levelled out at 7%. Yes, I know I can’t believe I even entertained that thought, but I did. Of course, it’s been great training as most of the climbs near us are only 7% average gradient.

I have a routine when cycling with my beloved. I always carry the cash, the mobile and the keys. I reckon that the combination acts as a powerful disincentive for my husband to misplace me. Equally, I don’t trust him not to lose any one of them should I be foolish enough to entrust him with them. History greatly supports my fears.

Nonetheless, my beloved managed to lose me on Friday in nearby Mittenwald, Germany. I searched all over for him, without success and as soon as the heavens opened (once again) I headed back across the border into Austria. It was cold and wet and, having climbed back up to the valley, I time-trialled home while passing cars regarded me with considerable disbelief.  My husband trailled in over an hour later looking (or so I like to think), a bit sheepish.

I am of course questioning why on earth did we decide to have a cycling holiday in Austria? Why did we not stay at home and enjoy the warm, sunny weather so ideal for cycling? The answer is my beloved. If he takes vacation and stays at home he keep straying into the office to answer a few emails or answer the phone and several hours later he’s still in there. From time to time, I need to ensure that he has a complete break. Conversely, my holiday starts when he heads off on a business trip. Roll on Monday!

Not what was ordered

We awoke this morning to discover it had snowed overnight: not in the village but at 2000 metres! We spent yesterday wishing we’d bought our mountain bikes and today our skis. Before you ask, I did check the weather forecast before we left but an adverse front has unexpectedly settled itself over Central Europe, so everywhere within a drive of a couple of hours has the same weather. While I always pack something just in case it’s chilly, I hadn’t anticipated having to wear the same outfit all week. No lounging on the sun terrace to erase my cycling tan lines or swimming in the nearby pool.

The clouds have descended to 1500 metres and it is pouring down with rain. Somehow I suspect we won’t be cycling today. The weather is forecast to improve tomorrow but there’s the prospect of some rain all week.

Holiday blues

We’re on holiday this week, cycling in Austria. We drove up yesterday, leaving behind the sunshine and warm temperatures, for leaden skies and temperatures a full 23 degrees lower! This morning we awoke to find it was raining: not too steady a downpour, more of a constant, cold drizzle. Undeterred, we went cycling and immediately discovered that we had left one vital piece of clothing at home: our leg warmers. We had all of our wet weather gear but hadn’t foreseen that it would be sooooooooo cold.

In order to keep warm we indulged in some uphill, interval training, perfect on the rolling terrain and it kept our legs less cold. The outlook is not good for the next few days and we can expect further showers but after riding in the freezing, pouring rain in the Pyrenees, a bit of rain is not going to put us off enjoying our vacation.  We have spent many happy holidays, both winter and summer, in the area. I recall one summer vacation when, after six continuous weeks of almost heat wave like conditions, we spent a very wet week walking in the surrounding hills, wild-water rafting and canyoning. Of course, I may need a few (more) glasses of Jaeger Tee or Gluehwein to warm me up post-ride.

This is however the first time I have cycled in the area and what I previously assumed to be steep climbs are in fact rolling hills which one can easily power up. We’ve mapped out our rides for the following days and are looking forward to spending significant time in the saddle and putting plenty of kilometres on the clock. Already my hay fever symptoms have disappeared and my breathing is almost back to normal.

This should also help in my fight against the surplus kilos always assuming I manage to steer well clear of all those delicious Austrian desserts