No Miss Swiss
Beauty and Adversity in the Swiss Alps
by Anja Kallenbach
Last weekend’s weather forecast – dry and not too cold – drew me back to the Alps. This stage goes over the most famous mountains of Switzerland: Susten, Grimsel, Nufenen and the Gotthard. This makes about 160km with 5,096 meters of climbing.
I started my day in Wassen, which is easy to get to because it’s not far from the motorway. It started almost immediately with climbing and sunny weather. I was so happy to be in the mountains again! The Susten starts with some nice little tunnels and green spaces where I could spot some of my favorite animals: the marmots. I was even able to get near them thanks to the fact that my 1x is super quiet.
At higher attitude, the walls of snow of almost 3 meters where absolutely impressive, and they have the effect of a refrigerator so you don´t have to sweat while climbing.
The Swiss mountains have large roads, so I was already looking forward to the descent with speeds up to 90km/h. The Hydro R Disc brakes helped give the confidence to try high speeds as I know I can stop easily and quickly when necessary. The 28mm Tangente Course R28 tires provided grip on roads wet from melting snow.
After this with the Grimsel pass followed the longest climb of the day with 26km and 1,500m of altitude difference. But the last kilometers reward you with one of the most beautiful mountain lakes I have ever seen. The sunny weather, though, was turning windy and cold. I grabbed a warm jacket from the car and started the descent.
On the Nufenen climb I started a serious race against the black clouds from a thunderstorm behind me. It was hard with parts with over 10 percent gradient, but I luckily won with a slide advantage, so I could stay dry on the descent.
In Airolo I had to be careful because I didn´t want to take the new big road to the Gotthard, which is more a motorway, but instead the famous Tremola. This is an old road with almost 10km of cobblestones. The view from above on the curves, which turns in every direction, is really incredible, especially when riding the Zipp R28 tires with Zipp 202 Firecrest Disc-brake wheels. However. Now I was losing my race against the thunderstorm and was getting tired after the long day climbing and fighting the wind. Soon the rain was falling like a curtain. I arrived at the eagle statue cold and exhausted. As I had no lights with me we decide to stop here and leave out the last descend, as it is too dangerous in the fog when the cars can´t see you and you can´t see the road. I put on all clothes I had with me before getting in the car, but I was trembling for the next half an hour before getting warm again. But this was an unforgettable day one of the more unknown part of the Alps that should not be missed.
The film from this great day you find here.
See you next time here with a story from the Dolomites!
When you want to know more about Anja and her journeys on her bike or you need some gear or touring advises, you can contact her: www.anja-kallenbach.com or follow her on Instagram, Twitter @anjakallenbach or Facebook
All photos: ©ak21photography