Women can’t park, they’re obsessed with pink and have no idea how to unscrew a quick-release yet alone set-up their bikes. Let’s be honest, there might be thousands of these stereotypes but there are also many who disprove them – including Antonia and Carola, two friends who aren’t scared of getting their hands dirty, show up most of the guys when it comes to tech talk and love to clamber into an old VW with their bikes for a trip. This is the tale of their last mountain hut adventure in the Tyrolean mountains.

Grauer Himmel, Nieselregen ... das Wetter an diesem Wochenende lädt nicht gerade zum Biken ein.
Overcast skies and drizzle aren’t exactly the most tempting weather conditions for a ride.

Lovingly christened the ‘Madame’, the rickety, white VW T3 trundles to a start and we’re off, leaving the city in our wake and shaking off work and university stress in favour of a relaxed weekend up in a mountain hut. No mod cons, no frills (although we’ve made sure that the hut has running water, a shower and a wood burner); this is going to be anything but luxurious, and will consist of our favourite trio: bikes, beer and mountains.

It’s 6pm on Friday. The sun is long gone and it’s now pouring down. The poor Madame is struggling to keep up with the windscreen wipers. “It looks a bit like snow,” says Carola, putting our plans for the so-called ‘allotment tour’ into doubt. Climbing about 1,000m metres in total, a large part of the route is above the treeline. But as my grandpa always said in his infinite wisdom: “there’s always a way.” Anxieties settled, we cruised onwards.

Alle Spinnen sind vertrieben, das Feuer brennt. Zeit, sich am Ofen etwas aufzuwärmen.
We kicked the spiders out, the fire’s burning and it’s time to warm up.

Outside is bitterly cold so we head inside as soon as we reach the hut, seeking solace from the incessant rain. As I carry out the now-mandatory spider-check, Carola gets the old range cooker going and we crack open two beers with a satisfying hiss. Cheers! On the drive up we’d stopped to catch some fish, which were now sizzling in the pan. The temperature in the hut gets toasty and we quickly turn off the agitated fire alarm before it causes any undue hassle. Chatting about life, love and other four letter words, the red wine and long day take their toll and we decide it’s time to roll into bed.

Karotten schälen, Kartoffeln schneiden und das Ganze am Ende mit Salz und Pfeffer verfeinern. Kochen kann so einfach sein.
Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated: just peel the carrots, cut the potatoes, boil and then add the salt and pepper to taste.
Zu viele Köche verderben den Brei – diesmal nicht. Carola und ich haben die Lage voll im Griff.
Whoever said ‘too many cooks spoil the brew’ lied – Carola and I have it all under control.
Die frischen Fische brutzeln in der Pfanne.
The fresh fish is coming along nicely in the pan.

The next morning as we peer sleepily out the window we realise that it did actually snow just above the hut. As the trails still look pretty clear, we stick to our plans, stocking up on a substantial breakfast before wrapping up for a little loop.

Superschön, aber nicht gerade einladend: der Blick aus dem Fenster am nächsten Morgen.
Stunning, but not exactly inviting: the chilly view we were greeted with in the morning.
Lang geschlafen und doch noch müde …
Still tired even after the long sleep …
… da hilft nur ein frisch gekochter Cappuccino.
… but a fresh cappuccino should do the job.
Tourplanung: „Halten wir die Karte überhaupt richtig herum?“
Planning the route: “Is this even the right way up?”
Okay, das mit der Karte lassen wir einfach. Im Zweifelsfall gibt es nur eine Richtung – immer der Nase nach.
Ok, let’s just put the map down and follow our noses.

We set off uphill on wet fire roads which turn into soaking, snowy fields, and our tyres make a satisfying crunch as they roll over the frosty ground. Our fingers are starting to numb into place on the brake levers and our toes are in agony as we’re forced to walk for a short section. We need to warm up, we decide and reach for the hip flask, which is filled with hazelnut schnapps for some brief respite.

Entspannt und ohne Zeitdruck erledigen wir den Uphill.
We ease our way up the climb without any undue hurry.
Auch die Schneedusche von oben kann die gute Laune nicht trüben.
The snow showers might dampen our clothes but not our moods.
Bei dieser Schneelage könnte über die Wahl des richtigen Sportgeräts diskutiert werden.
This amount of snow could be an argument for changing sports.
Kalte Finger, taube Zehen, Zeit für Wärme von innen.
Icy fingers, numb toes: time for some inner warmth.
Scheint ein ganz, ganz edler Tropfen zu sein.
Looks like it went down well.

Having given up on the map and stowed it safely away in the backpack, we rely on our intuition. After all, isn’t the journey the destination? Without any desperate need to find a trail, it’s even nicer when we do spot a turn-off and dip down onto a trail a few seconds later. We speed downhill, ticking off the altitude in our legs and loving every second – even more so when the trail spits us out just 1km from the hut.

Endlich gefunden: Über einen wurzeligen Trail geht es bergab.
Finally spot a rooty descent back to the hut.
„Laufen lassen!“ lautet die Devise auf den glitschigen Wurzeln.
‘Just let it go’ is the motto for the slippery roots.
Der Trail wird flacher, die Wurzeln weniger und der Fahrspaß dadurch noch größer.
The trail gets flatter and there are fewer roots, which makes the riding even more fun.
Carolas liebstes Kleidungsstück: die rund 10 Jahre alte und bereits mehrfach genähte Badehose. #styleformiles #hikeyourbike #happywithmyperformance #aufgooglesahallesfahrbaraus
Carola’s favourite piece of clothing are the swim shorts, which have been through the wringer for over 10 years and bear the hastily-sewn repair marks to prove it. #styleformiles #hikeyourbike #happywithmyperformance #everythinglookrideableongoogle
Auf den Wald folgt Wiese und bald schon das Ende des Trails.
The wood turns into a meadow and the trail pitters out.
Die letzten Meter zurück zur Hütte. Das Empfangskomitee steht schon bereit.
The welcoming committee is out in force for the final few metres back to the hut.
Kein Sekt, kein Prosecco, sondern feinstes Gösser Natur-Radler. Wir wissen eben, was gut ist: Prost!
No champagne, no Prosecco: just two bottles of the finest Gösser Natur-Radler. Cheers!

Ok, hands up, the cliché about women not being able to read maps does apply to us – we’ll admit that. But does it even matter? Wasn’t it our female intuition and inner-GPS that came through in the end? Sometimes it’s better when things aren’t all planned, and you let yourself sink into an adventure. And that’s exactly what we did.

Pictures: Christoph Bayer Words: Antonia Buckenlei

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