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 3 (around 1200 m of climb per day) or level 4 (up to 1800 m of climb) version. Both levels are foreseen in the 2019 version! The technical requirement is not so high as in the Müllerthal, but still there are nice sections with long singletrails and participants to this tour must be confirmed mountainbikers (at least "intermediate" for their technical skills).

 

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) and/or with a 60-100 km finale (different options, technically not so demanding) towards the city of Luxembourg. 

 

 

Detailed description

 

 

1. Day: Lultzhausen -  Clervaux / Urspelt

 

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 Clervaux, where there are numerous possibilities to stay. Optionally, we may extend towards Urspelt, which features a very nicely renovated "Chateau", a **** Hotel. Before we reach Clervaux, whose name is derived from “clear valley”, 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 Clervaux-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 pedal 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 (Level 4)

(Level 3 translates into leaving out one or two optional climbs.)

 

 

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 day 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 cheapand abundant. 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

 (Level 3 translates into joining Esch-sur-Sûre or Lultzhausen by the road from Heiderscheiderground which is towards the end.)

 

 

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 tour starts on Saturday, July 13, 2019, at 11h00 in front of the Lultzhausen Youth Hostel (20 An Der Driicht, 9666 Lultzhausen, Tel. +352 2627 666 00). It ends there three days later around 18h00.

 
The price is EUR 345 and it includes the guiding, luggage transport and two overnight stays in a *** or **** Hotel with breakfast. It does not include any other meals, drinks or expenses. Please ask for optional single rooms.
Registration deadline is June 28, 2019!

 

 

 

Programme

 

 

Every day, our second guide drives the luggage to the destination and meets us on his bike somewhere in the middle of the track. Until there we ride as one group, later we may split up and some shortcuts or alternative routes are possible. However, on the first day, both groups will follow exactly the same route.

 

 

Day 1:

 

- 11h00: meeting at Lultzhausen Youth Hostel (20, an der Driicht, L-9666 Lultzhausen, Tel. +352 26 27 66 600); welcome, introduction and briefing; departure for the three day adventure.

 

- 16h00: Arrival in Clervaux; after about 40 km and 1200 m of climbing. Overnight stay in a *** Hotel in Clervaux, bike wash and dinner.

 

 Day 2:

 - 7h30-8h30 breakfast, departure at 9h00. Lunch at Camping "Kounenhaff" where we meet our second guide. Level three bikers can leave out one or two optional climbs. Last km of singletrails before Vianden will be done togehter. Arrival in Vianden around 17h00 to leave time for beers. Bike wash, shower, etc.. Dinner in a nice restaurant.

 

50-70 Km; 1200-1800 m of climbing.

 

Day 3:

 - We'll try to leave at 8h30 because it will be a long day. Lunch at Camping Kautenbach. We'll try to stay together until there. Later splitting up upon arrival of second guide. Short-cuts will mainly be done by the road towards the end. A fast group might break the 2000 m wall of total climbing. Levels 3 bikers should still expect some 1500 m of total climb.

 

NB: distance and meters of climbing are indicative. The organizer reserves the right to change whenever appropriate or necessary.

 

 

Registration

 

 

Please register through this link (code: "BB 2019"). Registration is not binding at this stage. An additional form will be sent to the participants with payment details and general conditions. This form will have to be signed and sent back (by email) to the organizer. Registration is effective upon payment of the full fee.