First checkpoint and some proper alpine impressions.
We got up after a short nap, helpful for me, for sure too short for Nico. We took some busy roads through the valley and made it to CP1 during breakfast hours. As we reached it after it was officially closed we bought some coffees and sent a picture of it and our caps to the tcr admins. Not sure why but we took a little recovery before getting into the Silvretta alpine road that led up to Biehlerhöhe.
NICO: We met other TCR riders. For the first time since our delayed start! For me it felt like we are back in the race.
This was a new climb to me, Nico managed to go there some weeks before with a friend of hers. It turned out to become a nice day, on this side of the mountains. A nice and smooth climb, not too steep and at this time of the day, the amount of cars was still manageable. We managed this climb in one go, took some scenic pictures and had another rest on top of Bielerhöhe. Very touristic, full of cars and ignorant motor bikers. It is getting more and more an issue for me, having to breath all the dirt from lazy car and motor bike riders that just do not stopp their engines when it is only about being showing off or letting run their ac. For me it is more and more a pain also during alpine climbs, it even makes me kind of aggressive when I am writing these lines.
After we did refuel ourselves with some Haribo, Tuc cracker and drinks we moved on. Descending to Galtür and Ischgl. As we needed to make a routing decision in Ischgl. Nico was tough, she stayed behind of me while descending even this was not her favorite at all but we had immense headwinds on this side of the mountains. The wind made you stop while getting down the mountain if you did not keep pedaling. We decided to have lunch in Ischgl and found a small and cosy bar that served some soups, which was just perfect. After that Nico took a good nap as she was a little exhausted from this windy descend. I checked my perfect route again which would have led us over the mountain top next to Ischgl, Idalp and later down to Compatsch on the Swiss side, from there we could have crossed Meran which would have been a beautiful dip into Italy. But looking at Nico and the burning sun that was shining on the mountain side that we would have had to climb, it was not realistic to make it up here without too much pain. After Nico got up again, it took a while until we came to this conclusion together, as she knew that I was in love with this particular climb.
NICO: That was a tough decision! Listening to my body it was obvious which option to take, but I knew that Max would love to go the Idalp route. For me the hardest part of our pair ride was the fact that Max was physically much stronger than me and I felt like he can´t enjoy himself with me slowing him down. We talked about this in advance, and he assured me that this is no issue for him, but my mind couldn´t wipe it away.
We decided to follow this busy road further down to the valley of river Inn, that finally led towards Innsbruck, the foot of climbing up to Brenner pass. It was windy and rough, all the time, no real fun. Routing seemed to be kind of senseless, left and right of the river climbing and descending randomly. We had to get through a quarry to follow our route, not sure how this may feel when all the huge machinery is in action. We had dinner at an awful Austrian petrol station with all the village youngsters that really needed to show off on a Friday night before getting to disco. We continued a little further and closer to Innsbruck. The idea was not to run through Innsbruck but to ride along the mountain line south of Innsbruck. So we finally took a night rest next to a chapel. We were in the middle of a climb but decided to stay here. We missed a more silent and even shelter a little further up in the woods. It only showed his face during the early hours of the next morning. I stored many shelters in our garmin maps but this one was a little surprise the next morning. So this was another more or less rough night, as we payed respect to the Friday night village boys situation in the suburbs of Innsbruck.
NICO: The good thing of our sleeping place was the fontain. Running water! That meant I could have a wash before I go to sleep. I admit that having a shower means a lot to me. Another hard part for me of this race were the poor washing options.
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