Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 14: Linthal to Fluelen

 
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Despite all the rain the day before, it was beautiful and sunny by the time breakfast was ready. Nothing but blue sky greeted us as we left Hotel Adler to head up to the first cobblestone section of Klausen pass.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

Klausen is a pass which climbs in 2 stages. The first steep section starts right past Linthal, and goes up to over 1300m into the Urnerboden valley. The section through the Urnerboden Valley is almost flat, and then the road rises steeply again until the pass summit (1952m) is reached.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

The day got warm surprisingly quickly, and we enjoyed the cool tunnel in the first steep section as a relief from the heat. Phil was clearly quite over his cold, as he pulled rapidly away from us in this section, and waited for us as we struggled to make it into the valley. Once we hit the valley, we had a gentle tailwind that pushed us rapidly towards the second climb, though we did stop in the shade of a restaurant awning for a bit to eat and rest.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

The final push was too steep to attempt all at once, but fortunately there was no need to do so that day. While the air was hazy, the views all around us were still as gorgeous as ever, and the sound of cowbells surrounded us and made us feel uplifted. We were passed by many unloaded cyclists, and many cyclists, loaded and unloaded came down the other way, including a pair of girls no older than 14 on loaded touring bikes. When we got to the summit it was finally cool enough that we had to put on our jackets again.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

Lunch at the summit was measly and expensive. I would have waited until later, but I had tried to make a reservation for the Hotel Posthaus yesterday but Stefan the owner told me that this was their last rest day before the summer season, so we could not stay there, or have lunch there.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

The descent of Klausen is dramatic. With sheer drop offs and steep grades all the way down to the first retro-grade at Unterschahen, a good bike handler could hit almost arbitrarily high speeds if there were no traffic. Unfortunately, there's quite a bit of traffic on the road, and it's too narrow to risk a head-on collision, so I pulled the brakes more often than I would have liked. Nevertheless, I was not worried at all about tire blow-off, since there was plenty of room in between braking points for the rims to cool off.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

At the retro-grade, we shed our jackets, and started climbing. In the past, this retro-grade had caused me no end of trouble in the rain and cold, but today with warm temperatures and relatively fresh legs it was OK.

Once in Altdorf, we stopped at the same grocery store I stopped at in 2005, shivering in hypothemia, and bought groceries for a second lunch. We then rolled down to Fluelen where I knew a train would take us to Goschenen, not wishing to add another 500m of climbing in the afternoon heat when we could sleep high and cool and descend to the start of Sustens pass the next day.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

At Goschenen, it started to rain as we left the train station, so rather than scout around to look for the best deal, we stayed at the same hotel Mike and I stayed at the previous time, which was the Wellness-Hotel zum Weissen Rossli. The person running the hotel was the only Chinese person in town. She didn't remember me from last time, but she also didn't know I was Chinese as well.

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