The Kitzbüheler Horn is the steepest cycling mountain in Austria. For almost 40 years, cyclists have been competing here on a consistently steep route that doesn't allow for a breather. The steepest part measures 22.3 percent incline. In this blog post you will learn everything about cycling on the Kitzbüheler Horn.
Kitzbüheler Horn is the most challenging bike mountain in Austria
It is already a racing bike torture to drive up this mountain. That's what Dirk and Jürgen think when they pass the tollbooth on a day with bright sunshine (cyclists, runners and hikers are free) and set off. On 18 hairpin bends there is a total of 7.1 kilometers and 876 meters of altitude to conquer. This is only something for trained road cyclists.
Record holder drove up the Kitzbüheler Horn in 28 minutes
The mountain became truly legendary in the years 1971 to 1995. The international mountain bike race "Grand Mountain Prize of Europe" here on the Horn was considered the most difficult and toughest mountain test in Europe at that time. The Kitzbühel Horn is therefore still often referred to as the "Alpe d'Huez" of Austria. Since 2000, a stage of the Tour of Austria has also led up here. Since then, the mountain finish at the Alpenhaus, located at an altitude of 1,670 meters, has been regarded as the king's stage of the Tour. World champions and Tour de France heroes such as Cadel Evans, Georg Totschnig and Riccardo Ricco have already signed the eternal list of winners on the Horn. However, the record of 28 minutes and 24 seconds from 2007 is held by the Austrian professional cyclist Thomas Rohregger.
Dirk and Jürgen have meanwhile left the first two kilometers of asphalt behind them and passed the tollbooth. Their jerseys have been open since the first bend, drops of sweat running down them. "Half of it is done," Dirk presses out. "But the harder half is still ahead of us," Jürgen answers back strained. The two don't want to waste any more energy on conversation. One thing becomes clear very quickly: it's not the rider who dictates the pace here, but the mountain. It is one gigantic climb. There is not one chance to rest, not one meter without an incline. Not even in the hairpin bends, as is often the case on mountain roads. And indeed, soon the two of them reach the horror bend, namely the one with 22.3 percent gradient. At this point of the mountain, no one can get past the cradle pedal. For the two athletes, the sign is more motivation than demoralization. Once you have mastered this gradient, the mountain is "almost done". The last 750 meters then stretch at a "relaxing" 12 percent up the last switchbacks to the Alpenhaus. An ascent time between 40 and 50 minutes for hobby racing cyclists is considered very good.
After a leisurely stop and a wheat beer, Dirk and Jürgen set off in the direction of home, including spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Lying in the valley, you can see Kitzbühel, the Hahnenkamm and the majestic structure of the Wilder Kaiser. A magnificent sight!
But the downhill ride should also be enjoyed with caution. Especially on such steep stretches as the Horn, a weakening brake can be really dangerous. Therefore, anyone who does not call hydraulic disc brakes their own should quietly take two or three small breaks on the descent. There are always seating opportunities with bombastic views on the way back to the valley.
The article was first published in Cycle Stories. We are kindly allowed to publish excerpts of the ride report including photos here. More information can be found here: www.rosebikes.de