Twenty years ago one of the greatest moments in history occurred. The first Toy Story movie was released! To go alongside such a momentous occasion the very first Kitzalp mountain bike marathon was held in the Kitzbühel Alps of Austria. Unfortunately I missed the first edition… But I’m sure that first race was an exciting event with cantilever brakes, steel frames and long hair prevalent.
2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the marathon and it is set to be another great race. With no less than five route options to choose from, there will be something for everyone. Of course, all eyes will be on the Ultra distance Marathon of 90km, including 3800m of climbing facing the riders. After all that climbing you do get to shred the famed Fleckalm Trail, although maybe it will be more a case of holding on after 80km of alpine terrain.
The marathon is just one part of a week long mountain biking festival, with five different races and a whole host of added side events that the organises hope will add to the excitement of the anniversary. The festival starts on 20 June, with the Windautaler sprint race; a 14km sprint from the town centre of Westendorf to the Windauer Gasthaus up the valley.
Also starting on 20 June, in Kirchberg, is the first ever European Enduro Championships, bringing together 17 nations to fight it out for the top step. With the area’s knowledge of running big events that include the 2013 Marathon World Championships, it should be a great race.
On Wednesday, the Hill Climb will be held in Brixen im Thale. I competed last year and found it a great way to open the legs for the weekend’s cross country event that is held around the great Fleckalm circuit. The course used for the XC has a mix of steep gravel road climbs and technical root-filled descents. In the dry, it is very manageable but I’m sure in the wet it could be a completely different story!
2015 is set to be a big year for the Kitzalp Bike Festival. Entries are open here so head over and get your ticket to paradise, or hell, either way one hell of an adventure!