Bicycle trip from Monaco to Salzburg

Radtour Monaco SalzburgFrom 19 to 31 July 2003, I did a bicycle trip from Monaco to Salzburg in Austria together with Carsten, a friend of mine.

In the course of twelve days, we covered a total distance of 1,535.4 kilometres. But it was not the sheer distance which is worth to be noted. Instead, we’ve chosen an itinerary covering as many cols as possible in the Alps. Partly, we even drove on roads which had been used by the Tour de France competitors between 5 and 27 July 2003, just days before we’ve been there so you could still feel the competitive atmosphere, with slogans painted on the roads etc.

In this section, you can download a detailed pdf document providing information about the daily legs, the itinerary and the distances, calculated by a GPS system. Additionally, a column has been added that includes comprehensive information about our performances on each day. The respective altitudes, our average speed, the duration of each leg, the heart rate and the consumption of calories have been calculated courtesy of a device from „Polar“.

At nearly 150 beats per minute, my heart rate was far too high in the early days of the trip. Bearing in mind we had to pass no fewer than 26 cols, this was a setback early on as the fear sprung to our minds that we might never do it in time. On the second day already, we passed the Col de la Bonette which is one of the highest accessible cols at all at 2806 metres.

Adding the respective altitudes of the cols, we surmounted a total of 29,080 metres. On average, we’d been cycling between 9.30 am and 6.00 pm every day including a few rests. Sometimes, we arrived only at 8.00 or 9.00 pm, having passed single uphill sections of 30 or 40 kilometres or more.

Initially, I’d been using up 7,000 calories or more per day, but then things levelled off at some 5,000 calories per day.

We were not even spared two accidents. Once, I made a mistake when braking so I rolled. It ended up with a torn ligament in my shoulder, whilst Carsten also crashed and suffered some grazes.

Throughout our event, we received medical aid by the Sportklinik Bad Nauheim, a specialist clinic for orthopaedics, traumatology and cardiology.

Whilst the Trek 5500 bicycle is simply the best cycle I can imagine, I should have opted for a different technical feature. With hindsight, a triple chainring instead of the double one I had chosen would have been better, offering a greater variety of gearing in the mountains.

Beyond all these hard facts, the most fascinating aspect of our trip certainly was the picturesque panorama of the Alps. We particularly enjoyed it as a ride on a bike is rather slow compared to any motor vehicle.

Looking ahead, it was not only a perfect exercise in a time when there is hardly any racing on my schedule. I would definitely like to repeat a bike tour, albeit not the same one. Instead, I would like to do another tour in the Alps on gravel roads with a mountain bike. Perhaps there is a chance of doing it in 2004.