Five tips to make travelling your lifestyle

In the last 10 years, I have lived on three continents, five countries and about 30+ places. Some of them weren’t longer than a month, one lasted for an entire six months. It was almost worth noting down the address. I truly love travelling, moving around and meeting new people and cultures. I am not afraid of moving to a new continent without knowing a soul, the language or the culture. In fact, I thrive on the excitement of experiencing new adventures.

Rather than travelling, I call it moving because I do immerse myself into my surroundings, in fact that is a must for me. I don’t like to be a tourist and prefer to stay where the locals live and do what the locals do as told here.

Although moving to an unknown places seems scary at first, there are ways to make this an amazing adventure. Here are few tips:

  1. To make moving easy, I own just enough stuff that I truly need, nothing more. Despite being an absolute bike addict, I only have one bike. Carrying extras of anything makes me feel weighed down. The adventures I am experiencing discredit any materialistic belongings. Stuff weighs me down. Experiences lift me up.
  2. Be happy with yourself alone. Don’t be afraid to be alone in a new country where you don’t speak the language or understand the culture. Yes, it seems at first overwhelming and scary but exactly those intense emotions you will never forget and appreciate even more because they make you feel alive.
  3. Smiling opens doors. There is no better way to communicate. Enough said.
  4. Be proactive. Moving into a new country but then hanging out in front of the TV is not worth the effort. Get out with or without a plan. You learn so much from looking around.
  5. There is no better strategy to learn than observing. Find out why the locals do certain things. How they behave. How they interact. What is different than what you are used to and why could that possibly be?

Travelling is an enriching and rewarding experience. Just buy a plane or train ticket and get out! With or without plan.

Because life is a journey!


The RADventure with Cyclingtips – the online cycling magazine

I am heading soon off to Europe. So it is time to say goodbye.

During my time in Melbourne, I met incredible people including the Cyclingtips Team. Not only are they friendly, approachable and welcoming, they have the same thirst for adventure as I do.
So it was destined that our paths would cross….lucky me….on multiple occasions:

1. Roadtripping the Victorian High Country

First, I had the amazing opportunity to be part of the Victorian Alps Roadtrip. It was fascinating to see how different scenes make up a video. Here is my blog post from last year.

What a time! We were discovering the less travelled paths in the Victorian Alps.

2. Contributor

I love writing, especially if it is about cycling tips or inspirational pieces. There is so much to say so I was stoked to get the unique opportunity to have my articles published on Cyclingtips.

Below is one of them. Find more at https://cyclingtips.com/tag/monika-sattler/

http://cyclingtips.com/2016/03/avoid-hitting-the-wall-ways-to-improve-your-pacing/

3. Ambassador

Most importantly, I was lucky to be part of a great group of ladies who give other women the opportunity to ride bikes – whether through group rides, clinics or as a point of contact for questions. Thank you Al, Chloe, Clarissa and Nic for being awesome!

Click below for view gallery.

 

 

Big thanks to Wade, Andy, Simone, Anne Marije, Leigh, Jonathan and the Cyclingtips team for a fantastic time!

Thanks to the ambassadors Clarissa, Al, Chloe and Nic for your inspiration, motivation and team work!

Let me know when you are in Europe!

 


How to burn your energy during the Three Peaks Challenge – Falls Creek

Three Peaks Challenge. 235km. 4000m of elevation. In under 13 hours.

The numbers themselves suggest a tough cycling event but what happens at the 200km mark is what makes this ride really tough: The WTF corner.

Yep, WTF is the official name of the corner at kilometer 200 of this cycling challenge. Why?  Because a nice flat road goes straight into a double-digit gradient that remains that way for the following 12 km.

It drags on. It hurts. It is mentally devastating. And you are not alone!

During the event, carnage is lined up at the side of the road.

Exhaustion. Hot feet. Cramps. Dehydration, You name it.

But is this Falls Creek climb really that tough though?

No question, it is definitely during the Three Peaks Challenge while riding faster and harder than usual.

But how about on a training ride?

I was able to find out last weekend when I  rode the Three Peaks Challenge course with the only difference being the start at Bright instead of Falls Creek. That meant I faced this infamous climb at 153km instead of 200km.

With two extended breaks and less kilometers in my legs, I would get to Falls Creek with fresher legs than during the Three Peaks Challenge in March.

So, the climb must have felt a lot easier, right?

The first kilometer, although steep, seemed ok. I thought, oh wow, maybe Falls Creek is not as bad as I remembered.

But soon enough, I realized how relentless and steep the climb actually was. No, it is truly a tough climb, no matter how I rode it.

