CTF Mainz, Germany (Cross Country Rides): Gravel Cycling like Paris Roubaix!

ctf mainz germany cobblestones

Germany in Spring 2021: During the lockdown which has been in place for months, all cycling events have been canceled. But the guys from the Mainz cycling club have improvised to ride their CTF individually. The German so-called CTF (cross country rides) are perfect for gravel bikes. In recent years, the CTF Mainz has always been a Spring classic with its bumpy cobblestone passages. The new route has different characteristics than the old classic CTF and focuses on “panorama”, but still contains six of the classic route highlights. The old and often rough pavè sections typical of “Rheinhessen”.

ctf mainz germany cobblestones

Saturday, March 27th shortly before 8am: My bike, Mr. Moots is ready and the WTB Byways are inflated to 4 bar (about 58psi). The weather is also typical for a Spring classic. Sun, clouds, strong wind, and showers with a maximum of 10 degrees Celcius. The start point of Mainz-Hechscheim is 45 kilometers away from my home, which took about 90 minutes of ride time to reach.

ctf mainz germany cobblestones

Three kilometers into the course, the first cobblestone section, the 800-meter long “Pavè de Hechtsheim” that runs parallel to the wind farm that was erected in recent years, is already waiting. Riding the first meters on the first piece of cobblestone, I realized that it would be an extremely tough ride for me today. The headwind out of the west is so strong that I barely move forward at 15 km/h (about 9.5mph).

ctf mainz germany cobblestones

Eight kilometers later, the “Pavè de Ebersheim” awaits, and at 1200 meters in length, is the longest Pavé section in this area. After a steep descent and a short trail in the “Lohwäldchen”, the “Pavè de Eselsborn” awaits us. This sector of Pavé takes a fast descent to “Nieder-Olm”. The excellent ride quality of my Moots RSL titanium frame is perfect for these rough routes.

ctf mainz germany cobblestones

The course begins to undulate with rolling hills, and the roads are made slick and shiny by the first rain shower of the day. After a Pavé section with wonderful views, the route heads steeply downhill, through some narrow passages, and past several farms before reaching the river “Selz”.

ctf mainz germany cobblestones

The next ascent begins at the sports field and passes over an easy-to-ride, cobblestone sector, the “Pavè Dorngasse”. The grade rises at about 100 vertical meters per kilometer, the 16 percent maximum gradient forced just about everybody into their lowest respective gear. At the summit, only a few meters of altitude remain to climb, including the “Pavè Muhl”, to reach the highest point in the city of Mainz at the former Fort Muhl.

ctf mainz germany cobblestones

I ride past the “Joachimkreuz” observation tower at a fast pace and reach the “Pavè Steigerhof”. Riders are rewarded with beautiful views that span as far as the “Odenwald” and the “Taunus”. Shortly before reaching Hechtsheim, the second rain shower begins to fall as I ride the final sector of cobblestones, downhill.

ctf mainz germany cobblestones

The ride is technically over at this point, but I still have close to 50 kilometers left to ride, with a stiff headwind all the way to my home. Fortunately, a latte macchiatto and sweet raspberry slice at the Scottish fast-food restaurant in Oppenheim are the perfect treats to finish my journey.

ctf mainz germany cobblestones

After almost 7 hours and 156 kilometers with an altitude difference of 1,770 meters, I have ridden the first Spring classic. I’m thinking about organizing a “Rheinhessen-Roubaix” for 2022, one day before Paris-Roubaix. We’ll see!

The Route – https://www.komoot.de/tour/325981984

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