June 27, 2004: Meieringen - Andermatt
Make sure to read to Max's story about this day!
In the morning Max, Hans, and I rode the few kilometers from Meieringen (595m) uphill and then down into the Aareschlucht to Innertkirchen (625m), where a fork in the road allows you to either climb the Sustenpass (2224m) or the Grimselpass (2164m). Having climbed the Sustenpass in 2002, I looked forward to climbing the Grimselpass this time around.
The climb up the Grimselpass was beautiful. Hans was in good shape, but took his time to ride up, and Max stayed with him. I sometimes rode ahead, but waited for them to catch up. It got colder, more rugged, and snowy as we approached the summit. By the time we reached the summit at 2164m, I was wearing armwarmers and a thin coat against the cold wind.
The fast descent into Gletsch was very pretty and my first real switchback-infused experience of the trip. In Gletsch we had a rather expensive lunch accompanied by awful music in the background sung by (what seemed to be) a drunkard who was hired for the occasion.
Hans, Max, and I left then began climbing the Furkapass where I was quickly passed by a group of cyclist who seemed to be in some sort of race or training. Max tried to keep up with them for a while until he stopped to make photos of the Rhôneglacier. Max noted that the glacier had receded significantly since the last time he had been there and continued to rant ominously about global warming. The last bit of the Furkapass, around Hotel Belvédère, was so steep that I had to stand up on the peddles to keep going. By the time we reached the snowy top of the Furkapass (at 2429m) there were a few worrisome drops of rain, but luckily it stayed mostly dry.
The fast descent into Reealp (1538m) and, from there, the slight downhill to Hospental (1452m) were pleasantly accompanied by a nice, warm tailwind. We all felt super. Unfortunately, our good mood was rudely disturbed when Hans fell from his bike due to the bad pavement in Andermatt (1447m). His front wheel got caught between the cobblestones and a nasty elbow wound was the result. Max took him to the local army hospital, while I checked into a hotel and took a shower. Hans turned out to be quite OK and so, in the evening, we all enjoyed the "militär Portion" of food and the bowl of apple sauce for SFr. 8 (!) at the Hotel zur Sonne.