Biking and carrying a bike in the Alps

 

The adventure racer wasnt hapy with just biking, the bike had to be carried….

 

The view this morning from Engstlenalp

Another weekend full of fabulous Alpine biking…

Its been a busy week, between having friends over for ceviche  on Wednesday, the English Forum cycle social on Thursday and straight to the train on Saturday morning to Meiringen to bike up to Englstenalp and Melchsee Frutt to Marc’s place on Saturday.

I set off from Meiringen at about 1.30 on Saturday, the weather was fabulous, crisp but sunny, just how I like it and headed in the direction of Susten Pass. After Innertkirchen I took a left about 4 km up the road towards Engstlen,  remembering that the last time I had travelled it was by bus as I had misjudged how long it would take to hike from Meiringen to Reuti and over Hohstrasee to Meiringen and I had to bail out and take the bus around and run from Engstlenalp to Melchsee before it got too dark.

However through the breaks in showers with my nose to the bus window I must have taken some of the views on board because I could remember the road (I was so impressed and shocked by the bus driver’s skill) and how windy and narrow it was. However as always, we have a peculiar way of forgetting just how steep, and just how long these roads are.  I calculated that I climbed 1,000 metres in 10km yesterday, thats how steep it was.

When I got to Engstlenalp there were a lot of cars and people on top, enjoying the views or coming back from treks up to the Joch Pass or around the ridges surrounding the Antiplano. One thing I had forgotten though, or still wasnt sure about, was if there was a paved road or not from the top off the pass to Melchsee Frutt..and there wasnt! I rode as far as I could to the amusement of hikers on the gravel and then got off my bike, put on my runners and with the bike on my back I hiked for about 4km over a graveled and extremely narrow in places, path to Tanenalp where I picked up a paved road to Melchsee Frutt. It was just hilarious how many hikers stopped and stared at me in disbelief or wanted to have a chat with me to make sure I wasnt completely insane. They all had walking poles and I was in runners with a road bike on my back.

I had a great evening in Melchsee Frutt, its so quiet and relaxing and waking up to that view of the mountains is like nothing else. It reminds me of the Andes sometimes, like being up in Cusco or El Valle Sagrado at Christas place.

This morning was an early start to bike down to Meiringen again and meet up with Norman Rohr one of the EF bikers and his friend Jan. I left Marcs at 9.30 and was down in Meiringen for before 11am, it was a lot quicker going down than going up the day before! I really enjoyed the decent today, I feel like I have regained some of the confidence I lost because of my summer crashes.

We set off at a blaring pace towards Grunig Pass and I immediately regretted not leaving behind some of my gear as my back pack was so heavy. It turns out Normans friend had raced competitively and was biking circles around us with his nifty Cervelo and usual “I have lots of kms in these legs” wheel spinning. We quickly separated out and I was piggy in the middle all the way up, which became par for the course for the  whole day.

After Grunig we set out towards Giswil and then up Sorenberg OUCH! It was tough, up there with Grosse Scheidegg. I struggled, got there, but slowly. Still stayed ahead of Norman but Jans had nipped up and waited for us at the top. The views were amazing but we spent a lot of the time in forested areas so didnt get those breath taking views like you have on the Klausen or Susten passes, perhaps there was less traffic though.

It was downhill all the way with Jans in the front and me drafting and holding his back wheel for dear life, until we reached Sarnens where I parted with the lads who were heading off to do yet one more little (1,500mtr) pass. I bailed out on this one, I had no food and my legs were feeling heavy. As it were it was another 30km back to Lucerne and at about 10km to go I caved in and had to stop at a cafe to buy some food. I was beginning to get a little shakey, hate when that happens. I think everyone sitting in front of the cafe knew something was up as there was silence and staring as I walked in.

 

 

 

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