The Grenzsteintrophy (GST) is a self-supported bikepacking trip along the former inner-German border. The start of the GST is every year on June 17th at the former border triangle in south of Germany. The number of drivers is limited (years since the fall of the wall = participants; example: 2020 = 31 drivers).
The route of the GST follows the patrol track (Tankplates) of the NVA, which was built a few hundred meters parallel to the former German-German border on the GDR side. In the north it ends at the Baltic Sea (Priwall / Travemünde); in the south-east it ends at the former border triangle near Mittelhammer in the Vogtland region. We drive according to a self-scouted GPS track, which is improved year by year. The track is about 1,250 km long and has almost 18,000 meters of climbing . The surface splits approximately: 40% historical tank plates, 30% tarmac and 30% forest/forest path. The Kolonnenweg follows the border exactly and does not take any “topographic consideration”. This results in many short and steep climbs with up to 30% climbs and downhills. From the south, there are about 15,000 meters of climbing for the first 750 kilometers. With the exception of the Brocken, no climb is longer than 300m, but there are plenty of it! From Helmstedt the route is mostly flat. The nature of the trails varies greatly every year. Vegetation, flooding or even tank plates demand high concentration, reduce the speed and make riding in the dark very risky. If you are very competitive, the GST can be driven within one week, if you are sporty you need about ten days and from two weeks on it becomes comfortable.
The route of the GST is lonelier than one would expect in Central Europe. The many historical buildings, monuments and museums enrich the sporting aspects with a unique historical and cultural experience. Checkout reports like this one from Chris Bennett.