Day #4 How I cruised the Alps
I didn’t sleep well. Someone has come in the middle of the night. I heard their voices. It looked like some man came with two kids. One of the kids was very angry, because some stranger has taken their place. I don’t know, what they wanted to do here, but I crossed their plans.
I tried to fall asleep again, but I wasn't able to. I was already disturbed. So, I got up at 1am and I was ready to go.
I didn't know it at the time, but I would call that day the most beautiful part of the route. I was going to tackle only three climbs and all of them were almost 2000m above sea level. It would be the highest point I visited in my life. As you can see, I wasn't perfectly acclimatized to the altitude.
At Brünig Pass it was still night. Once again, I saw a pizza vending machine and gave it another try. Oh, yes, it has a touch screen! Suddenly I was able to order and the machine told me it will be ready in five minutes. It was weird to stand there that long. I wasn't the first one who stopped there, because there was a pile of used boxes.
It wasn't a culinary experience – what to expect from a machine made pizza– but it was a nice night stop. Only problem was that pizza was really hot and I tried to eat it as fast as possible. It resulted in the only possible scenario – my mouth was burned.
My first big climb of the day was Grosse Scheidegg. Since it has a Wikipedia page in Czech, it must be famous. The night was changing into a day and lot of cows were on the road. As I was moving forward, I saw astonishing views of mountains and glaciers. You can look at it in photos, but in real life it's a different experience. It was only magnified by everything I had to overcome to get here.
But I was in the middle of just another crisis. My legs were weak and my mind was calling for help. I needed to get some sleep. As I'm checking the Strava file right now, I find out I had a power nap! It was 10 minutes long and my heart rate dropped to 47 beats per minute.
I didn't feel much better after it, but I was able to get to the top of the pass. It was nicely cold there and the views were just astonishing. The descent was fast and I was running through multiple "no-cow-cross" gates. At all ended in Grindelwald.
I spent some time trying to think, if there is some connection to Harry Potter, but I had something more important to do. I needed some food. I couldn't find a good shop that would be open and have what I need. But once again I found an open bakery and I was in paradise. As I sat at a local bus station, I noticed that my surroundings have changed. This place was full of tourists. So far, I have only travelled through forgotten lands and it was getting crowded now.
My next challenge was Wengernalp 🚂 Looking at the temperature levels, it wasn't that hot, but it felt like a desert. As always, I was barely moving, I felt terrible and I wanted to sleep. It was so bad that I found a ditch and slept there for 30 minutes.
The route followed the "Via Alpina" trail. There were some tough and steep sections. This was an official bike route???
It turns out I wasn't the only one who fought sleep. I saw Andy Styger as he slept on a bench.
For the first time since the start, some showers have come. I was so confused, that I hid under the roof with some e-bike riders. I should have gone and enjoyed the rain, but I was hiding like a rat.
Riding to the top of the pass, I had a nice chat with a cyclist I met. There were actually three of us, but Andy didn't speak English. Those are the things that will wake you up. We pushed our bikes and I forgot about my struggles.
There was a train station and lot of tourists on the top. I had no reason to stay there for a long time, so I said farewell and went downhill.
My rear brake was basically dead. I think I was going metal to metal since the day before, but I wasn't comfortable with changing the pads. I ignored the rule – don't try anything new on a race day – and I used a brand-new set of brakes I wasn't used to.
I went through another shower in the descent and I enjoyed some nice views of waterfalls in Alpes. It was astonishing as the water was flowing down over the rocks.
At Wengen I stopped for 10 minutes to hide and rest. Rain was ON! At first, I didn't like it there. Too many people. But when rode next to the river Lütschine, it changed. The river had a vibrant blue color. And what was the best – its surroundings were very cold. I assumed it was a melted glacier.
I made another stop at Wilderswil where I bought a watermelon and some other fruit and veggies. I also stocked up on some bakery goods.
As I check the temperature levels on Strava - it was the hottest section of that day. A stopped at some benches to rest. On one side, I was struggling, on the other side, I was OK with it. I had some ice-cream. I spoke with a race fan when I sat for a while next to his garden. I opened a self-checkout fridge where I was looking for goodies but found only mold. And the next mountain was approaching.
When I climbed to 1000m, the temperature dropped and I was in the zone. It was a perfect section. I climbed by bike or by feet and I forgot about all my worries and struggles. And at the top a cold drink was awaiting me.
The descent started pretty hard. Wet grass was slippery, I couldn't find where the route went and there were cows everywhere. But as I hit a gravel road, I quickly got to a petrol station at Reichenbach. It was still open so I took the opportunity.
The night was upon me, but this final section was kind to me. Almost everything was asphalt with no insane steep sections. This comfortable pace made me sleepy and I was looking for accommodation. Some bench or something. As I was getting close to the mountains, it was clear that I missed all good spots.
I ended up at a parking lot with a huge sign "no camping here". I was a little nervous, but I put my sleeping bag on the ground and made myself ready. My fears became true, when some light was getting closer and closer. Are they going to kick me out? It was Luca. He already slept and sounded very fresh.
He left me there. I had more than 200 kilometers to go. And it was going to be epic. My alarm clock was set for two and half hour.