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Fuschlsee Road Bike Region

Fuschlsee Road Bike Region

13.11.15 22:02 1.762Text: Lukas SchnitzerPhotos: NoSaneThe new route for the Eddy Merckx Classic has being run for the first time on September 13, 2015. There must also be potential for road bike tours in this area. Here is a small excerpt from tours made around the Fuschl am See area.13.11.15 22:02 1.762

Fuschlsee Road Bike Region

13.11.15 22:02 1.762 Lukas Schnitzer NoSane Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarThe new route for the Eddy Merckx Classic has being run for the first time on September 13, 2015. There must also be potential for road bike tours in this area. Here is a small excerpt from tours made around the Fuschl am See area.13.11.15 22:02 1761

There are regions that have a certain reputation. Lung bursting passes that wind to the sky along short bends and endlessly long ramps. Wind conditions that alone gradually leave tears of doubt for committed cyclists. Paired with heat, snow, rain, dust and poor roads. Edouard Louis Joseph Baron Merckx – or simply just Eddy Merckx – has lived and seen it all in his 13 years as a pro.

The Belgian respectively claimed five victories of the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia, as well as a victory of the Vuelta a España. He won the Milan San Remo seven times, Liège–Bastogne–Liège five times, Paris-Roubaix three times and Giro di Lombardia and the tour of Flanders races twice each. The world record time set by him in Mexico in 1972 held for almost 30 years.

All of this helps make the cannibal the greatest bike racer in history today. Merckx has been through much in his career. But it is neither the Pyrenees nor the French Alps, nor the history-rich streets of Italy that have a magic allure for him today. During the 2006 world championship he got to know and appreciate the lake-rich Salzkammergut and has been a great fan of the region ever since. For many years the now the 70-year-old has taken a weekly tour with friends. Once a year the group travels together.

The Salzburg-Salzkammergut region and the race named after him – the Eddy Merckx Classic – have developed into the fixed point for the trip, and it is therefore the case that Eddy and his friends can be found at the starting line year after year.

The starting point of 2015 has been for the first time in the small community of Fuschl am See, which, with the road bike and triathlon hotel Mohrenwirt, is also the starting point for our exploratory travels through the region. The participants in the 169 km long route with its 2,609 meters of elevation gain pedaled past no fewer than eleven of the lakes of the region on September 13.

In general, the region’s lakes are very dominant, even if their surroundings and location vary greatly. From the hilly turf over flat passes and wild ravines to deadly ascents, Fuschl is suitable as the start for diverse training challenges and pleasurable tours.

In itself, Fuschl am See is a small, introspective place in Salzburg’s Flachgau region. Only some 20 km away from the regional capital Salzburg, with its rich cultural and recreational offerings, it lies on the eastern shore the Fuschlsee, 669m above sea level.

But don’t be fooled by the idyllic lakes and mountains. With the Austrian quarter of a well-known local energy drink manufacturer along with its impressive grounds, the little town manages to completely surprise visitors during an evening walk. The surroundings of the city of Salzburg, the crystal-clear water of the Fuschlsee and the many attractions in the vicinity have the potential to make your stay into a memorable experience for the whole family as well.

The aforementioned 169 km Eddy Merckx route (naturally there are also alternatives, as with marathons, one of 106 and one of 63 km) runs through the entire region. For our excursions from Mohrenwirt we decided to travel the southern and northern area of the route on separate days. We want to enjoy the area some, to swim in the lakes and sip some coffee.

Our first tour follows the southern shore of the lake, which is not part of the race route, towards Hof, where we turn in to join the extra loop of the A route. Partly on public roads, partly on side streets and farming roads, we roll into a side valley, past Wald, the village, not the collection of trees, onto Hintersee.

The broad road ends here before the panorama of the enchanting Osterhorngruppe. Only a narrow, well-paved road leads further along the alpine stream. Unfortunately it also serves as the main route for the locals, so riders must always be ready to make way for one car or another. At certain hazardous places with low visibility, the natives have developed the precautionary habit of honking their horns. So keeping your ears open can avoid a few seconds of terror.

