Video Length: 6:48
A bit of fitness might have come in handy
In 2016 we cycled over the Pyrenees as we made our way from Spain to France via Andorra. That alpine climb came at the end of our tour, when we were fit. Nevertheless it was hard work.
This year we planned to do something similar – cycle through Italy and finish at our mate Tony’s house in Switzerland. However we were booked for a few housesits in Italy and France and the way it all worked out, we had to start in Switzerland.
That meant cycling over the Swiss Alps in the first few days of our tour, with essentially no fitness. It was not ideal, by which I mean it was absolutely bloody horrendous.
When cycle touring we take the attitude that it’s not a race. When the going gets really tough (for me) we do 100 pedals then stop for a short rest. The International Man of Action could keep going forever.
We figured we’d just take it easy and do what we could, but we were set back by rain which meant we ran low on food. That put the pressure on to cover the miles, so then it wasn’t a matter of doing what we could, but doing what had to be done.
There was a low moment one night when my body went into a general meltdown. I was nauseated and shivering and thought I was going to pass out. Luckily I had recovered enough by the next morning that we could keep going. That’s when we filmed the opening segment of this video.
It was absolutely fantastic to make it to the top of Grimsell Pass, our first ascent. Down the other side was a town where we could stock up on food. I accidentally bought the worst tasting cheese in the world. I thought it was just a basic cheese so I bought TWO blocks! We have never tasted anything so bad but we had to eat it.
It was beyond thrilling to make it to the top of Nufenen Pass, the second ascent. That was the end of the alpine climbing and we had a screaming descent to look forward to. Curiously the descents are also hard work but the pain is overridden by the sheer bliss of the experience.