I crawled out of my tent in the Valley of the Rhone and looked in the direction I was heading. The big mountains were clearly subsiding, behind me were the giant peaks of the Bernese Alps that I just ridden through. But I wasn’t finished with the mountains yet and I had just enough time to stay another day before moving on. I hatched a plan to leave my kit in camp, remove my panniers, and head back into the mountains for a day on a lighter bike.
I made my way to the Nufenenpass, a climb that I hadn’t read anything about but that a local had told me I had to cycle up. He chuckled to himself after the recommendation, a telltale sign that I was in for a hard day. It was a hard day. Shown clearly by the fact I only have two pictures from the ride – one in the valley at the beginning…
The rest of the time I was head down, chewing my handlebars, dreaming of the ice cold beer waiting for me at the top. Thanks to the two French cyclists that rode with me for the final few Kilometers, althoug this was a solo trip I really enjoyed (needed) the company.
The plan was to then descend back into the valley, refuel and tackle the 2,500m Furka Pass. A monster day of cycling that would give me serious bragging rights back in London. However the draw of cold beer and an attractive bar girl in my campsite was too strong, I spent the afternoon getting a little drunk and trying to flirt in German. She was having none of it, must have been the lycra.
A day’s riding and a cool train that went through a mountain later and I had reached Interlaken, the plan was to have a day off the bike and rest. I always enjoy days off whilst touring, you can literally feel your body appreciating every minute it isn’t cycling, repairing every ache and pain with each hour that goes by and absorbing every ounce of energy from the food you eat. Life is simplified on tour and your body and mind become totally adapted to this way of life.
The ‘rest’ part of the day didn’t quite go to plan however. A walk by Lake Brienz turned into a stroll in the hills, which turned into some serious climbing and eventually a rocky scramble to the top of the 2,100m Augstmatthornn. All worth if for the views though…
I eventually made it back to camp around sunset – sun burnt, hungry, dehydrated and with legs burning from the day’s walking. The perfect preparation for my final day on the bike taking me up and over the Grosse Scheidegg Pass. However at only 1,900m how hard could it be?