Aufnahme vom Ötztaler Radmarathon mit Radfahrern am Timmelsjoch

Ötztal Cycling Marathon ► This is how you have to train for your big dream!

The right training is elementary for a successful participation in the legendary Ötztal Cycling Marathon. We explain to you how to get better on the road bike and we also tell you what makes the Ötztaler Radmarathon special and why you definitely have to take part. Let’s start with the facts about the legendary bike race in the Alps

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The history of the Ötztal Cycling Marathon

The Ötztal Cycling Marathon was founded in 1982, since then the myth surrounding the long and difficult race has been growing steadily. Anyone who has once mastered the 238-kilometre course with its 5,500 metres of altitude will want to relive this experience over and over again. No matter how hard the preparation is, you will definitely not regret riding this legendary Gran Fondo in Tyrol – Austria. Live your dream!

Live your dream!

The official motto of the Ötztal Cycling Marathon

The course of the Ötztaler Radmarathon + GPX Track Download

The Ötztaler Radmarathon is not only long, but also mountainous, very mountainous! Four monumental climbs are waiting on the course. At the beginning the Kühtai has to be climbed, followed by the Brenner Pass, at the Brenner the cyclists cross the border to Italy. The road up to the Jaufen Pass starts nearby the small Italian town of Sterzing, the pass is around 2,100 metres high.

Those who arrive at the top of the Jaufen Pass within the allowed time have a good chance of reaching the last mountain, the legendary Timmelsjoch. The summit of the Timmelsjoch pass is at an altitude of 2,474 metres. The ascent from St. Leonhard in the Passeier Valley up to the Timmelsjoch is 30 kilometres long and covers around 1,800 metres of altitude. There are two refreshment stations on this section, which provide the athletes with bars, cakes, fruit, rolls, cola and electrolyte drinks.

So in preparation for this bike race, be sure to familiarise yourself with uphill cycling and also with riding downhill.

LocationAltitudeAltitude difference
Sölden (Start) 1.397 meter a.s.l.
Ötz820 meter a.s.l.
Kühtai2.020 meter a.s.l. 1.200 meter
Innsbruck600 meter a.s.l.
Brenner Pass1.377 meter a.s.l. 777 meter
Sterzing960 meter a.s.l.
Jaufenpass2.090 meter a.s.l. 1.130 meter
St. Leonhard 700 meter a.s.l.
Timmelsjoch Pass2.474 meter a.s.l. 1.800 meter
Course of the Ötztal Cycling Marathon
Ötztaler cycling Marathon Tyrol Austria
© Ötztal Tourismus – Skarwan Jürgen

How ambitious is your goal?

Every year at the end of August, around 4,000 participants start the cycling adventure of a lifetime. When the starting signal is given, the clicking sound of thousands of pedals heralds the cycling race. All participants are united by the desire to reach the finish line in Sölden in Ötztal. Nevertheless, the cyclists’ personal goals differ considerably in terms of average speed, race time and motivation.

Some want to fight at the front for victory, some want to achieve their personal best and others simply want to finish within the allowed time limit. It is important for you to find out which goal is realistic for you. Once you have set yourself a maximum race time, it is important to adapt your training to your expectations and your defined target time.

Get a workout plan

You don’t know much about bike training? Get yourself a training plan from a trainer, cause not only professionals benefit from targeted planning. If you do not want to cycle with a training plan, you should record and analyse your training at least. With the help of Strava and a compatible bike computer from Garmin, Wahoo or other companies, you can keep an eye on your training. A power meter is almost indispensable for structured training and monitoring.

Base training in winter and spring is important

During winter and spring, it is essential to work on your base. This is especially important because the Ötztal Cycling Marathon takes place in late summer. If you start too early with hard training sessions, you will be exhausted in the summer months. The top form on the bike will therefore not be maintained until autumn. Lots of training not always make you stronger, and this also applies to training with the road bike. Concentrate on easy training rides during winter and spring.

