Monday, July 28, 2014

Tour du Mont Blanc - 330km with 8000m elevation

This weekend`s cycling tour led through Switzerland, Italy and France hitting climbs like 

  • Col de Champex (9.3k, 560m elevation), 
  • St Grand Bernard (45km, 2000m elevation), 
  • Petit St. Bernard (28km, 1287m elevation), 
  • Cormet de Roselend (20km, 1100m elevation) and 
  • Col de Montets (11.5km, 420m elevation)

....all around Mt. Blanc.

We had every kind of weather. From cool Spring-like temperatures while crawling up Grand St. Bernard to Mediterranean heat in Aosta, Italy having lunch in a park to damp and rainy weather in Ugine, France to clear sunshine in Chamonix. 

It`s fun cycling through three different countries with different food options, weather and terrain. We stayed in small ski resort towns that offered cute hotel rooms with a homelike character. 
Here is the route with some pics:

The route

The pain measured in elevation

Fantastic weather

A glimpse to the Mt. Blanc

Tunnels - sometimes so dark you have no clue where you are riding

St petit Bernard....Not so petit though with 1,300m of climbing!

Since we just crossed into Italy, a crostata had to be on the re-fuel menu

What a view!

Sunshine on the ascent, mystic fog on the descent

Cycling in the clouds

View to Martigny, our start and end point

Turquoise lakes

Another view to the Mt Blanc
On next weekend`s agenda will be Italy with climbs like Stelvio Joch, Gavia und den Mortirolo.

Picture source: 
Photo Credit: Paul Boerner

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mountains + Lakes + Cow bells = Cycling in the Alps

If there are routes from the Giro d`Italia, Tour de France, Tour de Suisse, Tour de Romandie basically at your foot steps (or an hour train ride away) it was clear it would be only a matter of time that I start racing again here in Europe.

Having moved to Zurich seven weeks ago was a surprise. But an awesome surprise. Just looking at the riding possibilities it is like a cyclist playground. Last week I rode through the Black Forest in Germany, this weekend, I am heading to the famous climb to Chamonix, France. And next weekend I am staying in Bormio, Italia to ride the 21km climb (13mi) up the Stilfzer Joch....partly for fun and partly for training because all of a sudden weekends are filled up with races.

The Alps region has incredible and TOUGH races to offer. In fact every weekend if desired.

Last weekend`s 230km (142mi) Engadiner Radmarathon with 3,800m (12,500 ft) of racing was just the tip of the iceberg. On 23. August, there is a true climbing test: the famous 280km Alpenbrevet with an entire 7,000m (23,000ft) of climbing. Just a few days beforehand, the Swiss version of Race-Across-America (RAAM), the Tortour challenges the racers with 1000km through Switzerland.

Oh yea, and then there is a race in Mallorca in September and a training weekend at Alpe d`Huez.
With the very centric location, Switzerland not only offer national but international cycling experience: Whether you want to enjoy a crêpe two hours West in France or a home-made pizza two hours South in Italy or a Linzer Torte two hours East in Austria or Black Forest cake two hours North in the Black Forest, Germany. Destinations are infinite and the variety for cycling unbelievable.

I will be posting all my rides on twitter (@MonikaSattler) for those who are visiting the heart of Europe and need some riding routes.

Here are some pictures from some of my cycling tours and two amateur videos.

View from the train towards where we are heading

Arrival at the train station

On top of the Furka Pass

More Furka

In the distance: Grimsel Pass

Along the river back to the train station

The video is turned to the side but it`s the sound that counts.