This climb is the make or break of the Three Peaks Challenge and thus a pivotal point for the riders’ strategy.

So how much energy do you want to reserve throughout the challenge to survive the last 35km?

If you were a car and you had to use your fuel efficiently for the Three Peaks Challenge, these are my suggestions how to use it (from 100% to 0%):

  1. Descent of Falls Creek: Full tank. Let it roll. Little pressure.
  2. Tawonga Gap: Moderate pace up the climb to get the legs warmed up, Fuel level: 90%,
  3. Flat stretch to Harrietville: If you find yourself in a group with a comfortable pace, great, if not, go your own pace. Conserving energy is priority. With 80% fuel level, you don’t feel any exhaustion.
  4. Mt Hotham: You will burn quite a bit of energy, by now you have used half of your energy level , especially the steep parts of the MEG and CRB hill will drain some energy. Ride a moderate and energy-efficient pace in the other parts of the climb.
  5. To Omeo: Being mainly a downhill section, you don’t have to waste a lot of energy. Take the bumps easy. Fuel: 45%
  6. To Anglers Rest: With a small climb and a fast road to Anglers Rest, try to conserve as much energy as possible while taking advantage of the fast road. 35% fuel.
  7. Falls Creek: You have 35% fuel left in the tank. You definitely feel the past 200 km in your legs but you are mentally and physically ready for the toughest part of the course: Falls Creek. Now you can blow out any remaining energy. But don’t try too hard. The climb will take it anyway.

More on pacing strategy has been published here.

The Three Peaks Challenge is not only a well-organized and exciting cycling event – the course makes it spectacular and one to remember. With its ever-changing scenery and panoramic views, it is an interesting and exciting event. But the strategy and toughness of this course makes it so special.


How to make a 300km gravel ride even tougher – 8 flats and 2 bikes at Jam for Jamieson

A 300km ride by itself is a big day out. Throw in 7500m of vertical gain and that all on gravel, it promises an epic ride.

It would have been a tough day out.

But it wasnt supposed to be.

It would be a lot tougher than that.

So what happened?

It all started at 2:30am waking up for the ride.

The start was at 4am with 12 other riders doing the 300km ride. Lights were required because we were in a very remote area. No street lamps. Nothing that could lit up the way. Only 13 lonely headlamps.

Not even 10km into the ride, I got a flat. It was still on paved road before we would hit the gravel.
Ben and Owen were so nice to stop with me. We fixed the flat.
I brought three tubes with me. With two more tubes left I wasnt worried.
img_20161203_045313

Dark. First flat 10km into the ride.

We hit the gravel. The sun started rising. The weather was excellent. It promised a great day on a bike riding in remote Victoria.
No cars. No traffic. No civilization besides the odd camping ground.
img_5136

All gravel.

While Ben and I discussed world problems, the time and kilometers flew by.

We hit the first checkpoint just before 8am. 70km into the ride. It took us four hours. I forgot how much gravel slowed one down. A bit of calculations and I realized it would be a long, long day on the bike.
img_3758

Thompson Dam. Beautiful part of the country.

At some point, I found myself riding on my own. I tried to catch up with the group ahead of me. I caught them at the next checkpoint – Woodspoint – 120km into the ride. Five minutes later I was back on the bike with the group.
With the last 40km on my own, I was glad riding in a group again.

While heavily engaged in conversation, I got my second flat. On a downhill. On gravel.
Despite the annoyance I was in high spirits. It happens.
Richard and Simon stopped for me. Flat was fixed. Back on the road. So I kept chatting with them.

Third checkpoint. Jamieson. 200km into the ride. It was 2 or 3pm. I was told, the toughest part of the ride was ahead of us. Mt Skene. 1500m of elevation, 40km all on gravel. It would take a long time.
I was ready to get started to get it done.

We rode off in a group. Not even on the climb yet and I got my third flat.
This time I was by myself.
It was hot. Flies surrounded me. No soul in sight. I was very annoyed. Keep getting flats made a long day so much longer, draining and mentally exhausting.

I was considering throwing a tantrum but it wouldnt make a difference. So I skipped that part and just went through the motions of fixing another flat.

10 minutes later I was back on the bike. Very well aware that I could not have any more flats.
I had no puncture kits. No more tubs. And no lever.

I climbed Mt Skene through some brutally steep sections with no shade in sight. It got hot.

The van of the event volunteers came by. I told Ray and Andy about not having any more tubes left. They fixed my punctured tube on the fly. I had an option again. I felt like in a video game where I am getting lives back .

