SummerTravel

First Transalp – Swiss Route

Mountain lake

18.- 31.07.2007

What is the ultimate Mountainbike Tour in Europe? Obviously, it’s a Transalp – meaning crossing the alps from either direction. But exactly this makes it complicated. Where to start, which oft he many magnificent alp passes should we cross and where do we get the best GPS routes and maps from? In addition there is the question about logistics and how to navigate in a terrain where you don’t have a clue where you are?

With all of these questions popping up in our heads we did some research in books, magazines and online communities. And with a little support from friends who already did a Alp crossing on their own and last but not least our family we put together a route.

So if you are on the verge of planning a transalp, we have some lessons learnt we are happy to share:

1) the best books (sorry we only have the German titles) for planning a trip like this are “Alpencross” from Achim Zahn and “Traumtouren Transalp” written by Ulrich Stanciu. They both have good tips and help you planning the trips and you even get a free GPS track planning tool which in the end exports your track as GPX-file ready for upload on your bike computer.
2) There are many blogs on the internet which you could use to get some packing tips or some infos on the best accommodations on the route. And of course there is strava, that helps with the routing, too.
3) A GPS is always a good thing to have. At the time when we did the tour it was not so much to choose from, nowadays most of the high end bike computers have also GPS build in with turn by turn our breadcrumb routing. When biking offroad I found the one where you follow breadcrumbs often a bit easier.

Once you are done with the planning and the organizational part (logistics, accomodations, etc.) then it is all about having luck with the weather. If that also is perfect, as it was in our case, a Transalp is pure adventure, fun and joy. Weh ad the luxury to be accompanied by our parents (Ingrid and Peter) who took over the part of driving our escort vehicle.

Every day when we arrived at the end of the stage everthing was prepared. We were checked in at the hotels, the luggage was on the room and they had already organized everything for us to clean our bikes. Sometimes we even met them on a mountain top which was an additional motivation for us. Thanks so much for being around us and supporting us! Also a big thanks to Christine, where we could stay for a night and got proper sport nutrition to conquer the stages to come and some hints on where best to cross the passes nearest to her home.

Our tour started in Oberstdorf in Germany and went all the way down to Lago di Como. The route was full of passages where you only could carry your bike (up and down), magnificent mountain tops we went over, fast and tricky down hills and quite a nerve racking time when we had to cross ladders at the Schroffenpass (having in mind that we are afraid of heights. Nevertheless, we will for sure remember this tour as one of the most fantastic in our live.

Tourdata:

Date: 22.- 27.7.2007
Number of stages: 6
Length:
286 km
Total Elevation: 9.686 hm

Route:

Route
Our Route
Profile
Profile and Surface

 

 

 

 

Getting to the start

18.-20.07.2007

To be honest, there are probably easier and more comfortable ways to get to Oberstdorf. But since our wine depot started to get empty and the airfares for travelling with bikes were ridiculous we decided to og by car – or to put it more accurate by a nine seater bus.

After going down the norwegian Eastcoast and along the Swedish westcoast we went through Denmark to our first stop in Hamburg. After the first stop there we made it to Munich to our some dear friends of ours to Andechs near Munich where we had a great evening together with them and some barbequing. Since our bikes got stolen a couple of weeks before our Transalp we first had to go to our bike shop of choice in Kirchberg – Toni’s Proshop – to take over our brand new ones. The bad thing though with the new bikes, now we had one thing less we could blame for not performing in the up/downhills.

From Toni we went directly to Oberstdorf where our Transalp started the next morning.

Stage 1: Oberstdorf – Dalaas

22.07.2007

Now it was time to rock’n’roll. The morning rain made that the start oft he stage got a bit wet. However, we didn’t cycle too much before we had to get out of the settle to carry and push our bikes over the Schroffenpass – the first test for us and our fear for heights. After we survived this first tough ascent the rest of the stage was fantastic. When we came to Dalaas, our parents were already waiting with a beer for us and organized a place to wash our bikes before we drove to Katharina’s mum for the night.

Stage data:

Length: 56,30 km
Ascent: 1645 hm
Weather: In the begining light rain, afterwards better and better until the sun came out
Accomodation: in Oberstdorf “Sascha’s Kachelofen” and in Dornbirn at Christines 5-Star Hotel
GPS-Track, Map and Profile:

Download

Impressions:

Stage 2: Dalaas – Klosters

23.07.2007

After the first stage with all its long passages of pushing and carying our bikes left its trace in our legs. But we decided to rather go for active regeneration and started relatively fast up Kristberg. Also the downhill to Schruns was n obig deal. But when we climbed up Gargellen we had to fight not only the ascent but also heat and sun. Especially Roland had a hard time and needed a stop for a toast in Gargellen. After that we managed ride up to Schlappinerjoch – again with a bit of bike carying.

