Electro-drive Gaisberg Route

The official Radf├╝hrer Tour of Salzburg is obviously not complete without scaling Salzburg's #bikefamous city-mountain the Gaisberg (think Mt Ventoux, but smaller). So, we invited Becky again to join us on another festive adventure and to our surprise she agreed to come. Continuing our theme of making no sense at all the second stage of our Festive500 adventure was climbing the 1288m high hill, while only covering around 40km the entire ride, not really adding much to the progress of the 500km goal. On top of that not only was the whole city covered in fresh white snow, but the snow also started to really pick up after we started our adventure at 9am. This time however we had a pancake breakfast with extra vintage syrup, which John's girlfriend Brigitte prepared lovingly.

So really, what could go wrong?

After a quick pedal through Linzergasse we picked the main-road route up Gaisberg because it was the only one that was plowed. It also provided fairly gently gradients which everyone appreciated after our last ride. We made good progress and even had an impromptu glamour shoot with John and Becky. We had quite some fun while slowly approaching the cloudline. The heavy fog replaced the ever steady snow while keeping visibility to a minimum. The surreal feeling of being surrounded by the trees in an ever-gray backdrop forever got a bit diminished by the heavy flow of traffic going up the dead-end mountain road in the middle of a snowstorm. Schnitzel business must be lucrative on the Gaisberg and we contemplated a career as Schnitzel cooks while we reached the Zistlalm.

The Zistlalm is a crucial point, at about the 1000m in the climb, because the gradients double to about 16% until the summit. We even debated not going to the top because visibility was zero and our cleats were freezing up at every oppertunity. Also, there is nearly always wind blasting over the top and its basically just a parking lot with an antenna, however continuing our theme of pointlessness we went on. Smiles turned to frowns, but then back to smiles as we started to sing the pain away. Half-deaf but pretty happy we reached the top, considered a side for CycloRutsching (sledding down a hill with a bike shouldered, Boban even brought bags stuffed in the front of his jersey to sit on!), and took a few pictures. Within a minute or so however the wind chilled us all to the bone, we replaced all plans with just getting coffee at Zistlalm and warm up.


While the John and Becky quickly dressed for the descent Boban had issues putting on his gloves, having lost all feeling in his fingertips he just couldn't thread the fingers. We even had an awkward group assisted attempt to get them fitted. On top of that on the first corner Boban discovered his breaks had frozen up completely and ended up emergency breaking with his feet. Like a true savage Boban accepted his fate and sent the others off to find a table at the cafe, while he did the the walk of shame down. It didnt take much to convince them to leave and after some ridicule they were on their way. After a mix of walking and sliding down breaking with his feet Boban finally joined the "team" who already were warming up at a cozy fireplace.

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After enjoying the best strudel ever and Boban stealing John's cappuccino we decided to head down. Meanwhile to our surprise the clouds had cleared up totally and during the 30 minutes (50 for John and Becky) we spent in the Alm the whole mountain was exposed to the sun. We enjoyed some incredible views before parting ways with Becky and then treating ourselves to some Salzburger Brezen on the last day of the Christmas market.