Heidelberg, the city located in the Rhine Neckar area, just an hour drive south of Frankfurt, is internationally known for its touristic attractions like the historic Castle and the scenic Old Town, but not so much for riding bicycles. Still the geography has a lot to offer, what we are definitely about to find out at the 3T Odenwald Odyssey
We arrive at the fahrstil Klubhaus, the three-dimensional extension of fahrstil, the German cycling culture print mag. After the mandatory pre-ride espresso, there is enough time to check out what the event’s partners have brought. Chatting with the nice folks from 3T, Cuore of Switzerland, Fizik and WTB enhances the anticipation for the ride, while Ingo from Wahoo sets us up with the demo units. The ride is gps-lead and not advertised as a race – let’s see how that goes.
With checking in, we receive our well equipped starter packages. All of the event’s partners threw in something handy or cool, like socks, spare tubes, mudguards, bottles, bars and a lot more. Leaving the fahrstil Klubhaus, we make our short way through the city, following the river Neckar, passing its meadows, where the locals spend their weekends sunbathing or playing beach-volleyball. After taking a left, we enter the climb up to Philosophers‘ Walk. The reward for this first ascend is a stunning view of the city including the world famous Castle.
Soon after we’re entering the woods as the ride continues uphill, over forrest roads and towards the Thingstätte upon Heiligenberg, an ancient open-air theatre from Germany’s darkest historical chapter. A flowing single track brings us closer to the final climb up to Weißer Stein, the first of two peaks today. So far and especially on the rocky last uphill section the WTB Byway 650Bx47 tire seems to be the perfect choice – lots of traction when needed, comfy and fast on gravel.
Now, we’re are truly heading into the depths of the Odenwald forrest. Large trees, lots of green and stunning views mix with fast rolling sections, little technical sections or paved ways, normally used for agricultural matters. We cross another valley, a rushing descent on tarmac is followed by a never-ending climb, and with roughly a third of the route in, the population density seems to be at its lowest. Therefore we pass through beautifully shaped landscapes. Even in this remote area the Wahoo Elemnt guides safely through the net of forrest and fire roads. At this point the track turns back and follows the valley of Eiterbach, one of the larger segments on pavement, provoking us literally to raise the pace.
At kilometer 39 we suddenly hit the food station, located at the exit of the village Heiligkreuzsteinach. The perfect time to refuel – with bananas, watermelon, cake and bars and gums from Chimpanzee Nutrition. Even though every rider follows his own pace, many of us meet again at the break, all with big smiles on their faces. Some hurry and go for a high average, others tend to stick around a little longer making the most of the nice weather.
We hit another climb deep in the woods, passing two wells with fresh spring water, and circle back to the river Neckar. From there we start to make our way up to the Königstuhl, Heideberg’s house climb. While the legs burn, the 3T Exploro takes that challenge with ease. Having a bike that handles climbing, descending, speed and technical sections so well, and doesn’t weigh a lot, is definitely a big plus for that kind of ride. We reach the top and a stunning view over the Rhine valley awaits. Another little fun loop with the last trail section leads into the rushing descent back to the fahrstil Klubhaus.
After 78 kilometers and roughly 1.500 meters of climbing we are done for the day. Luckily the 3T Odenwald Odyssey also includes a pasta buffet and drinks afterwards. We spend another couple hours hanging around, talking shop with other riders, new friends and tasting the Franzosi rosé, provide by Villa di Vino in Leimen, fahrstil’s wine shop of choice.
Check the full photo gallery here courstesy of Fahrstil and photographer Kay Tkatzik:
Check also the short video of the event, can’t wait for the 2019 edition!: