No breakfast in Austria‘s villages.
Waking up next to the river with an amazing scenery. Mountains on both sides of the river, mornings down in the valley and no clouds in the sky. On the one hand this was going to become an epic day, on the other hand it will be painful. Suffermode will be turned on, soon. First of all we need to find some breakfast and coffee. In Austria there was no chance at all to find some food on a Sunday morning. We we went on towards Tarvisio and stopped at the first petrol station. It was no wow but safe. A chilled petrol station was a perfect shelter in the morning hours. Some sandwiches, sweet doughs and coffees made us feel strong enough to tackle the parcours. On the way up to the starting point we stopped at a lakeside for another refreshing toe dip into the water.
NICO: This lake was too beautiful not to stop!
Soon after that stop the road towards the starting point turned away from the highly frequented bigger road. This road was smaller and initially the traffic was way less. There was no real shadow so the steep climb was painful from the beginning. Nico pedaled hard and was so happy that I still could offer some chilled coke‘s during the first two stopps. Then also my refreshing stocks had been consumed, only three bottles of water were left. They had to last for a good while, so I had to save them. At some point Nico realized cycling further up would cause too much damage so she got off the bike and shoes and pushed the bike up the hill! It had almost impossible to provide her with proper motivation, she just needed to relief her pressure and disappointment.
NICO: I was crying! That climb was steep, the edge oft he road narrow. The road was narrow, too. So the cars passing came close. Say hello to my fear of heights. Sweat and tears. That is the currency of TCR.
It took some more hours until we reached the starting point of the parcours. Unfortunately only then she realized that torture is far away from being over yet. After a rest on top, we descended into the parcours. Suddenly a serious trouble happened to my bike. My brake system with a conversion interface from mechanic to hydraulic braking refused operation. The pistons did not set back to zero position so the breaking force dropped to zero within a very short period of time. This descend was hell. Manually I moved to the pistons to zero, while descending. Not always the system accepted the zero point config. Nico was happy and for the first time in her life, she blasted down the hill on a road bike.
NICO: That was the best payback TCR gave to me. The joy of decending! Since I am a late starter in this sport I never felt comfortable on downhills. But since I paied such a high price for the uphills, I wanted it all back on the way down. I enjoyed it so much that I didn´t realize in which trouble Max had been!
I tried to manage my brakes. First serious failure could get equalized by an even parking space that helped me to slow down. I put everything back into zero position and continued, full of stress. Deciding not to go fast than 35kph, I set it as fastest speed to jump off the bike while descending and also realizing early that the brakes were failing. Nico stopped ahead of me and as soon as She saw me she headed on, no chance to talk to her. Two times I managed to break with my cleats, one time left the other time with the right one. As soon as we were down this descend I had to change my cleats after these two failures. The last time during this descend I jumped off the bike and managed to slow and stopp things by running along my bike on the grass and stopping it. This was my worst experience ever. How to give Nico the info but not letting it sound to dramatical? No clue, definitely I need some food, I was sure that also Nico was ready for some Pizza or Pasta. Soon we found a place, I was under pretty much tension so I needed to level down for having a good communication with Nico about her feelings and confidence for continuing the parcours. We sat down and had some decent Italian Pasta, Pizza and Panna Cotta. Then winds came up again and it looked as if a strong thunder storm was just about catching us. But no, while I changed my cleats (we carried three spares) the weather changed again and we moved on on we roads to checkpoint2. Again a two espressi, the bill and a picture sent out to the tcr admins as a proof. After this really short rest we tackled the last climb. It was less steep, traffic got less but the climb was endless endless endless. Definitely some more tears were dropped on this roads but we made it to the top, finally. Sun was about to set. I chased up to the little house to ask for some food. As I managed to explain that my wife was very tired on the bike, she accepted to offer some last food for the day. I raced down to Nico and she made it up to the house, I carried her bike up the stairs. The scenery outside was pretty unreal, but we made it to the finishing point of this parcours. It took us an entire day, but now there was some time for food and resting. After we ordered I asked the lady if there were some rooms available, as she said yes I could see how Nico was thinking hard about having a proper rest. To my honest surprise she rejected to stay up here but to descend the mountain top after dinner.
NICO: It was way too early to stop cycling!
After some hot chocolates, coke‘s and goulasch, we slowly prepared to descend in our sweat wet jersey‘s. The upcoming climb/ descend was nicely renovated, the switchbacks were paved with cobble stones, dangerous when wet. For us things were okay, and I managed to reset my brake system to zero during the descend for several times.
NICO: It was a nice decend in the dark. Very few cars, no stress.
We arrived in a ski resort/ village and climbed once more towards the border to Villach. We decided to spend the night right behind the border and had some good rest. Ahead of us was Farker Lake, very sure to find some good breakfast down there for at the next morning as this place was full of tourists. But first we spent the night up here, just behind an abandoned house under the extended roof.
NICO: Surrounded by nice ants. Outdoor life is always full of surprises!
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