[ blog » 2021 » 07_Tour_Italy ]d28: The Rhine ( by Philipp Gesang, location: A Train to Stuttgart)


Again the day cleanly split into two parts: the ascent to the Fluelapass in the morning and the descent towards Lake Constance in the afternoon. At the idyllic but icy cold campsite the sun dawned only around 8:00 h when it rose to a sufficient angle above the high mountain ridges. In fact that was the case in the entire town of Zernez, with the early sunsets these guys really don't get to enjoy the sun a lot up there.

Climbing my way out of that dark valley I appreciated the cool temperature and the light, chilly breeze. Thanks to these conditions I needed just one bottle of water for an 800 m ascent despite constant sunshine. The road was straight for the most part with few switchbacks, following the northern slope of the valley. I had misremembered the altitude of the Fluela and was quite surprised when I reached the pass a hundred meters below what I was expecting. Near the pass sign I had a chat with a guy from Romania for who this was just the first of three climbs today, he was headed for the Ofenpass and the Umbrail, pretty much what I did yesterday in reverse.


The descent from the Fluela down to Davos was as straight as the ascent. A relaxed downhill if there ever was one, reminded me of the downhill from the Iseran through the Isere valley. I had to lose another 1000 m from Davos to the Rhine which wasn't quite as laid back. The main road was mostly off limits to cyclists and the cycle route that followed it meandered through the countryside.

Surprisingly, that improved a lot at the Rhine. This year I decided to not take shortcuts and follow the Eurovelo route. Which was smoothly tarmaced all the way to Lake Constance and a pleasure to ride.

Until the weather changed, that is. Until around 14:00 h it was reasonably dry with only a slight headwind. None of the tailwind the forecast assured me I was going to have, but still tolerable. At some point that changed and strong winds went from the west, pushing a dark gray wall of clouds over the Rhine valley. With them came the rain which at times "fell" almost horizontally due to overpowering gusts that threatened to shove me down from the dike. Puddles were forming where the cycle route went in the flooding area behind the dike. I guess they didn't waste much thought on drainage when they planned that road, I mean what idiot goes out to cycle in torrential rain anyway, right? Right?!

When the rain got really bad, as in Scotland grade bad, I decided didn't feel like camping tonight. The plan was to continue at least to Constance tomorrow but in these awful conditions it seemed wiser to abort early and take a train instead. The closest train hub was Bregenz so I had no choice but to push on till Lake Constance. Another rather long day, 150+ kilometers (not exactly sure as I forgot to start the GPS recording when I left the campsite) including a decent climb -- not too shabby a conclusion. I even arrived in time to catch a train home. And even had the time to grab a Kebap in Lindau, the one food item I desperately missed in Italy!


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