My original plan had been to ride to Heubach, traversing a steep incline I found on the German quaeldich pass database, and then figuring out the return route as I went. On the way to the incline I took a familiar way to the Rems valley and then started a gentle climb up on a rail trail. The little connecting path from rail trail to a lower road offered a rare 30% incline warning sign. However, I'm fairly sure that that was greatly exaggerated.
The way towards Bargau started climbing again and offered nice views of the mountains I would soon ascend.
The Himmelreich climb starts in Bargau, and with a length of 2.7km and 203m of elevation its quaeldich rating is at 3/5 toughness points. It certainly felt tough enough to me. My front derailer has some issues with getting onto the small ring, and at some point the was not low enough any more and I had to stop and manually shift onto the ring. Dripping with sweat I arrived at the intersection where I would have turned down towards Heubach. I saw, however, that I could also continue straight on a paved road with a grade no less relentless than the previous one. The pavement soon ended, and with the gravel came even steeper grades, maxing at somewhere between 25 and 30%!
|The steepest part, requiring a photo break.|
The high plateau of the Alb, the Albhochfläche, provided much needed recovery. I had planned to take the main road back down to Heubach, but it was closed due to construction. I knew that there was an alternative route on forest trails but didn't quite know how to find it. In the little village of Bartholomä I found a hiking map and a sign-posted route in the right direction.
As this was supposed to be a hiking trail I was a little concerned if I would actually be able to ride it all. In the end, though, it was mostly comfortable gravel trails through fields and forests with only a short section of grassy single trail—not a problem even for someone of my mediocre mountain biking skills.
In Heubach it was time for a longer stop, first at the Triumph factory outlet and then at a bakery. The two options I considered for the way back home were either to ride north and then take the new Leintal bike path to Welzheim or to climb the Alb again and continue towards Geislingen—the much longer option. Feeling adventurous, I opted for the latter. The first step was to climb back up the Rosenstein mountain.
|Ruins of Rosenstein Castle|
|Heubach from above|
|Bridge to the castle|
|Through the castle window|
|Former granary, now housing a “treasure chest museum&rdqou;|
|WMF 8000 S—starting at 13 500EUR...|
From Geislingen I followed the Fils valley downstream. The valley is densely populated and therefore the bike trail had lots of twists and turns. Fortunately, the signage was good, though, and I didn't get lost.
|Bath and wash house of the 19th century worker housing project in Kuchen|
|Tiger duck Club :-)|
|The elusive summit of the Hohenstaufen|
|View towards the Rems valley|