Day 15

My side stand is giving out. Well, not exactly the stand but merely the metal attachment. It is actually bending! Inconvenient, but not a crucial part at all. And certainly a pretty lame reason to quit now :D

I'm attacking the mountain without mercy. The approach goes quick. Much quicker than expected! Moreover the road in "Goeschenen" is closed for cyclist due to road works, and a bus transfer (5 CHF) is enforced. A few minutes later I find myself in Andermatt, it's only 11 am. That just shaved an hour of my ascent!

I'm taking the time to cook myself a festive meal and chill at the local camp site.

At dusk, a female cyclist arrives. She's not alone, but carrying a housecat with her which promptly goes to explore my pots and pans, bags and of course my tent. Later I will find out that she's just been on the road for some 14 months, cycling many countries I plan to visit.

Day 16 - The Gotthard pass

This would have been the hardest day so far. Except that it isn't. For sure it is a demanding climb, mind you with a heavy (~48 kg incl. luggage) touring bike, but I guess my previous training in the Swiss hills, plus the rest days, showed some effects! When I reach the top, I'm not nearly at the end of my reserves. I happily pose for the photo proof and down the mountain I roll again.

The personal speed record set that day (63.8 kph) probably will last for a while.

I want to reach Bellinzona today, which seems very doable, as it is all downhill from here. So do several groups of student cyclists apparently, which I overtake a few times.

Some 20km before my destination however, weather gets me: a huge rain storm surprises me and before I can find shelter I'm soaked to the bone. When the rain stops i continue cycling and a mere 10 minutes later, the streets are all dry.

I reward myself with a kebab sandwich and a night in a real bed that day (albeit a shared room) in a hostel that looks, or actually is a castle.

If I wasn't tired before, I surely am now: I go to bed at 9pm and won't awake until 6 the next morning.