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Alpine cycling in the Kitzbüheler Alpen with superb views to the
Wilden Kaiser and the Kitzbüheler Horn
Your legs are heavy, your heart-rate monitor is beeping frenetically and your jersey is already completely drenched in sweat. Your destination is in sight. It was a long way from St. Johann in Tirol through the Raintal up to the Kitzbüheler Horn, steep in parts, where the panoramic view over the entire Kitzbüheler Alpen is a reward for all your efforts. Bike-Guide Kurt Exenberger didn’t fall short of his promise. The former national trainer to the Austrian mountain bike team and manager of the first mountain bike school in Austria, the Bike Academy in Kirchberg, knows the routes, paths and bike trails in the Kitzbüheler Alpen like the back of his hand. The sun terrace at the Horn ‘Gipfelhaus’ (summit house) is bustling with casual tourists taking photos and buying postcards. However the ‘Melange’ coffee and Apfelstrudel taste so much better when you have conquered the 1200 metres altitude not on a gondola but by your own muscle power. While their bodies recover from the efforts, satisfied cyclists’ gaze is drawn over Kitzbühel, the famous Hahnenkamm, the impressive Wilden Kaiser, the Hohe Salve and the Hohen Tauern which includes the Großglockner and Großvenediger.
Alternative programme for mountain bikers
Mountain bikers get to enjoy an invigorating alternative programme in the Kitzbüheler Alpen – powering along, toiling, and suffering during the day; enjoying, feasting and relaxing in the evening. During mountain biking nourishment comes mainly in the guise of isotonic drinks and muesli bars, while in the evening you get to really replenish your carbohydrate stores. Since many guesthouses use only the best ingredients from the region, the food tastes exceptionally good. At the end of the evening, and after especially demanding tours, you should treat yourself to a trip to one of ten Brixentaler KochArt businesses, or one of the 14 ‘Hauben’ awarded inns in the Kitzbüheler Alpen. A trip to the hotel's own wellness and spa area is also a perfect way to bring a wonderful and strenuous day in the saddle to a close. Superior massages and relaxing saunas help cyclists replenish their energy stores for the next day. 19 accommodation establishments of different categories have geared themselves to meet the needs of this target group and are able to call themselves bike specialists. Here too with us in the Stanglwirt you’ll find everything your cycling heart craves!
23 ‘black’ mountain bike routes
There are more than enough options here to earn your supper - 55 marked mountain bike routes with an overall length totalling more 500 kilometres, several hundred variants, numerous single trails and two bike parks await bike fans in the Kitzbüheler Alpen. It’s no coincidence that the Kitzbüheler Alpen was awarded the “Approved Bike Area 2010” seal of approval by Mountainbike Holidays in 2010. Anyone who cycles all 55 routes, covering a total of 32,300 metres altitude, would have cycled the equivalent of four times the altitude of Mount Everest. In the Kitzbüheler Alpen there are few rough gravel roads as you would find on Lake Garda, the routes run mostly on firm forest paths which have been laid for the timber industry. Thanks to the topography of the Kitzbüheler grass mountains the tours really are very varied. The first few metres altitude goes through shady forests and over lovely glades. Beyond the forested areas there are extended Alpine meadows, light larch forests and superb views. Eleven easy, ‘blue’ classified routes, 21 medium-difficult (‘red’) and 23 demanding (‘black’) tours are available at kitzalps.com/touren. All have detailed descriptions, detailed maps, altitude profiles and GPS tracks. In 2010 two new freeride routes will be opened in the Kitzbüheler Alpen. KitzAlpBike mountain bike map (scale 1:35.000), available for 3 Euro, provides a good overview of what is on offer, while “Mountainbike-Führer Kitzbüheler Alpen” published by Landkartenverlag provides detailed route outlines.
Austria’s biggest E-Bike region
Real mountain bikers categorically reject them, yet electric bikes, these so-called E-Bikes, have their plus points too. For older people, families, couples and groups. E-Bikes are assisted by a small, almost silent electric motor which assists pedalling and is particularly of help when your physical energies are no longer sufficient – for those inclines and toward the end of a tour. The Kitzbüheler Alpen are en route to becoming the biggest E-Bike region in Austria. The bikes are also available to hire here in the Stanglwirt in the sports shop!
The steepest mountain in Austria
A special challenge for racing cyclists is the 7.1 kilometres, 865 metres altitude route to the Kitzbüheler Horn. The road has an average 12.5% incline, and just before Alpenhaus it rises to an unbelievable 22 percent. Since the year 2000 the mountain stage ending on the Kitzbüheler Horn has been the highlight of the Tour of Austria. With the help of a simple timing system this year ambitious leisure cyclists get to gauge their times with the best times set by true professional cyclists. All 18 hairpin bends on this scenic road are numbered and are provided with exact altitude levels, and there is also a kilometre countdown to Alpenhaus. When you reach the top the superb panorama of the Kitzbüheler Alpen is well worth all that effort.