We had planned to get from Lake Como to Zernez in two days, but when we encountered the crazy gradients yesterday and cut our ride short, we realised we would need three. Today we decided we would go to St. Moritz, only a 35 km ride, but over 1000 m of climbing!
When we were sitting having breakfast a Swiss lady who we met last night came over. When we told her what we were doing she puffed her cheeks out and said “it’s even hard in the car!”, while doing a hand gesture of a twisty uphill snake. We were sure we would be fine though, we’d just had a delicious yoghurt and melon breakfast after all. We set off and were greeted by enticing views of the mountains. We found that the road was indeed like a twisty uphill snake.
We puffed along for about an hour before stopping for some left-over pasta outside a post office. Anna then broke the news that we’d travelled six kilometres! Ah well, only another 29 km to go! Better get on with it!
We continued grinding up the hill, admiring the views, and cursing the motorcyclists that kept whizzing past us, often too close and always too loud for comfort.
We stopped after another 6 km for a snack. While we were eating, my bike fell over in the road after some more traffic had gone speeding past. I was not best pleased. When we started riding again I went off ahead of Anna and tried to work my frustration out on the next set of switchbacks. When I got to the top though I was still frustrated but now I was too hot as well. When Anna caught up we sat and chatted for a while and, feeling better, headed onwards.
Soon enough the valley we were in basically came to a dead end. We looked at the sheer wall in front of us. Is that the road?? Yep, there it was, switch-backing up this insanely steep gradient for a total vertical gain of 250 m.
We started to work our way up. There were temporary traffic lights at the bottom, which gave us a periodic reprieve from the motorcyclists. It was really hard work, and as we gained altitude it started raining, although I think most of it turned to steam as soon as it hit us!
Forty minutes and four sore knees later we were at the top, taking selfies as a record of our achievement. Yay for us!
We rolled on a bit further and had our last food stop round the back of a massive hotel that faced a lovely blue-green lake. Our view was of the car-park but we were out of the rain so we didn’t care!
We set out again along the shore of the lake, rejoicing in the flatness of the road. We whizzed along (compared to earlier anyway), and within another hour or so we pulled up at our campsite just outside San Moritz. This one costs almost 30 francs per night – we’re really going to have to re-think our budget here! On the plus side the campsite is lovely, the showers are really good and there is a nice little cafe serving tasty (also expensive) hot choccies.
Tomorrow we will DEFINITELY get to Zernez!