Mountain biking around the Dachstein – Nothing for those with weak calf muscles!
I surfed around on the internet, and the first thing I found was the Salzkammergut Trophy. This is said to be the hardest mountain bike marathon in Austria. I then discovered the website www.biken.at. I realized I had found exactly what I had been looking for as I discovered the Dachsteinrunde (Dachstein Round) page. I eagerly read through the official route description and advice sections. I would now be able to realize my dream and complete a circular tour of the Dachstein. I would be passing through three Austrian federal states – Upper Austria, Styria and Salzburg.
Training for the Dachstein Round
There was a variety of special packages available, and so achieving my ambition was now within easy reach. Services on offer included luggage transfer, a laundry service in the hotels, and maps and route descriptions would be provided. GPS data for the route was easy to download, and I was soon on the phone motivating friends to accompany me on my mountain bike tour of the Salzkammergut.
In spring we began training for the Dachstein Round. We completed our first bike tours of the Salzkammergut to get ourselves back into peak condition after the long winter months, and to make sure we were fit enough for the challenge ahead.
Our first training routes included Bad Goisern and along the shores of Lake Hallstatt.
Our first big trip out was over the Whitsuntide weekend, together with an enthusiastic and experienced Salzkammergut mountain bike guide. We soon discovered that bike tours in the Dachstein area are nothing for those with weak calf muscles!
With all the correct equipment and having listened to advice we set off, as we later realized, much too quickly. Our first stop-off was the Hütteneckalm high mountain pasture with traditional wooden hut. The route up there seemed endless!
We enjoyed a hearty snack with ice-cold drinks and chocolate box views towards Lake Hallstatt and the Dachstein. I now understood what the guide had meant when he said it is important to pace yourself after the winter and build up your strength gradually.
A warm smile ...
We were welcomed at the bike hotel with a warm smile by the owner herself. She asked about our day, whether we were happy with our guide, and asked if there was anything we needed to service our bikes. She had E-bikes available to hire. A much less strenuous way of getting from A to B!
She could not have been more helpful. We asked her if she was a mountain biker herself, but her response was, “Unfortunately not. I don’t have the time, but I manage the Salzkammergut “Mountainbike Kompetenzzentrum”, and so I am really interested in feed-back from our guests.
We met our mountain bike guide again whilst enjoying our evening meal. He was sitting with another group, planning a tour for the next day. Our group began chatting with another like-minded group of cyclists, and soon we pushed our tables together. We soon forgot our tiredness and our aching calf muscles as we were engrossed in conversation and enjoying our game and fish food specialities.
Next day we all swapped details as we had decided, late the night before, to complete the Dachstein Round and many more mountain bike tours of the Salzkammergut together ……… but that is another story!