Day 6 - Toblach-Innsbruck
The very last one, and how did we start? Yup: perfect morning blue skies:
The last day took us over the legendary Glossglockner and up to the Edelweissspitze (what's in a name?). After 5 days of Alps Extreme though, our guests were all totally confident to tackle this last little challenge of a road:
And since this was our very last day, we thought we should do the final credits, just like in any great roadmovie. So here we go, this Alps Extreme was brought to you by (in completely random order of appearance) :
Rick, on the yowling Ducati Multistrudl:
Randy, on the red F 700 GS:
Jan and Jim, each on a silver grey F 700 GS:
Amy Jo and Timmy, also both on a silver F 700 GS, but this time only one:
Matt, the dark knight on the also very dark V-Strom 650:
Chris, on the R 1200 GS (well, and on a luge every now and then...) :
David, on a Ducati Monster (which he then traded for tour guide Manuel's Hyperstrada, considering Hyper sounds a lot more "Extreme!") :
And last but certainly not least: "the girls": Sandra and Susan, who rocked the Alps on their F 700 GS:
Oh, and before we forget: this Alps Extreme introduced a very special guest star. We will be hearing more from him in the future. His name is Brrrrruno! :
Thank you all for a fantastic tour. Hope to see you again on another Edelweiss tour! (except for Bruno, he will stay on Alps Extreme).
Bis zum nächsten Mal!
Day 5 - Levico Terme-Toblach
Don't ask us how we did it, but every single riding day on this tour started under a lovely morning sunshine:
On top of Passo di Manghen, tour guide Manuel finally got that Timmy-style leaning angle under control:
And while Rick was celebrating a super-ride up the Manghen...:
... the girls wrote a book:
Now a Honda Crosstourer is a pretty big lump of bike, but the landscapes in the Dolomites can make everything look tiny:
Pretty nice ride down the pass though...:
On top of Passo Duran, we stopped to see if we could buy anything there. But apparently (if our South-Tyrolean is not too rusty), everything was just sold out:
Onwards to Toblach then, our last overnight stay on this tour, and the one with the most spectacular bootbeer-view of them all. Ratsberg, we will remember you... :
Day 4 - rest day loop around Levico
No better place than Levico terme for a nice lay-in and a rest day around the lake and in the cosy little city centre. However, part of the group considered themselves way too "extreme" to rest, so they went out for a little loop on the bikes.
Turns out that little loops with Edelweiss start of with not so little challenges: the Kaiserjägerweg was up first, with some rather spectacular views:
We even spotted some local wildlife again, hiding in the bushes:
After we had put the wildlife back in its natural habitat (on the back of a growling Ducati) we set off to what was probably the most touristy (and maybe the most postcard-pretty) stop of the whole tour: Lake Garda!
Around the lake (well, partly, we're not THAT extreme) it went, and then up into the mountains again. After 40km with over 800 turns (most of them completely blind), even extreme bikers need a nice coffee break (well, without coffee, the weather weather being "italian hot") :
Everyone got back to Levico just in time to witness a very pretty sunset as we walked to our restaurant for the night:
And in that restaurant, our American guests finally found what they had been looking for these past few days: a serious, extreme-style, piece of steak! They could actually cook it themselves just the way they wanted to. Looks quite spectacular:
After dinner, time for one last riding tip for tomorrow, by a local instructor: always look well ahead into the corners:
Day 3 - Monte Penegal-Levico Terme
On day three, we head for our rest day destination, Levico Terme. But since we were still on top of that beautiful mountain, morning briefing was done with a view:
Now, Rainer, the Edelweiss CEO, always says to his tour guides that guests on our tours should have a dog's life. We always thougt that didn't sound like a very good thing, but since our first coffeestop this morning, we think we understand what he means by that expression:
While we were there, it seemed that Timmy had spotted a tree somewhere:
Wonderful place for a nice cup of cappucino tough, trees or no trees:
After that, the road surface and the tires on the bikes got so hot and grippy, that Timmy decided to go for maximum lean angle on the Passo Palade:
Tour guide Manuel tried it as well, but for the first time in his biking life, he needed help leaning over:
After all that sporty riding, it was time for a nice little lunch stop, and how better to do that than with some vintage Italian prosciutto?
Time for a rest in Levico Terme now, where temperatures are going off the scale. But that won't keep us from a nice ride to Lake Garda tomorrow. To be continued...
Day 2 - Fiss-Monte Penegal In the morning in Fiss, the weather forecast was very clear about what we would get for the rest of the day:
First coffee stop of the day was at the Passo Resia, crossing from Austria into Italy. Now Italy is always a nice place to be, but this time, it seemed, some Italian had left the tap open:
We decided that water was not really all that typically Italian, so we went a bit further to the little medieval town of Glorenza, and there things started to look really Italian all of a sudden:
But hang on, a cute little Vespa and ice cream? This tour is called Alps Extreme, right? Time to extreme things up a little, so we headed for the mother of all mountain passes: Stilfserjoch, or Passo di Stelvio. What an impressive sight it is, and it is with proud that we can say: all our guests made it up there without the slightest trouble. (Well, apart from a bit of adrenalin and raised heartbeats here and there Congratulations guys!
And after riding UP the Stelvio, the views on the way down were quite a reward as well! :
This being an Extreme tour, we figured that the Stelvio was not nearly enough for one day. So next up: Passo di Gavia. On the top we met some local wildlife:
And Randy was deciding whether or not pink was his colour... Don't worry, in the end he chose Italian Azzuro blue:
After that fashionable moment, it was time to head for our destination of the day: Monte Penegal, sitting right over the top of the Passo di Mendola. And you know it has been a good day's ride, when it ends with a view like this:
And that's exactly what Sandra and Susan thought:
After a wonderful dinner, Monte Penegal had a last little surprise in store for us. A goodnight-and-sleep-well-salute, Italian style:
Day 1 - Innsbruck-Fiss This morning in Innsbruck, a few roadmaps started to look very interesting. Morning briefing went over the last few safety tips, and we were ready for the first day's ride: from Innsbruck to Fiss.
First stop: Kühtai, for a wonderful cappucino, Austrian style
When we started off again, our guests were under close surveillance of the Austrian C(ow)IA:
As it turned out, the Igls bobsleigh course was closed because of construction works, so we decided to do our very own in Imst, Edelweiss-style. Who needs horsepower when you have gravity to get up to speed:
Having said that, maybe a little horsepower is welcome after all, and we used all we had on the afternoon highlight of day one: the Kaunertal Glacier Road: a toll road leading us up through one of the most beautiful valleys in Austria. First switchbacks were taken care of with ease, as a warmup to what awaits us on tomorrow's ride:
And you know it has been a great first riding day, when it ends with a view like this one:
Arrival day Hotel garages are rarely any fun, but there was one in Innsbruck today that looked very promising! Six F700GS, one V-Strom 650, one Monster 696, one R1200GS, one Multistrada 1200 and two very red tour guide bikes make up a very nice collection, all ready to start Alps Extreme on tuesday. First stop: Igls bobsleigh run. Watch this space!
Arrival day minus 1 Well here we are: both tour guides have got their bikes ready today. One rather heavy and big. One very sporty and lean. A bit like the tour guides themselves, actually, except they're not red. All we have to do now is get all the bikes for our guests over to Innsbruck, and we'll be ready to go. Looking forward to meeting all of you!