After the chaotic tour to Caldero al Lago we wanted to give it another try in the late summer of 2014. Again over a long weekend, but this time with proper planning.
We agreed on mountain biking Fichtel Mountains in the East of Germany very quickly: It was a similar travelling distance for both of us and the weather forecast was quite stable for the next weeks. Besides the area offers many different options for biking from diverse cross country tours all the way to downhill tracks. Perfect for testing Daniel´s new bike – Cube Reaction Carbon Hardtail (maybe not on the downhill track…).
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The main objective after our last experience was now: preparation! We found a detailed report in a bike magazine about mountain biking Fichtel Mountains and used two of the provided trips as a basis. Moreover we set up a Dropbox folder and created a common packing list.
Finding accommodations was pretty easy this time: We went for the Bullhead House, a guesthouse focused on bike tourists, located directly at the end of the freeride track at the foot of the Ochsenkopf Mountain.
Again, the only thing you cannot plan is the weather and the various forecast algorithms. Seven days before our weekend every forecast predicted a totally different weather. So what to do? Rely on the best forecast. It worked out!! 🙂
Best travelling time
Weather in Germany is often unpredictable. But if you are going there between May and September you will have a good chance for perfect mountain biking conditions.
As Dustin was travelling from Hamburg by car and Daniel decided to take the train from Stuttgart, we agreed to meet somewhere on the road near Bayreuth at night. Therefore, Daniel had to cycle at least 10 km with all of his luggage from the train station at midnight. Around 1:30 AM we found each other on the dark road and loaded Daniel´s bike and stuff into the car for the last 15 km.
The Bullhead House is a rustic building located at the foot of Ochsenkopf Mountain. The rooms were functional with cozy beds. Bathrooms and showers were located in the hallways – all you need for a biking weekend at reasonable pricing.
Besides the pension, they also had a restaurant, a bike shop with bike rental and workshop as well as a small training parkour with drops, curves and northshores.
At the Bullhead House we had a very hearty breakfast included in the half board. Again, we were allowed to take something for our day trips.
We did not need to worry about food, because we had our doggy bags and we were never far from towns or touristic areas in case we got hungry. Hence we ended up having an enormous Schnitzel (as long as our forearms) at the Bayreuther Haus at the top station of the Klausenlift on day two.
For dinner we stuck to the menu at the Bullhead House: Regional kitchen and yummy handmade mega burgers at a fair price!
Our first trip was a loop up and around the 1024 meters high Ochsenkopf Mountain. Uphills could be managed mostly on forest roads. Down the mountain we went on mountain bike trails with rocky and technical sections where we had to get off the bikes and push or even carry.
On our second day (Schnitzel day!) we biked eastward past the Fichtel Lake and turned south to the Bayreuther Haus back to Bullhead House. This trip was not as technical as on day one, still we reached our limits and arrived totally exhausted at the guesthouse.
What we learned
Ignore the bad weather forecasts if you find a better prediction. Okay maybe this is not really a trustable conclusion.
If someone with a full-face helmet, a downhill bike and body armor tells you (wearing only a cross country outfit) it is probably not the best idea to take the carbon hardtail down that track, he may be right. Anyhow if you reach the end of the 2.5 km freeride track before him, it is worth watching his face. Important detail: Don´t tell him you almost crashed two times and had to carry the bike over some sections. Just pretend you made it. Of course only if you survived!
Make sure to load the correct maps on your GPS. Read more about Dustin´s mishap here.
We chose the perfect accommodation with friendly and very flexible hosts and almost exclusively mountain biker guests.
240 kilometers of bike tracks including trails in almost every level of difficulty and a very bike friendly community: Have you ever experienced an elderly couple telling you about some secret trails in the forests you should definitely take your mountain bike? Well we have during mountain biking Fichtel Mountains.
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