RED....the color of the starting arch that the CycloWorld team, Herman Nekkers and I, face on Sunday, July 10, 2022 just before 6:00am in the morning. And red is, with good reason, the color of the logo of the Kitzbüheler Radmarathon (KRM). In the logo the icon of the Kitzbüheler Horn is prominently displayed, the reason becomes more than clear to me during the 216 kilometers that follow!
The KRM is a young gran fondo and as the name suggests with start and finish in Kitzbühel. In 2021, after a year's postponement due to covid, the first edition took place. Because of the bad weather, the first KRM became famous because the winner had to walk a section. The gran fondo was immediately a great success. Success always tastes like more. On 10 July there were more than 850 participants on the starting list. But again, the weather gods were not in favor of the KRM. While many other GF's in the past few weeks have been very hot, the rainfall came steadily down during the first few hours. Add to that temperatures on the various Gipfel of around 8 degrees, 216 kilometers and over 4,300 meters of climing, et voilà: KRM2022, an epic gran fondo.
But back to that color red for a moment. The symbolism of red is both positive and negative, as a color it quickly attracts attention and is both a sign of danger and love. Red is around you all day when you ride the KRM. It's not just our own beautiful red CycloWorld jersey. Red is also the dominant color in both the Austrian and Tyrolean flags that you see proudly flying everywhere in the villages and towns that many Europeans know from their ski trips. The logo of the KRM is red. The many, many, red cars of the Feuerwehr who, with hundreds of volunteers, perfectly guard the side roads and keep the course largely traffic-free (the valley roads may not be closed, but the descents of the 4 major climbs are).
But red is still mainly the color of the screen of the ClimbPro function on my Garmin. Percentages that are the envy of many a Schnaps and Belgian special beer. My Garmin colored red so often that I'm a little afraid that the color is burned into the screen.
Any cyclist knows that if you like ridiculously steep climbs, the Austrian road builders are the place to be, so I was warned. And that was not for nothing, because just in order on the course:
And then the rolling part of the course after the Brandenberg. Continously there are small bites in your calves and thighs when the road goes up again with 6, 7, 10, 11, 13%. #echtsteil is the theme that runs through the entire course. But all participants agree that the Kitzbüheler Horn really takes the prize. On the one hand of course, because the Horn is the apotheosis of the KRM and only looms up after almost 210 km. But really just because it is ten times La Redoute in a row. Without any levelling off or resting. Small gear, zig-zag up, in the saddle, out of the saddle. There is no right way. You just have to endure this climb! But it does result in a very cool finish at the Alpenhaus.
Red is of course also the color of love. And yes the KRM is definitely a gran fondo to fall in love with. Maybe not because of the slogan #ECHTSTEIL, but because the organization definitely deserves 5 stars. The organization has clear ambitions to grow into a big name on the GF calendar and you can feel, see and taste that in everything.
Tired, satisfied and with a few strong stories to tell, Herman and I say goodbye to Kitzbühel while enjoying a delicious Weizen. CycloWorld says wholeheartedly: Kitzbüheler Radmarathon, EINFACH BÄRIG!
Check out the short aftermovie of the KRM here!