Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Chur - 46° 50' 55" N 9° 31' 52" E

Tourists in Chur
A week of traveling by bike is a taste of a different style of life for Kate and me.  Our journeys are usually TO a location where we land, unpack, meander and explore a locale, then pack up and head for the next stopping point.  This adventure is all about traveling THROUGH.  Today is an exception to the normal course.  We gave up a side trip to Liechtenstein to have a rest day and explore Chur.

The last few days have been challenging.  After a hard push through to Buochs and then a long, increasingly steep climb to Andermatt, we were starting the day with a solid 500m climb over 10 kms to the top of Oberal Pass.  At least the weather was on our side.  The skies were so clear and blue, you'd think you were watching a Swiss chocolate commercial. A gentle tailwind was breezing in behind us too.  The climb provided spectacular distractions from the effort of having to pedal up this intimidating slope.  Green grass and wildflowers eventually gave way to scrub bush, snow and bare rocks.  After getting to the top, we celebrated but noted that it had taken more time to get there than we had anticipated.  We had covered only 12 km and 450 of vertical, but we still had 85 km of distance and 900m vertical to go ... and it was almost 11 am.  We started down on a mission.

Gord descends like a pro
Descending a mountain pass is a tremendous amount of fun.  You have to trust your bike, your riding skills and the riders in front of and behind you to ride good lines, not follow too close, to warn you of danger and their upcoming actions.  The last week of riding has certainly helped us get in touch with all of these nuances and now, we would enjoy the benefit of all the riding we had done together.  We all had fun, swoopy descents and kept a good pace going as the road flattened out, but rest stops, scenery stops and the route we chose (winding through the back roads rather than riding the major roads after the pass) all conspired to eat up our time much faster than the route.  It was soon 3:30 pm and we still had 50 km and 500m of vertical to go.  We made the call to break from the purist, gotta-pedal-every-centimetre attitude to a more relaxed one.  We stopped at Trun, bought ourselves ice creams and happily rode the rails to Chur.

Our day off has done us a world of good.  Tomorrow we have a much more gradual start, fresher legs, less residual anxiety and a better idea of what Chur has to look at (Kate and I did a short walking audio tour of the historic landmarks).

Sadly, there is a 90 percent chance of rain all day tomorrow.

Foo.

not all of the riding was on paved paths.  Single track!
happy cows

Leaving Burgun
 the weather clears climbing away from Bergun ...

... towards Oberalp Pass

looking back down the valley

higher and higher

beautiful rest stop

Team Langsam Canucks

Kate vs. the cog train

we climbed from the bottom of that valley

up into the snow
Summit!
Better weather on the way down
Heidi takes a break from cycling
sturdy covered bridges

Our accommodation in Chur.
Find the steeple, find a spot to fill your water bottle

fashion choices in Chur's bike shops
staring down some street art



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