ADVENTURE IN THE ERZGEBIRGE

The name alone sounds like adventure. After all, the Ore Mountains are synonymous with treasure hunters, miners and bikers. The low mountain range in the German state of Saxony, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2019, surprises with geological and historical highlights along roads with little traffic. The unique cultural landscape on the German-Czech border serves racing cyclists a varied menu on a metal platter. The signature dish among race bike tours is the Stoneman Miriquidi Road.

The most famous route in the Ore Mountains covers 290 kilometers, 4,900 altimeters, 13 tough inclines and two countries. Considered extremely challenging for a reason, the Stoneman Miriquidi Road combines centuries of mining tradition with the sporting heritage of the mining region. Long before cyclists, miners dominated the cross-border mining region. We don’t have to go underground to seek our fortune, just take to the 290-kilometer network of trails that stretches right through the Czech Eger Graben and over the ridge of the Ore Mountains. Or step off the asphalt onto a dusty gravel adventure. The life of a cyclist is sometimes hard and demanding, just as the life of a miner used to be. But instead of gold, silver and platinum, we go for the Stoneman, the BLOCKLINE or the Kamm Tour.

But aside from those challenges, it’s also more than worth digging a little deeper into the history and culture. Because the fascinating 150-km mountain border between Germany and the Czech Republic, stretching from the western border of Saxony to the Elbe River, is full of centuries of mining history and even decades of cycling history. The Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří mining region, long considered the center of mining in Europe, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2019.

"Here Robert Petzold set an insane record. He conquered 22,622 altimeters in 24 hours"

Everything for racing cyclists: Stoneman Miriquidi Road

As a serious road cyclist, you can’t say “Erzgebirge” without saying “Stoneman Miriquidi Road.” Because this ride is the pinnacle. About 5,000 road cyclists have taken on the Erzberg Challenge so far; nearly 4,000 official finishers have added their names to the digital “Wall of Fame.” The unique course leads in three stages from the well-known winter sports resort of Altenberg to Oberwiesenthal: through the Czech high moor down to the sunny Egergraben, from Klösterle Castle along the Eger River and up the striking steep slope of the Erzgebirge to the 1,243 m high Keilberg (Klínovec). Continue past the legendary checkpoints Fichtelberg (1,214 m) and Bärenstein (897 m). Then it’s back to Altenberg. In Altenberg, adventurers can then go “underground” themselves in some show mines and practice the traditional “mountain screaming” of the Ore Mountains – but only if they actually find ore!

© Olaf Ludwig
© lifeCYCLE - Martin Donath

World record

This is also where you bike on world record trails, by the way, because around the Holzhau checkpoint, Stoneman and Race Across the Alps champion Robert Petzold set an insane record. He conquered 22,622 altimeters in24 hours. Hierme he set a new world record on the up to 18 percent steep hill on July 30, 2016.

Off the asphalt: Gravel biking in the Erzgebirge

The 170 km Erzgebirge Vogtland mountain tour, which leads from Altenberg to Klingenthal, should also be a regular start on the Erzberg bucket list. Gravel bikers, on the other hand, will find their happiness on the BLOCKLINE: The 140 km with 2,770 altimeters over impressive reservoirs through the eastern Erzgebirge can be completed in one day or in three loops.

© Albrecht Dietze
© Olaf Ludwig

If you want to experience the Blockline round trip or the mountain adventure Stoneman Miriquidi Road with expert local support, the Hotel Am Kurhaus is the perfect place for you: The hotel is completely dedicated to the riders. Hotel manager Beat Bünzli is an avid cycling fan himself. His guided tours of the Ore Mountains are unique in this region. His two cycling guides Olaf and Mario know every nook and cranny. Then guests relax with herbal stamp massages and Shirodahara forehead oil at Saxony’s first Ayurveda center. One thing is certain: the miners of the Erzgebirge would never have dreamed of this.

DESTINATION
erzgebirge-tourismus.de

HOTEL
am-kurhaus.com

MORE HOTELS AND REGIONS
roadbike-holidays.com

© Olaf Ludwig

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