Transalp on mtb
© 2023 Tofisch & Partner It is August ´98 and on the street in direction to the Dolomites there is traffic jam. My car is loaded up completely with mountain bikes, mountain biker and bike equipment. We are passing by the standing cars in the and we all have a smile in our face because we are driving in the other direction far away from the Dolomites and the summer tourist crowed there. Our destination is the three country corner Austria, Swizerland and Italy in the Paznaun Vally nearby Ischgl. Where we were lucky to rebuild our bikes and make the preparation work for the tour after a sauna day in the car.
I' did know that three country tour has not so a nice sounding name us transalp challenge and I' could not imagine what is inspecting us during this tour during the planning before, but we were all surprised from the multifarious, beautiful and varied treks.
The duration of the tour was eight days and we had to made 320km and 8000m of altitude difference. We stayed overnight in pensions, youth hostels and holiday apartments in the destination locations in the valleys. This was the way how we could reduce our luggage (not our female members) in a 35l rucksack. This was a real advantage because we could so be faster and we could pass some of the caring passages easier. Because some of them you can call without to be exaggerated us difficult. We drived on old smuggler trails and old mule-tracks that means in the mountain biker slang: Single trails, dirt road, trails, asphalt, forest and field ways, bicycle paths and everything a lot up and naturally also down!
But now back on the saddle and the whizzing of the bike chain. The first day from Ischgl over thet Zeinis pass (1842) in the Montafon Valley and again up in the Gargellen Valley it was a really good stretch to begin this tour. We had enough time and air to talk during biking and to know us all a little bit better. Especially during a spontaneous bath in the icy river Vergalda with a water temperature of 10°C shortly bevor the location Gargellen we used for it and we could also realise the most courageous of our group. In Gargellen we had enough time to prepare the equipment for the next day for the Schlabeiner pass (2203m), because we did know that we had to carry our bicycles for a short part. How we could realize we had to much time for our availability and the combination between the excellent Gargellen hospitality and the really friendly atmosphere between the bikers had a bad consequences: this night was the shortest of all nights on this tour.
© 2023 Tofisch & Partner Nothing at all we were sitting after a sufficient breakfast at 8 a.m. in our saddles an were pedalling in direction Schlappeinerjoch. After the pass was waiting a single trail from the upper class to be ridden. And the whole group was lucky when we could rest after the second ascent from Klosters to Davos nearby the Davoser lake and we could fall after have eaten a traditional Switzerland rösti in our bads. The next day we left the Kanton Graubünden in the area of Engadin. Fantastic weather accompanied us the whole tour. Also on this day were we drived over the Scalettapass 2600m to Sausauna and Pontresina. The strain during the pretentious ascent compensate the wonderful landscape of the Dischma Valley and the downhill in the Engadin. In Pontressina was a terrible storm during the night and in the morning it was sensitive could. But for these we were excellent prepared and everybody was wearing his thickest jacket. A funny combination: thick rain jacket and short bicycle shorts, because of these the mountaineers were looking on us when we were arriving on the endpoint of the Morteratsch glacier with our mountain bikes. But in the end we have laughing more over their methods using crampons and ice axes than they were laughing over our looking.
After this amusing lunch break we were driving over the Bernina Pass and leave Switzerland on the Furcola di Livigno in dirction to Italy. We were staying overnight directly on the pass and we were absolutely happy that we are on the way with our bikes, because of the border was a long traffic jam in direction to Livigno and Bernina Pass. On the next morning we had again a smile in our face because we could first pass the standing cars and second it was going twenty kilometres downhill to Livigno. In the village Livigno it self we did not spent long time, because there was a to big touristy crowed around. Over a view secret smuggling trails, which we could drive very good with the bicycle we reached again Switzerland and over a Paß to Sta.Maria in the Münster valley. There we stayed overnight in a very nice youth hostel located in an old typical farmer house. With a big Italian 'Spaghettata' and a long discussion with a second bicycle group arriving in the hostel we were ending this day. Over the Costainas Pass (2251m) back into Switzerland to S`charl und Schuol was the next stage. The special highlight of this part is the downhill from the Costainas Pass until Schuol on a fantastic situated dirt road.
It was our last night and some of us were already nervous.. On the next the we have to go first to Samnaun and than on the highest pass of the whole tour, the Viederjoch (2772m).
© 2023 Tofisch & Partner Nothing at all we made in a beautiful rented holiday apartment a little closing party and are eating without any problem these calories, which we are needing securely the next day. And it was like said. First we could drive smoothly on the Unterengadiner bicycle path, but than we had to go to Samnaun and the Viederjoch (2772m) in one part: 1800m in altitude difference and very steep. Our equipment, specially the bikes, have to endure a lot during this tour. Although we all used high end parts and bikes the number of defects were quiet a lot. It came also so far that we made ranking who had the most defects on the road! We made a daily and a complete ranking! The complete ranking I have won with one broken chain changer and a broken bicycle computer, the second had a broken shock absorber and a broken pedal and the thirst had tow broken spokes and a curved saddle stick. We had only very light accidents during driving but this is taken part of a tour like this.
Everybody it can imagine how lucky we were standing on the last pass of the tour, seeing the starting point left a week ago and to know: 'Now I have only a mega long downhill in front of me until Ischgl!'
The balance of these week was clear: A lot of kilometres an altitude meters, exciting biking in a unknown area, new friendships and a lot, lot fun!