3+ Hr MTB Ride Darmstadt, Gernsheim, Alsbach on July 12, 2008

Big Loop from Maritim Rhein-Main Hotel

Summary: Rode from my hotel in Darmstadt out to Gernsheim (same as I did 2 days ago), but then headed over to Alsbach and climbed the 7% incline to the castle, then followed the signs back to Darmstadt, getting lost several times.

I rode 3hrs 15mins and covered about 65Km. For the first hour of the ride (from Darmstadt to Gernsheim), there was a terrific headwind that kept my average speed at about 22kph.

I started, as usual, through the T-Mobile forest, as I call it. The trail is deep in the forest, as you can see from the following picture:

Forest trail near T-Mobile Allee

Forest trail near T-Mobile Allee

 Then, I headed due west, more or less, and headed out across mainly dead-flat agricultural fields. There were apple trees, lots of spargel (asparagus) which resembled a forest since they left them grow to seed, plenty of flowers, and one strange thing…it smelled like wild onions. There were several fields, planted in double rows that almost looked like long grass, but were some type of onion. A large machine came and “mowed” the field, sucking up the “onions” as it went along. There is a pic of this below:



I tried to find the Rhein river again, with no luck – again! So, then I started heading back to find the bike path to Alsbach, where the ancient castle on the mountain is located. Near the Gernsheim Bahnof (train station), I found some great blackberries – so, I stopped and ate a bunch of them!

Delicious Blackberries near Gernsheim Bahnhof

Delicious Blackberries near Gernsheim Bahnhof

Then, I headed south to Alsbach. It was just about 10km from Gernsheim, and there was a great trail alongside the road, so it was fairly easy.
Bike trail from Gernsheim to Alsbach

Bike trail from Gernsheim to Alsbach

I started pushing myself harder on the bike now, since I already had over 1hr of riding in and my legs were warmed up. Soon, I could see another beautiful castle – the Auerbacher Schloss (castle) on the top of a small mountain…Actually, I really thought this was the Alsbach Schloss, but a kind German told me that this was actually Auerbacher. [The next time I’m riding from Darmstadt, which will be in 2 weeks from now, I’ll go find Auerbacher!]

Alsbach Schloss on the hill

Alsbach Schloss on the hill

Alsbach is a beautiful town, as you can see from the following pic:
Cool building in outskirts of Alsbach

Cool building in village of Haehnlein

Finally, I hit the 7%, 2km climb fairly hard at the bottom, determined to climb fast to the Alsbach Schloss. There were 3 other MTBers just ahead of me. One of them just absolutely took off and accelerated away from all of us. I caught the other two, but one of those two decided to pick up the pace. He took off at a pace I couldn’t match, too. But, at least I kicked one guy’s butt as I climbed. I warmed up quite a bit, but my legs just never really felt that good on the climb. I worked it hard, and hurt, though. Here are some pics of the Alsbach Schloss:
Jeff (me) in front of Alsbach Schloss

Jeff (me) in front of Alsbach Schloss

Alsbach Schloss

Alsbach Schloss


After leaving Alsbach, I tried to find a “new” route back to Darmstadt. So, I followed a trail marked “R8” (not sure what that meant), that said it was about 17km back. I was not completely successful in following this trail, so I ended up in the serious forests and did one more big, but gentle climb. I did go through Seeheim, which is a beautiful little town, as you can see…
Old Building in Seeheim

Old Building in Seeheim

I had a great bike ride, and in the last 10 km, I really did some hard intervals. I am trying to make my legs and body feel some “race pace” and “race effort” so that when I get home in 1 week, I might be able to race and not get dropped in 2 seconds. I’m headed to Hochheim am Mein for a wine festival right now, and hope to get some pics and have fun there. It’s the home town of my client, Wolfgang, who heads up the Germany Mylan office.
Published in: on July 12, 2008 at 5:25 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Hi Jeff,

    just stumbled upon this entry by accident, and I must say, it´s pretty cool to see my home area described on an American blog (and with a bunch of nice pictures to boot!)! 🙂

    Perhaps two small corrections (you know how it is with us dour, humorless Germans – always sticklers for the fine and unimportant details… 😉 ):
    – The Picture with the description “Alsbach Schloss on the hill” is not actually showing the Alsbacher Schloss – that´s the Auerbacher Schloss, another castle two or three kilometers to the South (and, by the way, even more imposing and beautiful than the Alsbacher Schloss)
    – And the Picture just below shows a house in the village of Hähnlein, not in Alsbach proper (Hähnlein actually belongs to the municipality of Alsbach-Hähnlein, but – as if often the case with neighbouring towns – the Hähnleiners are somewhat touchy about being confused with Alsbachers, and vice versa…).

    Anyway: Nice blog, nice entry, nice pictures!
    Should you find yourself in this area again, you should perhaps consider taking a few tours into the Odenwald hills – admittetly a little more challenging for cyclists, but much more beautiful than the somewhat dull flatlands of the Ried.

    Best regards from Germany


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