Monday, November 12, 2012

EUROPE 2012 part 2

Part Two

Day 11 ON THE Road

When I woke up at 0530hrs on the 11th day of riding something had definitely changed.
I felt great, my fitness level was kicking in and I was super pumped for the up coming challenge. Today truly seemed like my trip was really kicking off and the last few days purely the warm up.
The Albulapass was something I had been looking forward to ever since I started mapping out this route. I studied Google Earth Maps most days before leaving and just loved the way this pass turned into a moonscape at the top.
I had mentioned this area to my friend Don Crowell,  Don told me he had ridden this area many years ago on his motorcycle. He told me the top of the pass was a gravel road and the scenery was magnificent. This route is also only open as a summer road.

Got up just in time to see the girls heading out before 0600hrs. Nice cool dry morning after a few showers during the night.

 I took my time packing up as I was totally out of food, had to wait till 0800 for the local stores to open. The village of  Fillsur was a couple of kms ride from the campground.
I was pretty hungry and buying groceries on an empty stomach is not always a great idea, needless to say I headed out of town very satisfied.

 Some of the locals waiting for their morning feed.

I headed up the bike route and stayed off the road for the first few kms. In the process I ran into Paul de Heus, Paul was also at the camp and we decided to ride the pass together.

Shortly after leaving the village we got into the first part of the climb.

    Paul on one of the switchbacks.

       We traded back and forward as I stopped to take photos.

 After a couple of hours of riding we came upon the village of Bergun and decided it was time for coffee.

From Burgun the climb really started. The coffee and baked goods really hit the spot.

   Loved this sun dial on the side of the building, time was spot on.

The Glacier Express/ Swiss Railway follows a similar route up the pass, however, the train has to go through many spiral tunnels to gain its elevation. Its an amazing feat of engineering to see where this narrow gauge track is laid.

Spectacular high alpine lake, it has a beautiful camp spot being utilized by a few of the hikers.

Looking back down the valley with the lake in the distance. I love this shot. From this point on until my descent, the scenery changes quite dramatically.

Up we go.

You can just see the road just above the power lines. It will take me over an hour of climbing to get to the point were those top hydro towers are sitting.

Almost at the summit, just another 1/2hr till the upper valley.

Starting to see the Scree Slopes and giant boulders

Paul took this shot of me with a roadie trying his hardest to pull me in.

Finally at the top. It was pretty cool up there with wind blowing off the snow to add to the chill.

Stopped in for a beer, coffee, a sandwich and soup before heading down the other side.

As you can see, there is no gravel road on top anymore.

Starting to make the descent down into the next valley. When I hit the valley floor I will turn west back into St Moritz again for one more night.

The fun begins, downhill!!

I said goodbye to Paul at the bottom of the descent, it was really nice to do the climb with a fellow cycle tourist. He was heading east.
   Once again the ride into St Moritz was tough. Approximately 15 kms to ride from the turn off, super  head strong winds again. All I could think of was food.
The afternoon was clear and the sky was an awesome shade of blue.

Once you figure out the trail system into St Moritz.. the views are truly spectacular along the trail.

The train station

The view from just outside the campground looking back at St Moritz

I set my camp up at the lower level of the campground once again. Proved to be a mistake. This shot is of the upper section, unlike my location this section had all day sun and a slight breeze. Believe it or not, it rained quite heavily that evening and became very cold. 
I ate out at a burger joint, expensive and not that great. Got back to the tent cooked a pot of tea, did a bit  of reading and got ready for another cold night in St Moritz.

 The reason for the upper site being much better, it got the sun 2 hours before my lower location, along with a nice breeze to dry the tent and gear out quickly in the morning. Nothing like packing a wet tent,  means pulling it all out to dry at some stage of the day.
 Just plain annoying!

to be continued......

1 comment:

Tod Penberthy said...

Very cool!!..I llike..One day it'll be me..aha Tod