Friday, June 26, 2009

Swiss Nationals Time Trial & Stockhorn

The past two days have been pretty busy for Shannonand me. Wednesday was an early wake-up and a nice 2-hour ride out past Bergdorf and through beautiful, forested valleys and back to Zöllbruck. As soon as we got back, we had a lunch of another traditional Swiss meal called Raclette. This involved a small “oven” that is put on the table and personal-sized square pans with mini spatulas. You put a slice of cheese in the pan and put it in the oven. When it is completely melted you pour it over hot boiled potatoes, scraping out every last bit of cheese out with the spatula. We also dined on the ever amazing salad we have with every lunch, made with lettuce from the mom’s garden. Amazing. Here is a picture of the oven with the pans with cheese:

After the meal, we met up with the team car and journeyed to Nyon, in the French region of country to help out and watch the girls’ national’s time trial. The region looked much less lush than Zöllbruck, more arid, and full of more gentle mountains in comparison to the sharp ones here. During the time trial, we were lucky enough to get to go in the follow car for Sereina. Yep, riders here are allowed a follow car and each has a lead motorcycle so no wrong turns here! That was fun. The course was super windy by U.S. standards and mostly on one-lane roads through farmland. There were a couple short climbs, too to mix it up. The total course was only 18K, quite a bit shorter than last year’s 40K TT in the U.S.! The team did pretty well, getting most of the spots from 5th to 10th, bested only by some Cevelo gals. I definitely wish I was able to compete- the course looked awesome!

Early Thursday morning we journeyed with Bruno's parents to his business, Bike-Imports, his online bike shop. It was pretty neat. Think of hundreds upon hundreds of shelves of bike parts.

We somehow were somehow convinced to go Stockhorn, a rather large mountain that we would take a tiny cable car up. I don't like heights like that and neither does Shannon, so I'm not quite sure how we got convinced to go do this. We pretty muched squealed the whole way up. The view was absolutely breathtaking. The mountain flowers, the vast mountains, the clouds! At the tip-top we had a picnic with Susanna's parents. After playing in the tiny bit of snow at the top and a hot kaffee, we headed back to the middle station for a "short" hike around the lake. I guess from not walking and just riding, I got pretty tired from this 40-minute hike. It was very beautiful, which made up for the soreness I'd later feel in my calves. Eventually we left and headed back to our town in the car. Shannon and I were so worn out we ended up sleeping the whole way home and our ride ended up just being to the post-office. Oops.

You can't even see the first stop for the cable car...

The stairway to heaven?

Amazing...hard to believe a lake is below these clouds

Thunersee (Lake Thun) is below these clouds and the Alps are behind the other ones

The amazing view from the top

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