Saturday 28 September 2013

Day 8: His Majesty the Great Saint Bernard

Today was the most amazing day of my trip. Perhaps the planning was a little too challenging, more than 3000 meters in altitude with the trailer carriage and about 140 km in length. I'm almost going to... take the train ... come on ... Arriving would not have the same value.

Anyway, the day was great, breakfast with two Chinese tourists visiting Europe, I love the sense of losing the Asians in moving around the European buffets, I can understand it and remind me of my feeling the first time I've been to Asia. I left Montbovon with the greetings and encouragement of the managers who were really kind and helpful to me.

The weather was a little windy and cool, anyway during the day, especially in the lowest part from Aigle to Martigny, the temperaature also touched almost 30 degrees.

The climb to the Col des Les Mosses was very pleasant for the views and characterized by the descent from the cows' herds (Désalpe de L'Etivaz). This event has its center at Etivaz (which is also the name of a cheese) where many people gathered and passing through these transepts with these side walls of people gave me the impression of arriving in a cycling race. Someone jokingly excited me, with a cyclist support, that was fun and gave me a pleasant positive energy.
The streets were closed to allow the passage of the herds. For me it was not a big hitch, indeed a pleasant diversion, while for cars and trucks there was a nearly total block that allowed me to travel on the road almost in complete solitude.
The descent towards Aigle was very fast and characterized by the passage in the area of terraced vineyards (The secret of Aigle's wine). The descent towards Aigle is suggestive for the top view of the medieval castle (Château d'Aigle).

Aigle is also famous for the majestic velodrome called Word Cycling Center.

From Aigle to Martigny the road is almost totally flat and quite boring and in some places it has been really hot and I stopped to take off both sleeves and leggings.

Arrived at Martigny it's time to stop for a sandwich. After the lunch break I'm again blocked because of the Martigny Fair that forces me to a deviation from the road suggested by the navigator.

The long and endless climb up the 2473 meters altitude of the Great St Bernard Pass begins. I do not conceal that I have had a few moments of doubt about how to finish the stage within the day. Over 100 km I even notice a physical decline. Before arriving at Colle junction, I stop for a couple of times to eat, before a pizza and then a sandwich. hoping that the food will give me a nice charge.

Up to the crossroads to the Pass the road does not present excessive slopes, maximum 6-7%, after the crossroads that leads to the tunnel (which is forbidden bor bikes) the slopes turn around 10% with some point of 11%.

Once the crossroads is passed, abandoned the road to the tunnel, the landscape changes, the road rises steeply and the traffic collapses, the vegetation is almost completely missing, a surreal silence falls and finally I can hear the sounds of the mountain, the sound of the wind and the birds.

Occasionally these strange giant mushrooms appear, hypothesis that they are the ventilation systems of the Gran San Bernardo tunnel and that they have this shaper for the snow which is very high in winter and the wide roof to prevent the snow coming in.

From the Swiss side, the climb is very long, 55 km long, unfortunately when I'm at the top is almost dark and very low clouds, the conditions do not seem to be the best to start a 45 km downhill, good chance for stop and try the alternative of sleeping at the Hotel de l'Hospice that I suggest as good alternative. The room is not hot, but the view is great at least I suppose it should be if there was no fog.

I also take the opportunity to thank the Hotel Hirondelle they have been very helpful and they have realized my objective difficulties that have led me to stop before, surely I will not fail to be

GPS Tracking

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Complete Photo Album

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Video about thr Desalpe de L'Etivaz (Château-d'Oex), which sanctions the end of summer for the alpine pastures.

Scared ... chased by a cow

Video about de L'Etivaz cheese

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