The route: 67km
- Continue east past Wildalpen on the Salzatalradweg/ R16 heading towards Gusswerk.
- At Gusswerk, head south on Road 20. (Prepare for a long climb about 10km down the road)
- In Au Bei Turnau, look for turnoff to the campground on your left, which is also the cycle route R13.
- Even if you are not camping here, you’d best follow the signs for camping because we didn’t see any other markers for the R13 until we were on it. It’s a good route and worth following.
A short day with lots of views and even more climbing
The riding was not too far but fairly tough on us with two killer hills, the last one long and steep. The beginning was incredible, along the Salzatal River with more fantastic rocky mountain vistas, twisting easily along water. Its not until you depart from the canyon that the climbing really starts. The first big climb of the day is still on Road 24 about 15km east of Wildalpen. Fortunately the meat of the climb is ‘only’ 3.5km long after which it eases off to a mild slope for the remaining ascent to the summit. Nicely placed at the top is a sweet little roadside spring and bench. A Perfect spot to re-fill your water bottles and take a breather.
The descent into Gusswerk is quick and smooth even if plagued with motorcyclists racing up and down the mountain. The town of Gusswerk is worth a visit for a few minutes. Check out the church in the middle of town and the charming buildings surrounding it.
“Rest my pretty’s rest…” Soon after leaving Gusswerk heading south on Road 20 the road takes an innocuous bend to the right then pitches up, up, up for about 10km. The total ascent is 1200m with the only truly painfully steep sections in the last 2 km. It is a climb that seems to go on forever. There are at least 3 false summits which mentally tortured us as we climbed. We began to doubt the top would ever come….trying to guess if the next switchback would reveal the summit only to be disappointed again and again. “Is that the top…?” “#@$%!!!”
After cycling up both climbs the Austrian countryside rewarded us with screaming downhill descents and sweeping mountain vistas.
Our time in Steiermark has me already longing to return to spend much more time touring in the Austrian Alps.
When we came to the camping spot, we were back in rolling hill countryside in Au Bei Turnau. We followed the markings off the main road to our left, which also ended up linking us back to the cycle route R13, unbeknownst to us until we spotted the signs. About a few kilometers off the road we came to Karl’s place. He was the proprietor of the campgrounds, aka Kamping Stubeler (see the Google map link at the top).
Nice views from the green lush valley, good showers and good Austrian beer make for a good night sleep. We took a bit of Austria with us with a small jar of locally produced honey.
Enjoy the slideshow