Hintersee

Just a quiet stream to start, the powerful force of the water becomes bolder with every meter. First, the alpine stream created an even broader plain on which horses graze before it gathers itself one last time and finally cuts deep into the landscape.
Without warning the area grows wilder, the course of the stream ever harder to follow with the eye. We now find ourselves in Strubklamm, one of the natural highlights of the region. Without really having to climb any distance, one believes oneself to be on a steep mountain pass, as rugged and pristine as when the landscape was formed. The route leads through a short but unlit tunnel, always with a view of the ravine.

Anyone who is in the mood for some adrenaline can descend into the gorge accompanied by canyoning guides. A total of more than 20 different ravines in the region invite one to rappel through waterfalls under expert instruction, to jump into deep pools and float on glass-clear water. But we on our road bikes want to roll, not float, and so we leave Strubklamm behind us and continue on towards Wiestal Reservoir.

Built in 1909, the reservoir now serves the residents of the city of Salzburg primarily as a local recreation area. And fly fishermen clearly feel at home here in the nature preserve. Dozens of old men in rubber waders bear witness to this fact.

On a little side street with large tractors we continue our hilly way, the glorious mountain panorama our constant companion. When we finally turn onto an even smaller street, it suddenly rears up to a 15 % grade. With views of the Wieserhörndl, Ochsenberg and Faistenauer Schafberg we quickly gain altitude. Finally reaching the top, the sunny pub garden of the Zistelalm beckons.

Wiestalstausee

Here the city of Salzburg lies at our feet, while we are spoilt with home-cooked food and cakes. Fuelled by coffee, we now have two options. Climb the last 200 hm up the Gaisberg, so we can say we made it there, or simply follow the A route first and then continue towards Unterkoppel where the three routes come back together.

The 1,287 m high Gaisberg, with its prominent antenna tower, frequently serves as a welcome guide in the area. And the extra effort is well rewarded with the view far into the border area with Bavaria.

On our way back to Fuschl, our path is lined with signs referencing the Salzburgring. For anyone travelling the area with little ones who like cars, the Salzburgring or the historical exhibition “Milestones of Mobility” on the Austrian automotive pioneer Ferdinand Porsche at the Mattsee come highly recommended. Certainly a welcome change of pace for adults and kids alike after a day of swimming in the glass-clear Fuschlsee.

After returning to the Mohrenwirt, having hung up our bikes in the roomy bike storage, which is actually its own outbuilding, we end the day by the lakeshore. Incidentally: for those who prefer not to travel with their own bicycles, road bikes and mountain bikes are available to rent through the Hotel.

On the second day we decided to leave Fuschl – as the racers will do on September 13 – for Thalgau. Just a few hundred meters away from the town center starts a surprisingly sharp climb, which rewards us with a glorious view of the lake. With cold legs and full stomachs (the selection was plentiful at the breakfast buffet, with a seemingly impossible variety of little rolls and pastries, eggs and bacon) we panted in our saddles through the last curve of the climb. Racers, be warned! It certainly cannot hurt to ride a few practice meters here before the competition.

What today has in store for us is in stark contrast to the previous day. A gentle and hilly landscape that is almost reminiscent of Upper Austria surrounds the lakes. This topographical variety, and training opportunities that come with it, is certainly one of the reasons why the enthusiastic amateur triathlete and hotelier Jakob Schmidlechner has been able to welcome triathletes and bicycle racers as enthusiastic regular guests in his hotel. The innumerable photos and autographs of Red Bull athletes who have stayed at the Mohrenwirt for meetings and training stays also attest to the quality offered by the 4-star establishment.

Mohrenwirt

The 4**** Hotel Mohrenwirt is located 300 m from the Fuschlsee in the town center of Fuschl, and has a long history. Established as early as 1846, the Schmidlechner family became proprietors of the Mohrenwirt in 1929. Owner Jakob Schmidlechner is now the third generation to bear that first name as well as to run the Mohrenwirt.

