[ blog » 2020 » 08_Tour-Alps ] d09: Saillon to Oberwald – The upper Rhone (by Philipp Gesang, location: Oberwald campsite)
2020-08-16

Sunday Morning Troubles

For the first 95 km the biggest problem was locating a shop that would open on a sunday. Expecting the worst I wanted to be covered on the nutrition front so I filled my panniers to the brim with high calory density food, in case there weren't any shopping opportunities further up in the mountains. That worry turned out to be unjustified and I did 1300 meters of altitude with those excess kilos, but better safe than sorry right?

A Day of Contrasts

Sion, Sierre, Brig, and numerous other picturesque towns passed by quickly, and justified frequent stops for shootings photos. The cycle route following the Rhone uphill was very flat, until it wasn't. And then the true second part of the day began, with 95 km already behind us. Some switchbacks into the climb we split up again, allowing each to continue on his own pace. I ran into a few other tourers though from Switzerland and Italy and had some enthusiastic conversations. (Surly riders unite!) One girl who rode a fairly light setup blurted out "How can you ride uphill with two panniers when I have trouble going downhill with only one?!" Well, I wasn't exactly riding at that point, more carrying and pushing over a 20 % incline on the ascent from the Rhone bridge.

After days on tarmac, I usually welcome a trail for a change, but today was a bit different. Only some offroad sections on that ascent were of the pleasant kind. Others were more of avalanche debris like consistency. Or rough rocks pinned to the floor with concrete. On a 19 % incline. What the heck, Switzerland, you're telling me you ran out of money for a simple bike route? Around 15 km before Oberwald I had enough and went up to the road. I'll gladly trade those quiet but rough trails for impatient drivers and kilometers long galleries.

In the end, it didn't rain all day despite different forecasts, and I arrived way before 17 h even, without suffering damage to the bike. Call that a success if you will.

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