I passed Stuart (a 400km rider) and Richard on the uphill. And before I knew it I got my fourth flat.
This time I was in sheer disbelief. I was sitting on the ground trying to get the tire off the rim without a lever.
Both of them stopped and helped to get it fixed. We decided to re-tape the rim. I had brought medical tape along. That had to suffice.

The flat was fixed from the re-patched tube so I carried on. Stuart and I had different speeds (he had 100km more in his legs) and I tapped along. I had no more tubes left.
There was no volunteer car behind me anymore. Next flat would mean game over.

It was only 1 more km to the top. I could even see the top.
I got that game-over flat.
This time, it got me.
I had no tubes anymore. And my pump didnt work.
I was out of options. I just couldnt believe it.

But no way, I would quit for a flat!

On the practical side, there was no real option to throw the towel anyway. I was not exactly on a bus line. I was literally in the middle of nowhere. There was a reason this was a gravel road and not a paved road.
No one drives this road!

I put my flat tire back into the wheel and was ready to face the seven kilometers to the next checkpoint on a flat.
But then when I looked up an angel…ahem…Stuart popped up in the distance.
My savior!
He helped me to fix the tube – I have no idea anymore how. But then I was off.
Finally I made it to the checkpoint. I never thought I would arrive.

img_20161203_184945

I looked happier than I was. It took 3 flats and a whole lot of patience to take this picture on top of Mt Skene.

It was 7pm. On the bike for 15 hours. Another 120km ahead of me.
The sun was setting. I had an hour or so of daylight. But another 25km of rough descent.
And I had no tubes and no pump.
At the checkpoint, Andy once again fixed the already destroyed tube for me. Ray figured out what was wrong with the pump.
I left the checkpoint racing against the sunset.

It became colder, darker.

I was shivering from the cold and from exhaustion.
I was losing my concentration, trying to navigate the corners, the gravel, the potholes.

And then came pavement! It would be pavement until the finish line. 65km to go.

It was pitch black. Descending a massive mountain with a significant drop-off on the side into the valley.
It was beautiful and scary at the same time.
Monika, just dont lose your concentration!

I saw the next village already on my bike computer- Licola.
Only 3km of concentration and then I was back in the valley!
Destiny didnt like my optimism so I got my sixth flat. This time the front wheel for a change.

I was sitting in the middle of the dark, dark road exchanging the flat with a double-patched tube and pumped up the pressure to ca. 30psi – more wasnt possible. Another puncture was in the near future – I knew that.

Just after a second I got back on my bike, Stuart passed me. Before I could even say anything, he was already in the distance.

Suddenly, I saw movement to my left in the dark.
I slowed down.
And then a massive wombat jumped in front of my wheel.
I had to break hard.

No idea how I made it the last 3km down the hill but I made it to Licola – to civilization – probably a village of 10 inhabitants but at least there were man-built structures.

And I saw Stuart on the side of the road. I stopped. What was going on?
I forgot why he stopped because I realized I just got that near-future puncture. Number 7.
Poor Stuart couldnt believe it either.
We both realized we ran out of options. He couldnt help me anymore. No tubes left, no patches left. Nothing.

The race organizer and volunteer Gareth and Tim approached by car.

As there were absolutely no tubes for my 35mm tires left anymore, they tried to replace it with a 29er tube. It exploded – number 8. Now not only the tube was destroyed, but the tire as well. It made me laugh.
I was beyond the frustration phase. This has become pure entertainment.

img_3722

Weighing my options how to get to the finish line. A borrowed bike was my only option.

The second volunteer car approached.
It was 11:00pm. We were about 10 people in Licola, doubling the population of this village, all trying to figure out what to do about my flat.

One rider, who abandoned the ride and got a ride in the volunteer car, offered his bike to me.
A nice MTB with tubeless wheels. That must suffice for the next 40km.
While I was getting ready on my new no-problem rig, Ben came out of nowhere. That very Ben who I chatted with at the beginning of the ride.

Stuart, Ben and I then rode together the next 40 hilly kilometers to the finish.

At first, they were quiet but all of a sudden they seem to wake up and became so loquacious that I couldnt even talk anymore. That was ok – I was talking for the last 19 hours.

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Ben’s recap of our conversations

We finished at 12:30am.
21.5 hrs on the bike.
8 flats that cost at least 3 hours.
2 bikes.

I cant say thank you enough to everyone who helped me along this ride. There were times I was out of options and without the help of my fellow riders and volunteers, I would be still walking to the finish line.

Thanks to Gareth and all the volunteers for an amazing ride!Thank you, Tim Waters, for the pictures!

Why I go so many flats? Absolutely no idea. Wrong tire, wrong tubes, wrong air, wrong rim tape, wrong riding line.
Whatever it is, I am looking now for the best tubes, tires, wheels and pump that is out there!
Any suggestions would be highly appreciated!