Since the hotelier discovered cycling and the triathlon, the hotel’s niche has become ever more athletic. With numerous cycling and hiking trails in the vicinity, and the Fuschlsee baths, in whose 25 m pool two lines are available free for hotel guests in the morning, there are numerous training opportunities to choose from. A generous video-monitored bike room, with Canyon rental and workshop, as well as an athlete’s breakfast buffet with muesli and protein shakes also make it clear that someone is thinking about the athletic clientèle. Those who elect the full athlete’s board and lodging package receive, in addition to the breakfast buffet with a high proportion of whole foods, an energy pack for on the road, an après-bike snack for the afternoon, and a 5-course evening meal with salad buffet.

For those who do not want to arrange their training themselves while on vacation, the Mohrenwirt also offers various camps. The selection ranges from bike racing to swimming and on to triathlon courses. And Jakob Schmidlechner also puts together special packages for various sporting events.

Here in the northern part of the region, the lakes are even more densely packed together. In the centre of our circuit is the Wallersee, beloved especially by sailors and wind- and kitesurfers. The water level has been deliberately lowered several times over the past few centuries in order to reclaim more land. This has resulted in a wide band of reeds and the up to five-meter-deep Wenger Moor, which today, as a nature preserve, is home to numerous rare water birds, fish, and, recently, even beavers. With water temperatures up to 25 ° C, it practically calls out for a swim break on sunny days.
Also nearby, specifically in Henndorf, is the animal paradise Gut Aiderbichl. From chimpanzees to raccoons, from llamas to highland cattle, different species live together in a great patchwork family.

Wallersee

Wallersee

13.11.15 22:02 1.762The Wallersee, which is beloved by sailing enthusiasts, is the largest body of water in the Salzburg Alpine foothills. It also has a rich flora and fauna due to the Wenger Marsh. Gut Aiderbichl is also very close.

Wallersee

13.11.15 22:02 Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarThe Wallersee, which is beloved by sailing enthusiasts, is the largest body of water in the Salzburg Alpine foothills. It also has a rich flora and fauna due to the Wenger Marsh. Gut Aiderbichl is also very close.

The Obertrumer, Mattsee and Grabensee are close together where the trail splits in Seeham. The latter two form the border to Upper Austria, which the riders on the A trail cross over to travel an extra loop. We take the B trail and wind between the channels connecting the lakes further through the Alpine foothills.

Obertrumer See
Grabensee
Mattsee

At the Neumarkt on Wallersee, massive stone pillars, tree stumps and rocks in the background of a large building on the edge of town pique our curiosity. A bustling man emerges as an artist, creating sculptures in all shapes and sizes, as can be seen by peeking in his garden. Johann Weyringer has travelled the world to gather inspiration for his paintings and sculptures as well as acquire techniques. Nowadays, his carpentry apprenticeship, his architecture degree and his painting melt into entire works of art.

The large pillars that drew us in, he explains, are ton-sized rollers from the paper industry. The marble-covered steel rollers were replaced by new, higher performing technologies and taken out of service. They took on a new life with Johann Weyringer, becoming monumental pillars in Roman style. He also left his mark indirectly in the sport of cycling. As he discovered our road bikes, he explains that he designed the jerseys for this bike race, the Eddy Merckx Classic.

Irrsee

Irrsee

13.11.15 22:02 1.762The Irrsee of Upper Austria is the warmest bathing lake in the Salzkammergut. According to legend, the lake, also known locally as the Zellersee, was formed in order to punish a ruthless chatelaine. One day the heavens opened up and the castle and church were soon submerged under water. When the water is calm, the building is said to be visible to this day …

Irrsee

13.11.15 22:02 Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarThe Irrsee of Upper Austria is the warmest bathing lake in the Salzkammergut. According to legend, the lake, also known locally as the Zellersee, was formed in order to punish a ruthless chatelaine. One day the heavens opened up and the castle and church were soon submerged under water. When the water is calm, the building is said to be visible to this day …

A few kilometers after our brief detour we leave the well-traveled road on which we have been since the trail split, and turn off into Sommerholz. Over picturesque little paths we ride on the back of the Henndorfer Wald from farm to farm. We coast down serpentines with good traction to the Upper Austrian Irrsee.

