Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mont Sainte-Odile - 48° 26' 14" N 7° 24' 13" E

Passing through beautiful Obernai
Visiting friends in France isn't all wine and baguettes, you know.

We are here as the preamble to a big bike journey.  We have packed up our bikes and brought them from Canada.  Before we start the our tour with Gord and Jenny, we wanted to make sure we had properly reassembled them and not forgotten anything (besides proper training) necessary for full days of European hill climbing.

 This morning, we loaded everything we brought into our panniers and started towards (and eventually up) the biggest hill around - Mont Sainte-Odile. 

Filling up at la source de Sainte Odile
At the top of the mountain is a monastery and viewpoints that look east towards Germany.  We have done this ride before (on previous visits) using our ultra-light racing bikes.  The bikes we have with us this time are more solid workhorses with racks for carrying everything necessary for multi-week trips.  Although they are heavier, they have very low gears that allow us to s-l-o-w-l-y peddle up with our gear.  Kate is riding a sturdy new steed with disc brakes, which will be handy for keeping the speed in check when descending curvy alpine switchbacks. Sean is on a trusty, 30+ year-old Miyata that was a top-of-the-line touring rig in its day.

We managed to make it all the way up, filling us with confidence that we will have no REAL problems with the coming three weeks of Swiss and Italian passes and valleys.  Kate and Sean both feel their bikes are up to the task.

Now, back down the 7 kilometres of 8% grade and a further 15 km ride to return to the Bouvier's house to reward ourselves with a delicious dinner!

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