Less than 24 hours to go: Join me virtually for the 300km (186mi) Jam for Jamieson gravel event

Join me virtually this Saturday for the 300km Jam for Jamieson gravel ride:

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0LIZZ8ZE9FjIipl60u1zhu3mYfcGxuZiP

All participants: (My dot is called “Mon”)
https://spotwalla.com/locationViewer.php?id=397

Start time:

Melbourne: 4:00am Saturday, Dec 3rd
Munich: 6:00pm Friday, Dec 2nd
Madison: 11am, Friday, Dec 2nd

Route details: 300km (186mi) gravel with over 7500m (24,600ft) of climbing.

Route:

More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1577746759220169/


Everesting: 177 repeats without going crazy

Everesting is all about repeating the same hill  over and over until you reach a vertical gain of 8848m.

I am not a big fan of repeats.

But I decided to give it a go when I had the opportunity to do it with eight friendly, welcoming guys. And we would even raise funds for a good cause.

I was now committed.

Our chosen hill (there is a strategy for choosing a climb) was short.

1.1 km long with an elevation gain of 50 m.

That meant 177 repeats.

Sounded like I better start liking repeats.

 

So although there is no question about the huge physical challenge, I was worried how I would deal with the shear amount of repeats.

Would I go bananas from all the repetition?

 

Friday 10 pm was the kickoff for many, many laps ahead.

It was a nice, cool temperature. Clear sky. No wind. Pitch black.

 

Lights and bike computers were ready. The countdown started.

We dispersed within the first few laps. Jeremy and I stuck together for a few hours. However, at some point our pace didn’t match anymore.

 

I was riding by myself now.

In the dark.

The only excitement were the other eight headlamps popping in and out of the night.

I got bored.

Boredom is the worst place to be in. I had time to think of all the things I shouldn’t be thinking of.

The remaining distance. The lack of sleep. Body ache.

It was 1:00 am. Only 3 hours into the ride.

I had to come up with something quickly!

 

I usually dont listen to audio-books but was recommended to give it a shot.

I gave it a shot.

5 hours passed and I cannot recall anything that happened around me.

Listening to an ultra-marathoner crossing the Saharan desert made my 177 laps look… normal.  (Audiobook: Running Man by Charlie Engle.)

Time passed quickly.

 

7:00 am. Within a few hours, a massive amount of cyclists, families and supporters started dropping in.

There was so much action going on. Meeting old friends. Making new friends. Eating pizza. Trying the new arrived brownies.

And the laps ticked away.

I realized that as long as I am engaged, I am ok. As soon as I am not engaged anymore, I would get into trouble.

But with such great support around us, there was always something going on. Plus, Danny, a newly made friend, dedicated himself to be a super domestique. He rode 6+ hrs with me until the finish.

My original worry was that the repetition would get me at some point.  But that never eventuated due to the fantastic support we had.

Thanks to everyone who came out and supported us. That was huge!!!

 

Special thanks to:

    • A fantastic Mo-Everesting group! Thanks to Stuart, Joel, Brodie, Daryn, Ray, Eddie and Jeremy for a great time – from preparation to execution!
    • Supporters. Thank you so much for the motivating and encouraging words. For the delicious meals and baked goods. For cleaning the road! For fixing four flats. For taking pictures. And for listening to my non-stop monologue.
    • Alistair for creating and monitoring the live tracking website.
    • Blake for letting me use his solar-driven battery pack
    • Mark O’Gara and Graz Ina for the pictures!

The ride:


Join us on our Mo-Everest Challenge – 170+ laps and 8848m verticals

A few more days and Joel, Stuart, Daryn, Ray, Brodie, Jeremy, Eddie and I will be riding 170+ laps to complete an Everest (8848m of elevation gain) while fundraising for Movember.

Join us for a few laps.

Time: 10pm Friday, 18th November onward. Planned finishing time: Saturday 19th November afternoon/evening.

Location: Lake View Road Saint Andrews VIC 3761

A little intro to our team:

More info on our Facebook Event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1508797692469480

See you there and stay tuned for social media updates while we are busy counting laps…

UPDATE: Here is the post on what happened at the Everesting:

http://www.radmonika.com/everesting-177-repeats-without-going-crazy


6 Top rides in the Victorian Alps, Australia

About a 4 hour drive from Melbourne and you are in the Victorian Alps.

