A clubmate and I tackled the monster mountain stage of the tds last Friday.
We parked in Wassen, at the bottom of the Sustenpass around midday and set off in the drizzle, no chance for a warm up, the climb starts
straight away. We both had 39x25 bottom gears and this was just about right, only on the last steep bit of the Furkapass would we be wishing for a 27t!
The rain soon stopped and we could appreciate the spectacular views as we climbed up the seemingly endless road.
At the top there is nothing but a tunnel, on the otherside of which was a foggy carpark, restaurant and lots of snow...it was freezing cold
we put on all of our clothes - I had plastic bags over my socks because I'd forgotten my overshoes but I did bring my winter gloves thankfully. We
shot down the wonderful descent at between 60 and 75kmh, the occasional tunnel combined with our frozen bodies making it an almost
surreal experience. Soon the air felt warmer and we could stop and take the jackets off, the leg warmers stayed on the whole time though...what a wimp
Down to Innertkirchen and a sharp left through the village, over the sprint prime and immediately we're climbing the Grimselpass. Now we're seeing
more cyclists ahead and we gradually reel them in as we slog steadily up. Soon we see groups of schoolkids crowding around the sponsors cars getting their free stuff, nothing for the likes of us though
but at least we get plenty of cheers!
At the top we have about 45mins until the leaders will arrive and its absolutely freezing cold. We get tea and soup but have to put the spaghetti on
hold and stagger outside to watch Gusev win in style. After another 20 of so riders come in we're too cold to keep watching so we finish off our
pasta. Outside in the corridor I spot Gusev's tiny Trek and as I'm checking it out he comes out of the press conference room and says with
a laugh, "Hey man, don't touch the bike!" - its way too small for me anyway!
We continue down Grimsel, among the team buses at 70kmh until we go left to do Furkapass and they go right back to Ulrichen. Furkapass is a
long slog and we're glad to get to the top even though its covered by freezing fog. Downhill all the way back now!
It was an excellent day despite the cold summits. We did 125kms in 5 hours 15 mins of riding, just under 24kmh average - a fair bit slower than Gusev but at least we got pictures