Kühtai Rodeo

I’ve been cycling quite a bit this year, I still have my Alpen Brevet in a couple of weeks, but as a good trainings ride, I fancied doing the Kühtai Rodeo.

What is the Kühtai Rodeo? I hear you say, well there is a mountain near Innsbruck called Kühtai, it is about 2000m high with 1400m of climbing. There are 3 ways to the top, a bit like Mont Ventoux, and if you ride all three in one day, you’ve done the Kühtai Rodeo.

It’s 120km long with an impressive 4300m of climbing. It was a long weekend in Bayern for Maria Himmelfahrt, so on Monday I drove to Innsbruck, only to realise that I had left my front wheel at home!

So off I went again on Tuesday morning, it was going to be hot so I set off at 6:30am to arrive at 8am. The first climb is 23.6km long with a total of 1419m of climbing. It started off pretty easily, but after about 10km, there was a kick of 1km with 129m climbing, including a flatter bit at the end.

Otherwise it was all doable, not too bad, but quite inconsistant gradients.

I got to the top and took the first photo of the day, I took one with a finger up, and one without incase I bailed later in the day!

After the photo, I rolled straight down to start the 2nd climb, the one I was worried about, the one going over Haimlinger Berg. The descent seemed to take ages, and included a 1.5km climb, but soon I could see the valley floor and I got to the roundabout, did a 360° and started the 2nd ascent.

I realised later that I hadn’t even drunk 1 bottle on the first ascent and hadn’t eaten anything, a bit stupid. So up Haimlinger Berg I went, it is 9.6km at 10.4%, serious stuff, but a quite consistent gradient and in the shade, before the heat of the day. After 1h I was done on Haimlinger and hit the short 1.5km descent and stopped at a fountain to fill my bottles.

There is a longer tunnel and it felt like hard work, then it went on for a while longer after at about 14%, it felt really tough. After it flattened out a bit, I saw that I still had 250m more to climb, it seemed to go by quite quickly, even though it was in steps, alternating between steep or fairly flat, before I got to the top for ascent number 2.

I rolled back down to the fountain to fill up again and ate a little, then I quickly rolled down to Ötz to start the final ascent, I was feeling pretty decent, but it started getting hot and there wasn’t much shade. As soon as I started climbing, I could feel that it was going to be tough, I was suffering and had been too late starting my nutrition. I was throwing everything I could down to get liquid and energy in, but my watts were dropping.

There was a time when I was struggling at 200w but much sooner than I expected, I was back at my favourite fountain where I could fill up my bottles and put my head under cold water to cool down. It also suddenly cooled a lot and even started raining for a while. I had already ridden the rest of the climb on ascent 2, so knew what to expect. The 14% part was tough, but I was feeling a bit better and soon I was within striking distance of the summit.

When I got to the top, I was really happy that it was down, it was ‘only’ 4300m of climbing, not the 7000m that await me in a few weeks, but it was hard work anyway, with much more climbing per km than the course will have in Switzerland.

After a donkey came up to me for a stroke, I headed down to where I parked, happy with a job well done. Unfortunately the 90 min journey in the morning took about 3h in the afternoon, as it was the end of a long weekend and it started pissing down as I got back to Germany, so everyone decided to head home at the same time!

I think I would do the Kühtai rodeo again, but I’d probably try a few other mountains around before that. Doing the climb once was nice, tough but doable. I guess I may do the Imster radmarathon some time, which goes up Haimlinger Berg (when it’s passable in May), so I guess that it when I will be back.

Next up – Swiss Alpenbrevet aka what was I thinking!