Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mountains + Lakes + Cow bells = Cycling in the Alps

If there are routes from the Giro d`Italia, Tour de France, Tour de Suisse, Tour de Romandie basically at your foot steps (or an hour train ride away) it was clear it would be only a matter of time that I start racing again here in Europe.

Having moved to Zurich seven weeks ago was a surprise. But an awesome surprise. Just looking at the riding possibilities it is like a cyclist playground. Last week I rode through the Black Forest in Germany, this weekend, I am heading to the famous climb to Chamonix, France. And next weekend I am staying in Bormio, Italia to ride the 21km climb (13mi) up the Stilfzer Joch....partly for fun and partly for training because all of a sudden weekends are filled up with races.

The Alps region has incredible and TOUGH races to offer. In fact every weekend if desired.

Last weekend`s 230km (142mi) Engadiner Radmarathon with 3,800m (12,500 ft) of racing was just the tip of the iceberg. On 23. August, there is a true climbing test: the famous 280km Alpenbrevet with an entire 7,000m (23,000ft) of climbing. Just a few days beforehand, the Swiss version of Race-Across-America (RAAM), the Tortour challenges the racers with 1000km through Switzerland.

Oh yea, and then there is a race in Mallorca in September and a training weekend at Alpe d`Huez.
With the very centric location, Switzerland not only offer national but international cycling experience: Whether you want to enjoy a crêpe two hours West in France or a home-made pizza two hours South in Italy or a Linzer Torte two hours East in Austria or Black Forest cake two hours North in the Black Forest, Germany. Destinations are infinite and the variety for cycling unbelievable.

I will be posting all my rides on twitter (@MonikaSattler) for those who are visiting the heart of Europe and need some riding routes.

Here are some pictures from some of my cycling tours and two amateur videos.

View from the train towards where we are heading

Arrival at the train station

On top of the Furka Pass

More Furka

In the distance: Grimsel Pass

Along the river back to the train station

The video is turned to the side but it`s the sound that counts.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

I love riding in Minnesota - 100mi Fulton Gran Fondo

I forgot about the pain.

I forgot about how loooooong 100 mi could feel.

I forgot about the wind!

But four months away from Minnesota did not make me forget how awesome its cycling community is. 

Today at the Fulton Gran Fondo I was able to be part of it again. There is this energy in the air; that anticipation to have fun that gets me excited to ride my bike. 

It’s easy to fit in. Only rule is to be nice. 
It doesn’t matter what kit you wear or how fast you ride. Enjoying the ride is the motto. 

The Minnesotan cycling community rocks! Thank you for a wonderful day!

Thanks to the Fulton Brewery for a great race! And huge thanks to Foundry for putting me on a great bike!

Only 156 hours to the Royal 162! Oh man, I cant wait to race gravel again!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Have I found the cycling paradise?

What can I say about Australia? "Wow” comes into mind. “Unreal”, “Heaven”….something along those lines.

Before I start writing an entire dissertation about my first impression about Brisbane, I will keep it in bullet points:

  • Holy cow! Everywhere mango trees (my favorite fruit) Delicious, juicy and for free! 
  • Weather! It is always T-Shirt or less weather. Rain? Well, let it rain, it is still so warm that it doesn’t matter if it is pouring.
  • Cycling scene – Overwhelming! If I would do every group ride in town, it might take me a year or two to do all of them. At 5:30am when I ride 20 minutes to a group ride meet up point, I see 10 other cycling groups on their rides, no kidding!
  • Every group ride ends in a café. And oh my god, they make amazing strong coffee!!!
  • The terrain is great here in Brisbane. Mostly undulating terrain... those short little 10-20 seconds pitches everywhere make every ride more or less to an interval training.
  • Scenery – love it. Very varied. You got the ocean with some beautiful beaches in riding distance, the river through the city, the subtropical vegetation and colorful fauna everywhere. In fact, this morning at breakfast, rainbow colored parrots argued over the nectar of a pink tree flower. Seeing kangaroos on a ride is not unusual either. 
  • Atmosphere – relaaaaaxed. The best indicator how relaxed a region is the time in the coffee shop after a group ride. I might have spent a solid 1.5-2 hours there. Of course, with a coffee shop and bakery on every corner combined with the amazing weather makes it hard to be stressed out.
Yep, I think I will stick around here for a while. J