Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eurotrip Day 2

This day starts wtih the Grimsell pass, a category 1 climb with a 9km descent "to rest up on" for the Furka.  An HC climb.  Originally I'd intended to clear the Gotthard pass on following the Furka, but too much time was wasted at the top of Grimsell warming up with soup and cappuccinos, so Gotthard got pushed back a day.
..just as well.    Furka is the dramatic big climb that brings in the crowds but Grimsell punches over it's weight in my opinion.
 At ~25km of pretty much continuous climbing with pitchy stiff sections all stacked up at the end it beat me up a bit.

Taught me a thing or two about managing calorie intake also.

That said, Grimsell is a gorgeous climb. The road offers majestic views, backwoods isolation, barren snow fields, cobbled old road detours around 'new road' tunnels.  Just fantastic, and I'd do it again in a second. But it was pretty hard too.   Below are just a few shots from the Grimsell climb.

The old road still exists off to one side or another of the newer road in many locations.  Notably where the new road goes through a longer tunnel, the old road typically snakes around to one side, so I took these old abandoned roads whenever possible.  Apart from being awesome, I hate tunnels..

More old road pics.

Cobbles!  My first climb on cobbles!  Surprisingly smooth actually.  Much preferable to the west Quebec rattletrap-collapsing-ashphalt roads most of us are familiar with anyway.

Another first in this pic.  A few actually.  First high elevation alpine lake with icy green water. And my first false summit.   Yeah, that saddle in the view isn't the top.   I was crushed when I crested it to look up at another series of switches.

Finally at the top!  This is the view back along the way I came up.  It was bugger cold here with mad winds. I had to retreat to the restaurant for a bowl of soup and a few cappuccinos to get warmed back up.

This is the view down the otherside of the Grimsell pass.  At the bottom is the tiny town of Gletcsh and rising up towards the center of the frame is the Furka pass.

The view of the Furka switches from a few km's out of Gletch.

Looking back down to Gletch from about 2/3 of the way up Furka.

 Nice curves down the north side of Furka.  Unfortunately, as was the case coming down from Grimsell, I couldn't let the bike run too much because often (at least higher up) there was melt water running across the corners and the wind was incredible. The gusts must have been hitting 45km/h.  It was crazy. you'd be clipping along and get hit with a gust and the bike would jump over about 16 inches and get redirected.  Consequently I ran it down pretty tame until well down where the wind was more manageable.

Coming down towards Hospental where I would stop for the day.

Numbers for the day;
70km & 2360 meteres vertical.   I wouldn't have guessed a 70km ride could shell as this one did. Cold and pooped.


Peter M said...

Wow. Gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Wow is right... great pics!