[ blog » 2020 ]Ride: Hornisgrinde (by Philipp Gesang, location: the armchair)

Another bucket list item done: climbing the Hornisgrinde, highest point of the northern Black Forest. 2618 m elevation gain over 202 km, nine hours of fun.

At six in the morning it was still rather chilly when I left Tübingen, but temperatures were falling the closer I came to the mountains and by the time I reached Horb it got as low as six degrees. Cursing myself for not packing a jacket I trucked on to the first climb of the day, leaving the Neckar valley. Higher up in the hills the first rays of sunlight finally made it through and created some of the best riding weather I’ve had, not exceeding twenty degrees until later in the afternoon.

The actual Hornisgrinde climb started later, around 85 km into the ride, culminating at 1164 m altitude in an upland bog. There was little to no traffic until just below the summit. Switchback for switchback the narrow road followed the slopes covered in the pine forest that is typical for the region.

The view from the summit is spectacular.

As a bona fide tourist magnet the Hornisgrinde offers plenty of opportunities to refill bottles and replenish the glycogen stores. At the restaurant near the summit I had two bland tasting ice cream cones that combined yielded a meagre six hundred kcal; about 1.2 cent per kcal, frankly I felt a bit screwed over. No doubt I needed it considering I started out with too few supplies.

The descent was terrific as well. I picked the northern route because of its less steep profile and I got exactly what I hoped for, a long, relaxed downhill that didn’t cause unnecessary wear on the brake pads. 10/10 would ride again.

The ride home required some more climbing; I got to enjoy more of that famous Black Forest scenery until I left the mountains behind at Nagold. Of course, a day on the bike wouldn’t be perfect without hillbillies yelling at you from the inside of their tin cans, so my inner completist was rather satisfied with the universe when exactly that happened while I was passing through one of the villages in the area. Stay classy, rural Germany!


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