Cologne blame Frechen – the second part of our Komoot Classics is a real German classic and probably not quite as well known as the cycling monuments Milan SanRemo, nevertheless the route is just as big a highlight from our point of view.
Cologne-Schuld-Frechen, was known for years as the German Milan SanRemo and was a firm part of the spring programme for amateurs and professionals. The classic event at the end of March, which often coincided with the Italian classic, was probably the trigger.
The race history
First organized in 1920 by the RC Delia 09, the race was first held under the title Köln-Münstereifel-Köln and later Köln-Euskirchen-Köln. From 1952 until the last edition in 2012, the race was continuously organized by the club RC Adler Köln. The start and finish were traditionally in Cologne city centre before both were moved to Frechen in 1969. From there the route led to Schuld in the Ahr valley and back again.
The fact that this race has not taken place for almost 10 years is a real loss for us. The race was not only an event steeped in tradition. It was also one of the last real road races for amateurs. To have such a long distance completely closed and only for oneself is an extraordinary experience for every athlete – real professional feeling. But we don’t want to reminisce too long here, we just want to remember this event and maybe get one or the other to relive the track.
For our Komoot Classics Edition of the Cologne Schuld Frechen race, we took our cue from the former amateur B/C class course. With a length of almost 150 kilometres, it does not lead to Schuld, but via Euskirchen to Bad Münstereifel. This was the only hill of the race and at the same time the executioner of the race, the climb Weinstein in Eicherscheid. Afterwards the route goes slightly downhill back to Frechen.
However, one day before we could face our own staging, we decided at short notice to reschedule the route. As the weather forecast predicted temperatures of 20° C on the last day of March, we didn’t want to spend time with loading and unloading the bikes, as well as the car journey to Frechen and back.
No sooner said than done. With the Komoot function “Plan a similar tour” we have placed the start in Aachen without further ado. This was really easy and so we could really enjoy the weather. The new route is a full 190 kilometres longer, but promises a similar experience. OK – we’ll gain a few more and new metres of altitude, but it’s worth it, I promise.
Maybe a bit of a bogus title for the new track, it doesn’t even go all the way to Schuld, but good. The route now goes via Kornelimünster and Breinig in the direction of Düren. From here you can easily reach the original route. We leave this later in Kall, instead of going back to Frechen, we go in the direction of the Rursee to Simmerath and finally back to Aachen.
An Early Summer Day
When we started our DIY Cologne Schuld Frechen on March 31, we couldn’t have dreamed of better weather. With almost constantly over 20 degrees we have caught the probably most beautiful spring day. What a day for cycling!
The first section led out of Aachen to Kornelimünster. Out of the urban traffic chaos we went via the villages of Breinig, Mausbach and Gressenich to Schevenhütte from where the first climb winds its way up. With almost Ardennes-like road quality (that means potholes as far as the eye can see) you drive along in the shade of the forest above the Wehebachtalsperre. That is also the reason why one meets here for Eifelverhältnisse few motorcyclists. Once we reached the top, we had to keep our concentration to avoid the potholes on the following downhill towards Düren.
Through Düren we then encountered a little more traffic again, but this was rewarded immediately afterwards. The rest of the day we were to encounter almost no more traffic lights. The mostly flat Rhineland from here on led us next via Golzheim and Nörvenich to Gymnich. Here we are finally on the old route of the classic Cologne Schuld Frechen.
From here we follow country roads, which are mostly equipped with a cycle path or generous verges, in the direction of Euskirchen. The smaller roads, which do not offer this luxury, are not very busy so that you can be on the road alone or in a small group.
Pit stop near Cologne debt Frechen
On the way through Euskirchen we make a short pit stop, it’s just stupid that we forgot our masks at home. After a moment’s consideration, we knocked on the gas station’s night counter. However, the visibly confused salesman was very friendly and sold us an FFP2 mask and handed it out so we could safely enter the store.
Behind Euskirchen you notice with every meter that it goes in the direction of the Eifel. Always slightly uphill it goes to Bad Münstereifel. Who thinks here, however, already in the earlier decisive mountain of Cologne debt Frechen to be, was mistaken.
In Eicherscheid the time has come. Shortly after you enter the village, you turn right and sooner than you would like you are in the mountain with a maximum gradient of 11%.
Arrived at the top
Once you have conquered the first ramp, the mountain continues along the hill for a few minutes. The fastest times can be found on Strava with a little more than 6 minutes, in a but still rather loose step on the road we needed a little more than 11 minutes. After a small plateau follows the following descent. That now the ascent Frohngau follows, one would not notice at all in the race and also for us the 3.5 kilometres with only 3.3% feel very easy. But whoever has managed this part has really reached the top. And the coming section, is something to look forward to.
At the beginning a bit wavy, but fast and altogether downhill the next 15 kilometres lead to Kall. If the wind is right, you can sail very fast here. Arrived in Kall we now leave the classic route from Cologne to Frechen. We follow the country road through the valley to Gemünd. Here we took the time at a gas station to fill up our water bottles again.
The headline says it already, after the short gas station break it went for us again uphill. Up to Herhahn Komoot has not chosen the classic ascent over the country road, which we know from numerous Eifel rounds, but a smaller side road. This one was definitely a bit steeper than the usual course, a real form check in spring and a real highlight for our Cologne Schuld Frechen.
1.6 kilometres with an average gradient of 7.5%. Thereby it goes uphill again and again with more than 10%, maximum even with 13,6%! And we’re only talking about the worst part, after that it’s another 1.5 kilometres at around 3% through the peloton, which doesn’t really allow for a breather.
It’s almost like Redoute!Christoph, rather a sprinter than a climber
I hear in between behind me – well, this one is with a maximum of 17% maybe a bit steeper, but this one has definitely been exhausting enough.
But it was worth it, those who already know the now coming descent to Einruhr are already looking forward to it. This meanders fantastically between the trees down the slope.
The last ascent
When you roll over the Rursee bridge in Einruhr on our DIY Cologne Schuld Frechen round, the corners of the mouths of all non-mountain bikers are sure to drop again – uphill again?
Yes, one last one for this route we have to go up a real mountain. The ride up to Simmerath takes more than 20 minutes, but is very steady and never really steep. Besides the good conscience that it is the last mountain of the day, you get a wonderful view of the Rursee. If you want you can get something to eat at one of the gas stations in Simmerath or Lammersdorf, but it is not really necessary. On the cycle path Vennbahntrasse it goes to Raeren and from here via Lichtenbusch back to the starting point, subsequent ice cream included, because you have definitely earned after this DIY Cologne debt Frechen.