Day 4 (18/08/2014): Zell am See-Hopfgarten i. Defereggental (119km/2,800m ascent/2 passes/drank 6.0 litres)

passes climbed:
Großglockner high alpine road (2,505m); Iselsbergpass (1,204m)

towns passed:
Bruck an der Großglocknerstraße; Heiligenblut; Winklern; Lienz; Huben; Hopfgarten im Defereggental

In retrospect, my fourth day on the bike was destined to be a good one. During my – not particularly coordinated – training months (i.e. no planned training scheme or similar) for my Vienna-Nice adventure, the only actual plan was to do a 420km-ride across Großglockner High Alpine Road in a single weekend – and if I managed that without greater troubles, I’d dare do go on my Transalp. This “deciding” tour took place on the weekend of the football World Cup final. Well, and two things are well-known: the final was very successful for us Germans, and I’ve gone on my journey.


With these two successes, I now was back at Großglockner High Alpine Road, motivated by great memories. And again, I could hardly have wished for a better day: sun was out, clear sky, 12-20 degrees, and on great distances of the uphill section no wind.

on my way up on a very sunny day with Austria’s highest mountain in the background

The big difference compared to my tour in July was the significantly higher number of cars. Even if I don’t really mind all the traffic next to me, one could only summarise this as extremely busy. There was even a traffic jam at ‘Fuscher Törl’, the first of the two high points of the road.

that’s where I came from

But it all was forgotten on my way down from ‘Hochtor’ (the other high point – and with 2,504m my fifth or sixth highest point of the tour [depending on how I feel and will or will not include Passo dello Stelvio – which would be a detour by simply going up and down the same route on my way to Umbrail pass])… so, this was a very long parenthesis… well, all the traffic was forgotten on my way down as no cars or coaches were slowing me down. Quite impressive to see that 95% of the tourists seem to focus on the Salzburg side of the pass rather than the Carinthian one (after the junction to ‘Franz-Josef-Höhe’).

I’ve clearly reached the real high pass roads on day number 4

The rest of the day was another little pass, fighting against strong headwind but then also benefitting from strong tailwind, and then having arrived in the Defereggen Valley, a place where I’ve never been before. Seems to be a lot less overcrowded by tourists – nice!

Last but not least: I think, I’ll have to study the extensions of the Austrian ‘Bundesländer’ (provinces) a bit more in detail: it came as a complete surprise to me on top of Iselsbergpass that I was entering Tyrol. I was 100% convinced that I wouldn’t leave Carinthia anymore before I cross the border to Italy. Clear lack of knowledge of how far east Eastern Tyrol stretches out.

Anyway, the only thing I know for sure is that I’ll cross into South Tyrol on my next leg – and most likely in rain…
(The rest day is postponed for now, by the way.)

1,517km/33,400m ascent/27 passes to go!

accurate route details (incl. GPS track):
Vienna-Nice Transalp – day 4 (Zell am See-Hopfgarten i.D.)
Start date/time: Mon, 18 Aug 2014 8:33, distance (km): 118.99, elevation (ascent in m): 2,734

all photos of the day:

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