Friday, 31 August 2018

Summer classic in Switzerland - Grimsel, Furka and Susten pass

For roadies living in Switzerland the Grimsel, Furka, Susten, Gotthard and Nufenen is a "must". For those living outside Swiss it's "should". Just like "Spring classics" for pro riders, you must do it at least once a year if you really love riding in the mountains.
For me, one of the most beautiful passes. I ride them several times a year and never enough.

This time we went to ride Grimsel, Furka and Susten pass with Guy at the end of July. Perfect check before Alpenbrevet! 
Early morning wake up in Vevey, quick look into the weather forecast - all perfect. Good to go, car already packed with my lovely ritchey road logic inside.
From Vevey we drive into Innertkirchen, close to Meiringen. I personally prefer to start from Innertkirchen if I ride the loop from Grimsel to Furka and then Susten. Last descend leads you directly back to Innertkirchen so it's just perfect.

Grimselpass - 2164 meters

Grimsel is a long climb with uneven grading, sometimes very steep, sometimes less but all the time up. After passing few tunnels the top starts with first huge lower dam as the road climbs to a large lake. After passing the lake, it climbs past two more dams, above another lake and up to the pass itself, at 2164m altitude.

We rode the loop during sunny weekend so the top of the col was super crowded. Without much stop we started descending direction to Furkapass.




Furkapass - 2429 meters

With 2434 meters Furkapass is the fourth highest paved mountain pass in Switzerland. The altitude is impressive but riding it from Grimselpass it's a piece of cake. 

Descending to Gletch which is at 1768 meters you climb less than 1000 meters up to Furka. Despite of less challenging climb it's a beautiful part of the loop. The road is very impressive almost like stitched to the mountain. 

The road over Furkapass was built in 1867. Furka with the beautiful Belvedere hotel became very famous after James Bond and  Goldfinger movie:

Belvedere today, remained unchanged and looks exactly the same as 50 year ago in Bond's movie:

Descending from Furka to Andermatt is a pure joy. With the good weather and no traffic you can get up to pretty high speeds there.








Sustenpass - 2282 meters

Maybe it's just me, but this climb is the hardest from all above. Doing this loop in such order, Susten is the last climb. It's not particularly steep except few last hairpins but it's a long, with constant grade climb. In the sunny days there is no shadow on the way so you climb in a full sun.


After a long, hot climb you reach the top which is usually pretty chilly. The view on the pass is just stunning!


If you'll plan the day well you will descend from Susten around 5-6PM when the sun and light is the most appropriate for photos. Below pictures are without any touch of photoshop...






















Those three cols will take you something between 6-7h of riding including stops. It's a perfect loop to check your fitness, especially before Alpenbrevet. The equivalent of Silver loop with 120km and almost 4k climb is not too difficult even for beginners.

After riding that with the smile and not suffering too much I was very confident that I will ride well the official Alpenbrevet 2018 Gold race. I wish I'd know how wrong I was then... small sneak peak preview of Alpenbrevet 2018:

More about that in the next blog entry! Stay tuned!

Cheers
Tomasz
blog-roadtripping

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