SUCH20

The Swiss Ultracycling Challenge took place between 2nd and 6th of September 2020. 
The concept was simple. Start at any train station in Switzerland. Visit all the 26 Swiss cantons as fast as possible. Get to Bern before Sunday at noon. @such.bike

Simone Eder and me raced (for the first time together) as a team. Cap number 104.

Although we “may” have not designed the fastest or the “easiest” route, and probably we were not the most efficient with the ride/stop ratio, we managed to cover 890Km in 2 days and 16h and finish well under our 3 day goal. 
I enjoyed every minute of it. 
The lakes, the hills, the fountains, the postboxes, the short nights, the scary trains, the laughs, the mistakes, the fog, the chase, the silences, the rivers, the train stations, the sunsets, the mornings, the gas stations, the hike-a-bikes, the mountains, and even the last 50k.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” says the proverb. I never really understood it till now. It was my first non-solo ultra event. With good company every thing was a bit easier. Thank you Simone!!!. It was a fantastic experience. TCR2022?

Thank you so much to everyone that helped in this crazy trip. Ayten and Thomas for being so incredible generous. Our children for letting us play. Voyage Cycling Store for the support. Marc and Vincent for creating such a wonderful event and investing so much time and energy. To Daniel for being such a great fox. To Roger for actually get out there to cheer on the side of the road. And to Fiona for slowing down next to us at the light stop, long enough to allow us to see that, a) she is not an alien, and b) her bike has brakes.

Consolation Tour Day 2

First a closed road by fallen trees around kilometer 9.  Then headwind most of the day. Plus the terrible heat of the french July sun. And nothing around. Nothing. Pas de tout. It seems that this part of the Burgundy, of mustard and wine fame, was empty. Villages were desert. Stores closed. Houses for sale. No “Boulangeries” or “Cafés” to be found. I did not even see vineyards.

Finding water was not easy. Had to use some of my ultra cyclist skills. 

To top it, Komoot challenged my off road cycling skill with some interesting route choices. Making my progress even slower. 

As sunset approached, I entered the “Parc Naturel Régionel du Morvan”, the air finally cooled down and everything seemed easier. As I still had not found a shop to resupply. I analysed my options. Checked Google. No shops, hotels or campings around. With a bag of mixed salted nuts, some dry figs and leftover crackers from the previous day. I started to look for a bivy spot.
The Lac du Crescent welcomed me with clouds of angry mosquitos but the views were to pretty to move further. I ate my crackers observing falcons and I fall asleep to a concert of frogs.

Only the landing of an owl in a near tree interrupted once the otherwise delightful night.

Consolation Tour Day 1

DAY 1.

Although I had been expecting it since the breakout of the COVID-19 crisis, facing the reality of the cancellation of the @northcapetarifawas not easy. Most of my year had been planned around the four weeks I reserved to ride across Europe, I had lost my motivation and finding a worthwhile destination for a tour seemed pointless. 

Luckily some unspected jobs popped up and kept me entertained the last couple weeks and quite unprepared, on the morning of July 7th, I took off for a little consolation ride. 

The plan? To cycle unsupported from Basel to Arles in France, crossing national parks, visiting a bunch of lakes, following some rivers and canyons.
On paper, a mellow 1400km in 7 days. Honestly, I thought it was gonna be a walk on the park. 

In mild weather and good spirits, we headed north into the Réserve Naturelle des Ballons Comptois.  (@simone._.eder joined me for most of day one) The beautiful light guided us through surprisingly thick and green forests, blue lakes and lonely roads, providing an unexpected sensory overload. 

The fact that the France map did not load in my GPS and that “I guess” that I forgot to control if @komoot had added too many “off road segments” to my route, was not going to ruin my vacation. Definitely a good start, i keep on repeating to myself.

Later on the day we rode west direction Dijon. We parted ways in the late afternoon. I rode alone a couple  more hours and set camp under the rising almost full moon at Km 217. I shared a quiet field along the Canal de Saône with a gigantic inquisitive hare and a million mosquitoes. 

I dreamed of a poissoness man eating crabs. 

Anteater?

I did not study fine arts for nothing. It shows, doesn’t it!?. 😂😂😂

Family Picture

Because I don’t think that I have actually ever had both bikes together in day light. I had to take a pic. The weight weenie in me was of course awaken.

Left:
TiZona
Wittson Supressio
@ 8.18Kg – As pictured with the mismatched wheels.


Right:
“Maggie”
Custom self designed Mile Eater/All-Roader
@ 11.69 Kg – As pictured with bags, aeroclips, complete tool kit, Pump, Garmin 525+, Garmin Etrex, Light, Spot Tracer, and electro kit inclusive 10000mA powerbank and camera.


TWO DAYS LATER UPDATE:

Just for the scientific sake of it, and planning for some gnarly route this coming saturday, I removed all the “Krempel” from Maggie. And shaved 2.3 Kg off the bike.

_______

ONE DAY LATER

Because yesterday night I blew the ride not being able to adjust the front derrailleur of Maggie while on the road. (the required hexagon tool in my multitool is too short, and had left the other one behind !!) Today I set myself to get dirty.

I adjusted the front and back derreilleurs, cleaned and oiled most everything and I even “SWAPPED THE BEARINGS” in the back wheel that had developed some play after exactly 13612Km. Seems to be a common defect of Zipp hubs. The process was quite easy, even without the proper tool. Some wood blocks and some ingenuity and it worked. Next time I will document it.
Cool to notice that the new bearings are “Swiss Made” and the original ones are marked “China”. Just saying.

And since I was at it. I organized and repacked the tool/repair kit. Happy to have it at 420g. (without the derraileur hanger)

So … ready for tomorrow. 9.82Kg with front and back lights, computer (525+), full toolkit and waterbottles.
Big mountain day ahead. New “Pablo curated route” properli called “The seven sisters” with 170Km and 4700vm!! Let see how old body holds.

Corona Time

So I “turned” 50 and my friends save the day. And everything is gonna be ok.

25.March.2020 // My mood is low, very low. The Corona crisis has hitted me hard. All my jobs as a freelance photographer have been cancelled or postponed and it seems that most likely I will have to put my ultra cycling plans for this summer on hold.
Going outside to ride, although allow by the Swiss authorities it seems not very solidary, … so basically i am getting ready for a grumpy birthday.

Surprise

A criptic message in my phone announces the existance of a present in my mailbox and a video to be unlocked. A selection of not very good photos of me playing with bicycles and an eye watering series of videos of some good friends wishing me a happy birthday. Not only they congratulate me for being old, they present me an amazing present. A brand new (blue) rain jacket that does not need presentation. I am now the proud owner of GORE-ROMANCE Shakedry jacket.

Do I love it? Oh yeeeeah!
Do I look good on it? You betcha! …