Stage 1: Hopfgarten - Brixen im Thale
With just the essentials for the journey in your rucksack, suitcases and bags travel ahead to the next stage destination of Brixen free of cost and effort thanks to the all-inclusive KAT Bike Package. Roughly 46 kilometres and 1,650 vertical metres are easier to ride when only light everyday luggage tugs at your shoulders. In addition to the option classified as medium difficulty, there would also be an easy option with half a mountain less (36 km/1,050 vertical metres). But you want to see a little more of the landscape, don't you?
On little used side roads up to the sunny plateau of the Penningberg, the first few kilometres can be travelled comfortably on asphalt (Route 229). At the end of the valley, right at the bottom, the ground finally changes to gravel. Far away from the black tar, the whirring of the coarse-treaded tyres stops. You smell the damp forest, you leave civilisation far behind you. All alone, sometimes deep in the coniferous forest, sometimes with wonderful views of the surrounding alpine pastures and gentle peaks, you continue your ride towards Haag Alpe. Shortly before the alpine pasture, a resourceful farmer has planted a particularly cosy sunny spot in front of his stable. Trusting in the honesty of the hikers, beer, shandies and Almdudler wait well chilled in the rustic water trough - the small slit on the stable wall is happy to receive monetary compensation in return.
Later on in the journey, the forest road quickly cancels out the laboriously worked up vertical metres as it winds down into the Kelchsau. Here it is worth making a detour to the Fuchswirt village inn before the next, no less lonely ascent to the Glantererkogel challenges your legs again (Route 227, 228).
A small sign announces a "push route", when suddenly the forest road uphill unexpectedly turns into a steep path. Not two minutes later you are back on solid ground. Now it is only a short counter climb to the descent into the Windautal (Route 206) and the gastronomic delights it has to offer. Käsealm Straubing is the name of the regional secret tip (Route 207). Homemade cheese, home-produced bacon and freshly baked bread and the odd local delicacy awaits the hungry biker.
Along the Windautaler Ache and finally in the undulating ups and downs of freight roads, Westendorf and, further on, today's stage destination of Brixen im Thale are quickly reached.
Easier option: Stay on Route 227 and do NOT turn onto 228. Route 227 joins Brixentaler Valley cycle path No. 21 via Westendorf to Brixen im Thale.