While we were figthing our way up the mountains our support team took the cable car up to the peaks around Klosters and prepared everything for our arrival. This and the whirlpool in our hotel in Klosters helped us forgetting the torturing on this stage 😉

Stage data:

Length: 46,4 km
Ascent: 2335 hm
Weather: In the beginning quite nice but on the way up to Gargellen almost impossible hot.
Accomodation: Hotel Sport Klosters
GPS-Track, Map and Profile:

Download

Impressions:

Stage 3: Klosters – Arosa

24.07.2007

In the morning we woke up with blue sky and sun even though the weather forecast was much more pesimistic. Motivated by the sun, we conquered the first mountain. When we were in the middle of the first climb the weather forecast proved us wrong and a heavy thunderstorm started. Even though every now and then you could spot some blue in the sky, it became a very wet stage.

Already when we reached the Durannapass after several breaks because oft he thunderstorms, it became clear that we have no chance to reach the end oft he stage before dark. Therefore we were happy that we have our parents that were there to pick us up in Langwies. Before that we had a muddy but epic downhill – our bikes really have desserved the shower after this day.

In the evening we went out for a great italian pizza in Arosa together with our parents.

Stage data:

Length: 42,1 km
Ascent: 1761 hm
Weather: At the start beautiful after that thunderstorms and heavy rain
Accomodation: Hotel Garni Praval
GPS-Track, Map and Profile:

Download

Impressions:

Stage 4: Arosa – Savognin

25.07.2007

A dream day and an epic stage. The stage and the vista make up for the rainy day yesterday. First up from Arosa tot he Hörnli-Alp. A quite steep climb, especially afyer the Carmenna-Hütte is rewarded by an epic view from the top. After a short chitchat with our parents on the mountain top (weh ad a little race bike against cable car), we went on over Urdenfüggli to Lenzerheide.

While we were on doing a short coffe break, our service team already organised everything so that we could deal with a small technical issue (I needed to repair my cleeds).

After this short pitstop we continued via Tiefencastel to Sauvognin where the top modern Cube Hotel awaited us.

Stage data:

Length: 47,8 km
Ascent: 1900 hm
Weather: Just an epic day
Accomodation: Cube Savognin
GPS-Track, Map and Profile:

Download

Impressions:

Stage 5: Savognin – Vicosoprano

26.07.2007

While the kids are conquering the uphills, the parents are shopping in St. Moritz. Besides the activities also the route to Vicosoprano was a bit different – while the parents cross the Julier- and Malojapass, we had to take the Septimerpass. Especially Katharina had a hard time with with her butt hurting. But despite that it was another amazing day in the saddle.

From Savognin we rode through some mosquito filled swamplands to Alpe Flix. Next we went down to the beautiful Lake Marmorera. After that we had to take the main road to Bivio with heavy traffic. Once we came to Bivio it went steep up to the Septimerpass, an ancient roman route to the south.

Knowing that this is the last big mountain on the way to our destination we were extra motivated and took the peak with ease. The downhill to Vicosoprano was just fun…

Stage data:

Length: 41,9 km
Ascent: 1650 hm
Weather: Great weather to bike, on top of the Septimerpass quite windy
Accomodation: Hotel Piz Cam
GPS-Track, Map and Profile:

Download

Impressions:

Stage 6: Vicosoprano – Colico

27.07.2007

Our last stage and most of it going downhill. At the beginning of the stage we went through some nice little mountain villages with narrow and winding roads. But from Chiavenna to Colico we had to take the main road. To be quite honest, it would have been better to take this part with the car, since it is not the most picturesque part of the tour. In addition it was super hot there that day (far above 40 degrees on the celcius scale). With a little bit of drafting and knowing that our parents waited for us in Colico with some “Gelati”, the last kilometres were done fast.

After the ice we had an adventurous ride on extremely narrow streets alongside Lake Como to Lake Lugano.

This ended a beautiful Alp Crossing and we are already planning the next adventures…

Stage data:

Lenght: 52 km
Ascent: 395 hm
Weather: Brutally hot and almost no clouds in the sky
Accomodation: Parkhotel Villa Nizza
GPS-Track, Map and Profile:

Download

Impressions:

Relaxing at Lake Lugano and in Dornbirn

28.-30.07.2007

Six days of biking were done and also our crew deserved some rest. So we decided to take some days at the lake Lugano and in Dornbirn to rest and enjoy the summer.

Here some pictures of the relaxing closing of a great vacation together with our parents.

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