Three days of finest mountain biking across the Ardennes hills

 

"Battle of the Bulge" or "Bataille des Ardennes" was one of the last upraises of the almost defeated Nazi-regime in the winter '44-'45 WWII-fight for the Ardennes hills. Our battle will be one of continuous ups and downs since the flat portions of this trip can be counted on one hand… It is, clearly the highlight of our program, and it can be done in either a level 2 (around 1200 m of climb per day) or level 3 (up to 2000 m of climb) version. In 2017, the first day will be a bit easier, namely level 2, but days 2 and 3 will be level 3. In any case, participants to this tour must be confirmed mountainbikers.

 

Optionally, the three-day tour can also be extended with a day-ride around the beautiful and trail-rich Esch-sur-Sûre lake (point of departure and arrival) or with a level-2 or level-3 finale towards the city of Luxembourg. 

 

 

Detailed description

 

 

1. Day: Lultzhausen - Urspelt (Clervaux)

 

Starting on the shore of the Esch-sur-Sûre lake, in Lultzhausen, we head north-east, past Wiltz on our left and Kautenbach on our right, in the direction of “Kiischpelt”, the villages gathering around Wilwerwiltz. Now the needle of the compass points north, and we mainly follow the “Sentier du nord”, a well known hiking trail with many singletrail portions, which we will reserve for the downhill parts. We have our lunch break in Pintsch, in a local café, where simple and home-made food is served by the owners. Now a mere 15 Km with a bit more than 400 m of climb through fields, meadows, and forests bring us to Urspelt, today's destination, where we stay at the "Chateau", a **** Hotel. Before we reach this hamlet, we pass by Clervaux, whose name is derived from “clear valley”: hence, watch out for the view on the red-roofed Clervaux Abbey which lies on the opposite hill by which we approach this little touristic jewel with the permanent world-famous photo exhibition “Family of Man”.

 

Total Distance: Lultzhausen – Urspelt: 50 Km / 1200 m of climb

 

 

2. Day: Troisvierges - Vianden

 

From Urspelt, we take a short but beautiful train ride to reach Troisvierges. As soon as we leave the train, we get on our wheels and pedol across one of the high plateaux of the Ardennes for some time, enjoying the wind and the views, before diving into the Our valley, via a hidden, steep and narrow path, titillating the S3 level on the Singletrail Skala. Once there, we will have as much fun as possible, not being afraid to do an extra climb in order to savour some additional singletrail portion. On our way, we will come by a renovated watermill – Kalbermillen – where freshwater pearl mussels are bred, a rare and endangered species that survives in the Our river because of its very clean water, and that can become as old as 60-80 years. Pitstop at Camping "Kounenhaff".

 

Next stop is Luxembourg’s «Eiffel Tower», a 300 m mast close to Hosingen which is used by a private broadcasting company on the ultra-short waves (UKW) and which we reach after a fairly long climb on a small backroad. From there, we race down again, cross the Our and aim for castle Falkenstein, very nicely situated, privately owned and inhabited, unknown to many since much less glamourous than Vianden castle, yet just a crossbow shot away. As for the majestic castle of Vianden, its origins date back into the 11th century. Our night stay will be in Vianden, either in the  Youthhostel or in a well-rated Hotel. Chillout will be on a terrace by the river with a view on the illuminated castle….

 

Total distance: 70 km    Total climb: 1800 m

 

 

3. Day : Vianden – Esch-sur-Sûre (Lultzhausen)

 

This day's stage is one of the most difficult but probably also the most airy, beautiful and technical of all trips one can imagine in Luxembourg and in the wider region. Leaving Vianden, we will head North again for some time, with nice views on the lower dam of the hydro-electric pumping station of Mont-St-Nicolas, one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. At peak hours, water rushes from the upper lake to the lower one, through an underground powerhouse, generating electricity. The upper lake is filled again during nighttime when electricity is cheap. After getting around the upper lake, we finally head west, up and down the Ardennes hills.

 

In Lipperscheid we take the first nice and long singletrail to reach the lower Schlinder valley ("Ennerschlenner"). Slowly we mount from there, on large forest roads to fetch the "Charles Mathieu" hiking trail, descending to Kautenbach (lunch break). Next we climb again and take a track that once was hosting a downhill MTB race, near Bockholtz. One more climb and one more technical downhill before joining Heiderscheidergrund and then Esch-sur-Sûre. Follows a balcony-style single-track overlooking the drinkwater dam, featuring at most 4 groups of more or less difficult switchback bends, that could not be more welcome to crown this almost perfect day of mountain biking.

 

 

Total distance: 80 km    Total climb: +-2000 m

 

 

Optional day A: Around the Esch-sur-Sûre lake

 

 In case you book this trip separately, and wanted to add a day of wonderful mountain biking, a good plan would be to cycle around the Esch-sur-Sûre lake, a top-spot for mountain biking in Luxemburg and beyond During the summer months, one might combine this tour with taking a dive on one of the far shores of the lake, away from the crowds.

Total distance: approx. 50 km Total climb: +- 1200 m

 

Optional day B: Esch-sur-Sure – Luxembourg-city

 

This day will bring you back to Luxembourg-city. In the level 3 version, we follow the lake for some time, heading for the Belgian border and the town of Martelange. In the level 2 option, we more or less aim in a straight line for Luxembourg-city. In both cases, there will still be many nice trails, though more road portions need to be included than during the first 3 days. The nearer we come to the city, the more likely we will find, here and there, some singletrails, as around the well known Mamerléen or in the vicinity of Kopstal. Surely, another epic ride!

Total distance: 90 km Total climb: 2000 m (level 2: 60 km and 1000 m of climb).

 

 

Organizational aspects

 

The trip is planned for 21-23 July 2017. The price is

 

-       270 EUR for the basic option (1 night in a **** Hotel - triple rooms - and another one in a Youthhostel),

 

-       310 EUR for the complete Hotel option (*** and ****) with double/triple rooms and

 

-       335 EUR for the Hotel option with single room (only available in Vianden).

 

The price includes the guiding, 2 nights with 3 breakfasts and the transport of the luggage. It does not include other meals (lunches, dinner) or drinks. Minimum number of participants is 5, maximum is 8.

 

 

Registration deadline is June 29 (payment).

 

The  tour starts on July 21, at 8h00, in front of Lultzhausen Youthhostel (20, an der Driicht, L-9666 Lultzhausen, Tel.: (+352) 26 27 66 600) with a common breakfast followed by a briefing. It ends there at the same place 3 days later at 18h00. A detailed road-map will be sent to the participants 1 week before the start. 

 

Every participant will be responsible for the biking gear and the bike - participants without a helmet or with a clearly insufficient bike will be refused. For this trip, as for all other trips, a standard cross-country bike with 100 or 120 mm front travel is sufficient. Bikes with rear suspension provide more comfort but are not needed. Participants can rent test bikes from S-cape Sports (25 EUR / day).    

 

Link to registration page (not binding at this stage; please use reservation code: BB 2017.