Do you want the tough route or the really tough route?
The Cyclist team started from the small town of Innertkirchen, about 90km south-east of Berne. Follow Route 6 south and you’re quickly on the first HC climb of the day, the Grimsel pass – 27km at an average gradient of over 5%, topping out at 2,165m. At the summit you arrive in Gletsch and turn left on to Route 19, where a short descent leads to the climb up to the second major col, the Furka pass at 2,429m. A long descent brings you to Andermatt where you take a left onto Route 2, following signs to Wassen. Finally you take Route 11 over the Susten pass, a 20km climb averaging 6.6% to a height of 2,264m. Then it’s a freewheel all the way home.
Not tough enough? Try turning right at Gletsch instead of left (see map). This extra chunk will add another 50km to your ride and, more importantly, tag on the Passo Novena and the St Gotthard pass, both HC climbs.
Total distance: 125km
Total elevation: 4,547m
How we got there
Flying Singapore Airline’s (www.singaporeair.com) from Sydney, with one short stopover in Singapore, we reached Zurich in 31hrs. Once in the Swiss capital we jumped aboard the train (timetables are available here www.raileurope.com.au) and travelled an hour south to reach Berne. Take an iPod or some CDs for entertainment– French radio is rubbish. My preference is audio books or some podcasts as they while away the time perfectly.
The Innertkirchen area is relatively cheap in summer. We stayed at Hotel-Restaurant Alpina, Innertkirchen (www.alpina-ritzli.ch/hotel.asp), where prices start from $45pp per night. See the Swiss tourist board (www.myswitzerland.com) for help locating and booking accommodation.
Read more in Cyclist, full feature article in issue one