Tip: Stability core workouts and sports such as cross-country skiing, ski touring or running have a positive influence on your fitness and also on your motivation. Take the chance to enjoy other sports in winter and benefit from the sportive challenge.

Sometimes less is more!


Plan a training camp on Mallorca in spring ‼️

In spring, when the weather is still cold and wet in the north, a training camp in Mallorca ist just the right thing. The temperature in Mallorca is warm and the weather is nice. The mediterranean flair, the tasty spanish food and the stunning roads are amazing. Her you can get in shape for the Ötztaler Radmarathon. Always remember that the earlier in the year you do a training camp, the more relaxed the rides should be. This means that you can train much harder for the Ötztal Cycling Marathon in April or May than in January or February.

Ötztaler Gran Fondo Road race Tyrol Austria

How much should I cycle?

By now we have mentally arrived in May, the temperatures are rising even in northern climes now and the days are already noticeably longer. Longer days = longer bike rides! You have consistently taken care of your base fitness, have been to Mallorca, have 2,000 to 3,000 kilometres in your legs and feel fit and energetic? Perfect! These are the ideal prerequisites for hard rides and long bike tours.

Tip: Increase the training amount slowly and make sure that you have enough regeneration phases and rest days. Time for recovery is very important for maintaining and improving your fitness. A little time off the road bike every now and then is also good for your motivation – but too much rest is counterproductive as well 😉!

Ötztaler Gran Fondo Road race Tyrol Austria

Interval training on a road bike

Interval training is an indispensable element in the training plan of pro cyclists, but it can also be easily integrated into the training of amateur cyclists. Interval training is composed of easy and very intense phases. In simple terms, you alternate between a comfortable and a fast pace.

The fast pace must be chosen in such way that the cardiovascular system and muscles are strongly challenged. The changes between the phases follow a fixed time schedule, for example 30 seconds easy-going and 30 seconds of hard effort. The duration and intensity of the intervals can vary considerably and depends largely on how fit the athlete is and what he or she wants to achieve.

Tip for your interval training

Attempt high intensity slowly and don’t overdo it right at the start. Listen to your body, this is one of the most important tips for your training, because it protects you from overpacing and injuries. Intervals that are too long and too hard can have negative effects on your body.

How to become a better climber?

If you are at home far from hilly terrain, a training camp in the mountains is definitely a good thing. The Tramuntana mountains on Mallorca offer the possibility to train strength even in winter and early spring. Check the gear ratio of your bike, if you don’t have small cassette cogs on your bike, you should get a cassette with 30 or 32 teeth for the Ötztal Cycling Marathon. By the way, you can rent our hire bikes with perfect gear ratios, so don’t be afraid of the steep climbs on Mallorca.

Tips for long distance cycling

The preparation for the Ötztal Cycling Marathon should include some long rides, your body needs to know the strain of a 6-9 hour bike ride. You need to feel comfortable on your road bike even after many hours of riding, of course this must be tested and cannot be simulated.

Ideally, you should do at least one or two 200 kilometre bike rides to know how your body, your bike and your equipment feels like. You must also be prepared for the possibility of bad weather with snow at the passes. But it is just as likely that there is heat and bright sunshine on the day of the race.

Remember: The Ötztal Cycling Marathon is completed by the fastest athletes in a time of 6:45 hours but he last cyclists reach the finish after more than 13 hours.

Final conclusion ► How to succeed at Ötztal Cycling Marathon

Train with your head, listen to your body and sometimes leave the racing bike for a day. On training days, focus on quality and not just quantity. Incorporate intervals after you’ve built up your base fitness. Take the opportunity to do a training camp in Mallorca. During a training camp you can focus fully on your bike training and perfectly prepare yourself for the Ötztaler Radmarathon. If you have good base fitness, motivation and willpower, you can complete the Ötztal Cycling Marathon with 6,000 to 7,000 trained kilometres.

Tip: A training plan and a professional coach will make your preparation much easier!

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