[ blog » 2023 ]Italy and back ( by Philipp Gesang, location: the armchair)

Munich is really close to Italy, it’s just about 120 km from its southern outskirts to the Brenner pass. Naturally, that gives rise to the challenge of closing that distance on a bike. The route is fairly straightforward too, one only has to choose a road around the Karwendel mountains, head for Innsbruck and then up the pass.

Because it would be boring to ride the same roads twice I chose to do both the east and west roads in that order. I started with the Achensee pass because by now I could find that route blindfolded, and returned via Seefeld to spice up the afternoon. They combine nicely into an adequately challenging route of just over 350 km and 3100 m altitude gain.

Thanks to an early start I hit my goal of arriving at the top of the Brenner at noon, but the return trip was plagued by unscheduled delays. First I got stuck in an endless traffic jam in the final meters of the descent down into Innsbruck. Then I had to suffer the consequences of a serious planning mistake: For some reason unbeknownst to me Brouter sent me off the main road onto a dirt track with gradients of up to – I am not exaggerating! – 19 %. Since on that surface my rear wheel found no traction this meant six kilometers that I spent mainly walking, pushing the bike uphill in the 30 °C heat. Again my choice of CX style shoes and SPD cleats over a road setup was vindicated, but that alone is little satisfaction when you get blisters from that tough hike.

Mostly due to these complications I ended up taking two hours longer than planned, but with surprisingly fresh legs near the end. In retrospect it wasn’t the most fun route with lots of busy roads and mediocre climbs. Having established that it’s only a day trip on the bike to Italy and back, I’m unlikely to do that ride again.

gps tracks

[view GPS data in mapbox]


gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail gallery image thumbnail