Bright, a very popular mountain town, lies in the middle of great climbs that give cyclists plenty of options to test their climbing legs. Besides having a great small town atmosphere with many cafes, a few cycling stores and a brewery, Bright is surrounded by Mt Buffalo (18km, 5.5%), Mt Hotham, (29km/4.6%), Tawonga Gap (6km/6.5%) and Rosewhite Gap (4.3km/4%)

All these climbs lead to further climbs in the adjacent valley. Below are some routes of various difficulty:


Bright – Happy Valley – Tawonga Gap loop: It is probably the flattest of all loops. Although it does not have significant elevation gain, dont underestimate the winds that can come through the valleys.


Bright – Hotham- Tawonga both sides: I see Hotham as a three part climb: the first part is steep and ends with the notorious Meg (10% stretch), second a nice false flat with the third part offering some serious punches at the end. If you had enough of climbing, just ride back to Bright – that was already a great ride. However, if you want more, turn right to Tawonga gap and either just ride up one side or descend on the other side and turn around and head back up again. So many possibilities!


Mt. Buffalo is probably the easiest of all climbs. It has a nice gradient, a nice view and always makes you wonder what is around the next corner. The climb was so enjoyable that we rode it up 2.5 times.


Bright-Tawonga-Falls Creek-Tawonga: This was a tough ride. The ride up Tawonga seemed like a nice warm-up. However, the 30km Falls Creek climb definitely put a serious dent into our energy level. Going back over Tawonga (this is the harder side) makes this ride definitely one of the tougher ones out there!


Myrtleford-Mt Stanley-Beechworth-Myrtleford: This is a nice, semi-easy ride (besides the super steep part of Mt Stanley) But having the Falls Creek loop and the multiple Mt Buffalo’s in your legs, this can also be a pretty tough ride.


Three Peaks Challenge: Falls Creek-Tawonga Gap- Mt Hotham- Dinner Plain- Omeo-Falls Creek. This is an epic challenge. 235km with almost 4000m of climbing (the Strava route above has parts missing due to battery death). At 200km, a serious steep Falls Creek climb is awaiting you. The first corner you come around before you face the steepness of the climb is called WTF corner for a reason.

Hungry for some climbing? Just drive to Bright over a long weekend but book accommodation in advance on holidays as this place books out quickly!

What do you want to read about next? Ultra-endurance strategies, more cycling routes or anything else you found interesting? Comment here.


Have you ridden 8848m/29028ft in one go yet?

In the recent past, a new kind of challenge has crept onto the bucket lists of hard-core cyclists who love pushing their own limits: Everesting.

The term coined by Andy van Bergen describes climbing one single hill of choice as many times until the elevation gain of the height of Mt Everest – 8848m – is achieved. The number of repeats range greatly. Alpe d’Huez would have to be climbed almost eight times, a small neighborhood climb of 40m vertical gain would require 221 repeats. There is a lot of strategy involved what climb to choose. But there is only one rule: It has to be continuous riding so no sleep between.

When I heard about Everesting the first time last year, I was intrigued. I love challenges that pushes me to my physical and mental limits.

But then I realized what that meant. Doing something repeatedly. Seeing the same corner, the same tree, the same crack over.
And over.
And over.

I am not good in that. I don’t do crits for exactly that reason.

So Everesting was off the table. Off the bucket list. Nada. Done. Won’t do it.

But it was tough to ignore it. The idea kept tickling me, cyclists from everywhere were doing it. It popped up on Strava, on Facebook, friends were talking about it, friends were doing it and randomly you come across a strange arrangement of furniture and food at the start of a climb in the middle of the night. Ah, yes, someone was in the process of Everesting.

Besides being surrounded by the omen of action, there was something else about this mystical circle of Everesting that made it increasingly appealing.

There is not a lot of talk about it. There is no pressure of doing it. No boasting. Just action.
I kind of like that!

But Monika, this is still not for you! The repeats don’t become fewer because of that!

Well, but then two weeks ago I was pushed over the edge to the side of serious Everest commitment business.

For two reasons.

The first reason is the main reason I ride my bike: the community. I will join seven guys who know how to have fun on the bike. A few of the many, many laps ahead will be absorbed by laughter, awe, tears and silence. More about this crew will be shared soon with some sweet film shoot material!

But another reason made me decide to do an Everest:

This is not about me.
This is not about a personal accomplishment.

It is bigger than that. It is to raise funds for Movember – a foundation for men’s health issues. Now, all of a sudden, the 120 something laps seem a minor obstacle compared to what bigger problems are out there in the world.

18th of November is the showdown.

A month to go. A month to get ready for the most elevation gain I will ever have ridden in one single ride.

Stay tuned for the next posts about the Everest challenge including introducing the crew, my preparation, training rides and anything else what I am not aware of yet!