Fairdale Over the Alps April 15, 2020

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The road got really hectic with traffic and the bike route got insanely steep and it didn’t go where we wanted it to. A 50mph headwind kicked up and stung us in the face with road grit and my glasses were lost. 

This is the strongest headwind I’ve ever encountered in 31 years of road riding and it lasted for what must have been over 2 hours. I think this is also where we accidentally ended up on a highway. With Swiss truck drivers honking at us we knew that we had to get off of it as quickly as possible.

I had hope for pedaling to the “next exit” but Taj convinced me that we needed to get off the road immediately. This resulted in throwing the bikes over an 8-9 foot high farming fence and climbing over it. A police officer witnessed the whole thing and didn’t bother us.

Chris Cotsonas

The wind eventually slowed, the road got steep and the traffic got sketchy from crowds of people going on vacation. We also ran into road construction and knew it was time to hop on a train for a quick leap away from this difficult road. 

The Nufenen Pass was closed with 22 feet of snow and avalanche warnings.

We headed up it anyway.

Nufenen Pass

Before the trip we decided we really wanted to climb the famous Nufenen Pass. We were sad when our hotel told us it was closed and showed us photos of 22 feet of snow at the top. It was mid-June but it had been a big snow year. Our hotel was at the very base of the climb so we left our bags behind and decided to ride up as far as we could.

After sneaking around a barrier, we had an amazing climb. The entire mountain was all to ourselves. No traffic, no one around, and no heavy bags loaded with gear. We were able to climb about half way up before being turned back by snow and it was unforgettably beautiful the whole time.

A glorious Alpine pass all to ourselves.

Myself and Chris on an Alp that was closed to the rest of the world. It was just us and hundreds of marmots that we had to be mindful of when descending at full speed.

Chris: Our hotel in Andermatt had sheep grazing out the window, a family playing outdoor table tennis, an elevator without a door on it, and a shower that left you exposed to anyone else that was in the room. 

Taj was feeling a little under the weather after we arrived and I went out on a gravel ride toward the St Gotthard Pass (also closed due to snow). The path I used passed dozens of cows and flower spotted fields like something straight out of The Sound of Music. The views of the mountains on this part of the trip were unbelievable. Photos will never do them justice.

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