From here the race again follows alongside the federal highway on the eastern shore, but we stay on the other shore of the lake and follow bicycle paths nearing the Mondsee. Here the area again becomes wilder; the first abrupt cliffs mark the panorama. If you strain your eyes, you can nearly make out the mountaineers as they climb the Via Ferrata on the prominent Drachenwand in the distance, which juts on the southwest shore of the lake.

Mondsee

Mondsee

13.11.15 22:02 1.762The Mondsee was once joined with the Attersee and was home to the Mondsee Group. A massive rockslide separated the two lakes and annihilated the Mondsee Group 5000 years ago. Today their lake dwellings can be admired in the Museum of Lake Dwellings.

Mondsee

13.11.15 22:02 Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarThe Mondsee was once joined with the Attersee and was home to the Mondsee Group. A massive rockslide separated the two lakes and annihilated the Mondsee Group 5000 years ago. Today their lake dwellings can be admired in the Museum of Lake Dwellings.

Whether its impressive 11 km length and 1.5 km width nearly unbelievable, the Mondsee really is private property. The area was settled around 3500 B.C., where numerous finds of lake dwellings and ceramics point to the Mondsee Group. At that time the lake was much larger, as it was connected with the Attersee.

Krottensee

Krottensee

13.11.15 22:02 1.762Between the Mondsee and Wolfgangsee, Schloss Hüttenstein is set on the shore of the mystical Krottensee. At the bottom of the 46 m deep lake, which apparently served for centuries as the garbage dump for the castle lords, divers have found such things as a complete castle kitchen.

Krottensee

13.11.15 22:02 Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarBetween the Mondsee and Wolfgangsee, Schloss Hüttenstein is set on the shore of the mystical Krottensee. At the bottom of the 46 m deep lake, which apparently served for centuries as the garbage dump for the castle lords, divers have found such things as a complete castle kitchen.

Our route does not pass by the Attersee, rather we pass by the smaller Krottensee, which heralds the upcoming Wolfgangsee, where behind Saint Gilgen the last climb starts for us as well as for all three routes of the Eddy Merckx Classic.

Some 200hm and a few kilometers later we make ourselves comfortable on the terrace behind the Mohrenwirt. Electrolytes are replenished and an afternoon Kaiserschmarren disappears in a flash into our bellies before the multi-course evening meal.

Wolfgangsee

Wolfgangsee

13.11.15 22:02 1.762Near the Wolfgangsee, the hiker's paradise Postalm offers plenty of opportunities for extensive hiking. But its underwater offerings make it a desirable excursion destination among divers as well.

Wolfgangsee

13.11.15 22:02 Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarNear the Wolfgangsee, the hiker's paradise Postalm offers plenty of opportunities for extensive hiking. But its underwater offerings make it a desirable excursion destination among divers as well.

Hotel owner Jakob Schmidlechner joins us briefly and tells us about the Eddy Merckx Classic. There have been five races starting from Fuchsl on September 13, three for road bikers and two for handbikers. The 169 km (2,609hm) A-route and the 106 km (1,593 hm) B-route were reserved for road bikers. The 63 km (918hm) C-route was also open to handbikers. A separate 20 km circuit with 256hm was exclusively for handbikers.

The combination of wheelchair riders and Red Bull staff immediately around the starting point showed the results of collaboration with the Wings for Life foundation, which has been involved for several years in research to treat paraplegia.
Not only are they sponsoring hand bike races, they have also organized a VIP outing on the day before the race to benefit Wings for Life. For a donation of € 200.00, the first 150 to register enjoyed a ride with Eddy Merckx and a few Red Bull athletes--to warm up for the race, or just for fun. A t-shirt autographed by Eddy Merckx and multi-course meals were also included. The net proceeds went to Wings for Life.

Fuschlsee

There is much to discover around the Fuschlsee for children and their carers, as well as for cyclists. Whether at the Eddy Merckx Classic, or just as part of an active summer vacation for the whole family, monotony and boredom will be kept well at bay...