Day 10 (24/08/2014): Biasca-Brig (136km/2,950m ascent/2 passes/drank 5.0 litres)

passes climbed:
San Gottardo/St. Gotthard pass (2,108m); Furkapass (2,436m)

towns passed:
Brig

May I complain a bit, please? Thanks. Man, this was an exhausting day! Above all, strong headwind reduced me to despair. All the way up San Gottardo/St. Gotthard (2,000m in one go) the wind was blowing in my face – and I’m not exaggerating when I say that in parts it had a stormy character. And as it came kind of from the top rather the front, even the S-bends up the final stretch of the pass didn’t help reducing the “blocking wall of wind” much. Funnily enough this spook stopped right when I turned towards ‘Furkapass’ in Hospental (near Andermatt). Hardly any wind anymore, warmth rather than chilly 8 degrees…

But I’m not finished complaining yet: the ascent up Gottardo was tedious in any case – but in addition I decided to go up on the old pass road. Certainly a good decision regarding reduced traffic. However, a majority of the road was from cobblestone! Can you imagine how hard that was on me and my bike after two hours or so?!

IMG_2918.JPG
this was my ascent up San Gottardo – all cobblestone!

Then: my right knee is definitely causing me pain now. And knowing my knee, this won’t go away anymore for the rest of the trip – so I’ll simply try and ignore it as much as possible. Riding with a knee bandage helps, but isn’t particularly comfortable.

IMG_2924.JPG
as I cycled up the old pass road, you get the picture with the old pass sign at the former highest point – the new road and new sign are a few metres higher (where I went to as well, of course)

Further: the water I brought from my last accommodation tasted horrible – and I still couldn’t be bothered to refill my bottles with good water.

And above all, I had to learn in the evening that Mercedes didn’t win the F1 race in Spa…

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on top of ‘Furkapass’ – the door to the Swiss Wallis

So this was my day! But to be fair I have to add that after this energy-sapping Gotthard pass, riding up Furkapass was actually quite enjoyable again, sun was shining all day long, and from the top of Furkapass and further down in the Rhône valley I’ve been and will be riding along next, one had spectacular views towards the Weisshorn and Matterhorn range of the ‘Walliser Alpen’. So, I’ve reached the real high mountains now, i.e. the famous 4,000m ones: Eiger, Jungfrau, Matterhorn, Weisshorn, soon Mt. Blanc, etc.

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view from Furkapass towards my descent, the ‘Wallis’, ‘Grimselpass’, and hidden within this wonderful cloud formation one can imagine ‘Eiger’ and ‘Jungfrau’ mountain

IMG_2936.JPG
similar view as before, but now with ‘Weisshorn’ in the background – and ‘Matterhorn’ just left of it

Guess this was a conciliatory finish to probably the hardest day of my ride so far. And the four men from Germany standing next to the old St. Gotthard road on my way up and making a Mexican wave for me certainly cheered me up too.

660km/14,050m ascent/10 passes to go!

accurate route details (incl. GPS track):
Vienna-Nice Transalp – day 10 (Biasca-Brig)
Start date/time: Sun, 24 Aug 2014 9:20, distance (km): 135.69, elevation (ascent in m): 2,884

all photos of the day:

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