On the last full day in Austria decided to go for a longer bike ride. I had found a gravel route via the a sign along the route about the Taurachtal Radweg, The route had 4 major climbs at the end, a small climb in the beginning and was flat for the first 3rd.
The route started in Flachau which is a ski resort. I parked the car right at the ski hotels. The route than brought me over the shoulder of a mountain to Altstadt and from there I rode along a beautiful gravel bike path to Radstadt. I even passed the bike store I had picked up me bike a few days before.
Soon I was on the first major climb. After reading the instructions on the sign started the climb. From the beginning it was gravel and completely quiet.
The climb took about 35 minutes and I ended up at the Zauchensee ski station at 4000 ft. After a short descend on the road, I climbed the highest peak of the ride. First the road surface was asphalt but after I passed another ski station, it turned into a steep gravel forestry road. This road brough me up to almost 5000ft.
This climb took almost an hour and after enjoying the vista for a bit started the descent. During the climb my "scared of heights" already started to kick in a little. On the steep gravel descent it got even worse. I stayed as close as I could to the mountain side of the road. I kept me speed way down as I did not want to lose control. The hydraulic brakes were super helpful. But still I needed a break halfway to give my hands and arms a rest.
After what felt like an eternity (really only 18 mins) of descending I crossed a main road. At this point I had to decide to continue the road for an out and back to the Zaugensee lake (6 extra miles and another climb) or head back. Even though I only had 1 energy bar decided to follow the original route and ride to the Zaugensee and hope that there was an open restaurant. The road was also gravel and followed a small river up to the Zaugensee and after a half an hour looked into the little valley that contained the lake. I rode along the lake to the what looked like a ski town and found a place where I got a cappucinno and an apfelstrudel.
After enjoying the goodes and the view I rode back and then did the last climb. This one was also a steep forestry road, but was fortunately not too long, I reach the high point after 25 minutes. Then it was justa quick decent on the road back to the starting point in Flachau where the white rental car was still waiting for me. A good day on the bike 33 miles with more than 6000 ft of climbing.
Tuesday we flew back home to Boston an Wednesday morning I drove back to Conway so I could join the NCC cross training in Amherst later that day. We first did 3 laps on our regular course and then went to the Ghost course which we rode twice. We practiced runups as that what we will have to do at Nationals in Hartford. We finished it of with a cooldown lap on our regular course.
The next day I did a fitness test as I had not done that in a while. I had used 260 watts as the FTP for my interval training. I had taken that measurement a while ago and wanted to update it. I started out relatively easy at around 260-270 watts with a cadence of about 89-90 rpm and after 5 minutes felt good and increased the cadence and wattage to 280-290. With 10 minutes to go kept slowly increasing cadence and therefor power closely watching heartrate. The last 5 minutes my power averaged 300 watts and heartrate 168. The end result was an overall average of 288 watts. An FTP of 273 watts. I probably could have gone a little harder. Oh well rather this way then blow up halfway.
The next day did an ez spin. Since it was beautiful weather went for a loop outside. Visited the waterfall along Reed's bridge. It had rained quite a bit the day before and as a result there was some serious flow in the river.
On Saturday did my abbreviated openers with the 1 big effort and 1 sprint. Seems it worked well for the next day's race. First bit I rode with John, but I then turned off home via Pine hill.
On Sunday went to Keene for the pumpkin cross race. This was my third time racing there. The drive up and there and the setting was spectacular with the fall colors muted by fogg.
I raced in the cat 4/5 45+ and had seen on crossresults there were some good competitors. In the end 2 of them did not show but I had my eye out for the other 3 riders. I had a pretty good start and came through 5th in the first corner (we rode together with the under 40+).
I then focused trying to stay on the wheel of the fastest 45+ rider. I was able to keep up in the beginning but he was stronger on the power sections. I was able to close the gap on the sand section.
Did not overtake him and then lost contact again in a runup and technical section in the woods. I decided to race my own race and hopefully get back up. That did not happen, as I was overtaken by what later turned out the winner and in the 3rd lap by another racer. In 4th lap I was able to overtake him again, which put me back in 3rd place and was able to hold that position until the finish. Although he finished only 2 seconds behind me. My all-out sprint to the finish payed off. Overall a good day of racing and changing bikes before the race to the Seven for the Honey was a good decision I think. The sand would have done a number on the rim-brakes and the noise was distracting. The disk brakes of the Seven and the coarser knobbies on the Seven definitely helped with the sand. Second podium of the year.
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