The thing about Hadersfeld is, it’s so easy to kill yourself on the first few hundred meters.
The complete climb is only 2,5km long, with an average grade just over 9%, but it’s the first part that packs the punch.
Constantly over 8% with ramps up to 16%, the first 600 meters go just straight up the hill. It will feel too easy – Your legs are rested, and you are motivated. You will go too hard, and by the time you come to the first curve you will be wondering if that was a good idea.
„Don’t go hard until the well“ is the inevitable advice every experienced rider has for a novice. The problem with that is: Nobody knows where that damn well is, because by the time you pass it, your vision and mind are blurry from the effort that started as a „that’s not too bad, I can do that“ and becomes a „WTF?“ very, very quickly.
The well is at that first curve, and it is devoted to Kaiser Franz Josef, but most riders going up Hadersfeld have never seen it. It is a minuscule detail for a climb that is made of minuscule details.
You need to keep track of these details. GPS reception is so bad in the woods, you’ll only know where you are by your surroundings.
There are two signs that say „Dürre Äste“. One halfway up to the well. The other one when you’re roughly through the first half of the climb. Once the first bad patches of tarmac appear, you’re almost there. Just a slight right bend and then the final left curve. In the curve, you don’t see the city limits sign „Hadersfeld“, but you know it’s there, just after the curve, when the road gets flatter. You nearly made it, but you still have work to do: Hadersfeld is too short for big time differences. Every second counts.
Whatever effort you put into your ride, in that last 80 meters, you have to double it.
And when you’re at the top, there is a fire station. And relief. Most likely disappointment, but on some days, exhilaration.
Hadersfeld is an assessment. You go there seeking judgement. Not of your body, but of your mind.
You need determination for a respectable time. But to shine on these 2500 meters, you need patience.
Not for long. Just for 600 meters. Just to the well. From there, it’s all „GOGOGO”.