The second day of the pioneering Lockton Zurich to Munich ride was... how shall we put it? Moist. Rider Matt Bugg of Make Architects pens today's piece, followed by a second blog from rider Kate Gordon of Aspire.
"Day two. We met the 100 miles of persistent, rarely easing rain with great humour and grit. Pushing through on the biggest climb of the day, to the top of the Gragethren ski resort, required determination and high spirits to battle the elements. The final 25% gradient ramp in the resort car park was the icing on the cake stop.
All along the route we were met with super climbs and stunning scenery, as we criss-crossed our way from Austria into Germany and back again five times. Grey blankets, down jackets and dry base layers featured heavily at the lunch and coffee stops, along with the usual array of pasta, cake and coffee. By the time we left each of the stops the floor looked like a swimming pool as our rain-absorbed gear percolated to a damp soggy-ness.
An incredible day only made possible by the cameraderie and teamwork of the riders and supporters keeping everyone going."
Kate Gordon fills in some of the detail:
"The theme for day two of the Lockton Cycle to EXPO REAL is 'rain and climbing'. At 7:30am we roll into the rain from Bregenz. The group stays together for the first 30km, riding south from Bregenz and then up, with views back over Lake Constance as we turn east.
There’s more 'up' for the next 20km as the group climbs at its own pace to the ski station at Grasgehren, a mix of long drags and flat sections until the final 10k or so when the road ramps up into switchbacks. Luckily there’s apple strudel and custard at the top, which goes a little way to reviving the group before they have to head out again - this time for a chilly, fast and wet 10k descent to the valley bottom followed by a 15km flat run.
As anyone riding in a group in heavy rain will know, the rain doesn’t just come from above, but also from the wheels in front and the tarmac below. So it is 20 very wet cyclists who tackle the final, shorter climb and roll into lunch, somewhere in Germany (having started the day in Austria). We sit warapped in blankets (Club Peloton’s finest) to warm up while tucking into enormous bowls of pasta and risotto.
It’s still raining just as hard as we head out for the afternoon. We ride alongside a lake, reminiscent of Loch Lomond, before rising up to take a cliff road hugging the steep valley side. The rain continues relentlessly but the group works hard as we head back into Austria and make our way alongside a stunning lake for a coffee stop, complete with blankets and another excellent selection of local cakes.
The final 28km of the day sees the group descending more hairpin bends as we cross the border into Germany again, taking a road along the valley bottom lined with mountains, the summits of which are shrouded in cloud. Despite 277km, 4,100m of climbing and a significant amount of rainfall, there has not been a single puncture in two days: testament to the smooth, clean roads of Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
The pace on the final run in is speedy as everyone is keen to get the hotel and, before long, the group arrives in picturesque Oberammergau and a well-deserved hot shower and beer.