Today will be a landmark day, a new country. Starting out from Kruth in the Vosges and ending in Basle in Switzerland, actually, sort of in Switzerland, France and Germany. A ride of 70 miles is planned, but first we have to get over Le Grand Ballon. 1,400 metres of torture! Followed by a similar terrifying descent – anyone in the club knows I go up hills better than I go down them – think it’s the fear of heights thing, coupled with lack of balls in my older age!! None of this helped by the fact Luke told me that you can blow your tyres up if you’re on the brakes too much going down these mountains as they heat the rims up so much. And to be fair I could actually smell burning rubber yesterday and when intermittently stoping and checking, the rims were red hot. I was literally burning rubber at 10 mph!!
Learned a couple of things here in the Vosges. Firstly it’s blooming freezing up a mountain and secondly, nature, and in particular owls, can be very loud! What a freezing night.
First things first though, pack up and get breakfast. That can of cold ravioli has not done the job!!
OK, so it’s now 14:00, and we’re in Mullhouse. One thing that didn’t happen today was the climbing of the mountain. We started up it around 9 ish and it was absolute torture. Some might say I’ve bottled it, but given that I still have 80 miles to cycle today and 16 more days of this, I decided that to climb it would destroy my legs. More hills to climb tomorrow ! This is how it looked from the valley.
We had some lunch in Mullhouse, another lovely looking town that I didn’t see much of, and then headed east along the canal Rhone au Rhine towards Basle. One thing of note… the architecture in the Vosges and even more so as we travel through Alsace and into Mullhouse is German or at least what I would consider typically German or specifically Bavarian. Aparantly these parts of France have been passed between/fought over for years between the 2 countries.
The canal turns south and we have a 25 mile pedal left. Around Kems we caught our first glimpse of the Rhine.
The final 15 miles into Basel was fairly standard cycling the EV6 along the canal until just outside Basel where we were diverted into an industrial estate. Have to say the ‘border crossing’ was somewhat underwhelming:
but I can at least say I have now cycled from the Atlantic Coast across the entirety of France.
After what seemed like an age cycling round and round Baske we found our hotel and Matt arrived as planned.
All change tomorrow. Luke heads home and Matt and I head along the Rhine towards Lake Konstanz and then the mighty Danube.
Here are some more shots of today.