Saturday, June 21, 2014

Day 14- Pontarlier to Lausanne- 85km

After yesterday's off road extravaganza we were really hoping for some easy, smooth trails today on our departure from France and entry into Switzerland. Alas it was not to be! Straight from the get go on leaving Pontarlier we were on full blown hiking trails! Rocks, roots, big drops, cliff edges. It was unrideable. Our book did not say anything about the trails being unsuitable for bikes, and it offered no alternative. Ben could see no other way to go from the maps, so we had to suck it up and hike-a-bike for a very long time. I was getting a bit distraught. It was actually really dangerous. As experienced mountain bikers I can't imagine how the untrained cyclists before us have managed to get through this section without a breakdown (well maybe they did). After much hiking we emerged at what can only be described as a freeway. Cars and trucks hooning past at 100km per hour, with a teeny tiny shoulder lane. We had two options... Freeway or more hike-a-bike. I just couldn't handle any more, so I begged Ben that we take the road. So for the next 15-20km we rode on the very edge of the road with traffic flying past us. I had to control my nerves, breathe deep, grit the teeth, focus, and just keep pedalling. We tried to rejoin the trail at one section which was an old railway track but it was completely unrideable so we were forced back onto the freeway. It wasn't until we arrived in Jounge that the enormity of what just happened hit me. I was at the supermarket in the queue when I realised I was hyperventilating, I suddenly got dizzy and almost fainted. Quick smart I got myself a coke, sat down and tried to stop the panic attack. I'm not sure if it was a delayed reaction from the nerves on the road or thinking about the unknown ahead.... Will we have to hike 70km?!?! Will I have to ride 70km in traffic on a road which is certainly not supposed to have bikes on it?!?

Some rideable
Some not. Not worth a derailleur. Lots of big rocks.
Stairs anyone?


Admiring the views


Smiling but don't want to walk any more

Luckily Ben found a relatively easy route for us from Jougne to Orbe, with only one hike-a-bike section (which included stairs!). It was en-route to Orbe that we crossed the border from France into Switzerland! Ben didn't realise at first so I just stopped and yelled out "you are in Switzerland!! I am in France!!!" And he came back for a photo. From the border we took a well sealed road down to Orbe, and I really mean down! It was a massive descent!! I checked my speedo and I was clocking 50km/hr and Ben was in aero speeding ahead infront of me. He loves it. Me not so much. Not with all that luggage on the back. You really notice it when you go to brake and realise all your brake power is gone! The views on the descent were pretty spectacular. But what I noticed straight away on entry into Switzerland is that they really want you to know you aren't in France! Almost every house was flying the Swiss flag in their front yard.

At the French Swiss border!


We are in Switzerland!!!


Our first Swiss village

After a quick lunch break in Orbe with some picnic baguettes we headed off towards Lausanne. We were dreading returning to the VF trail so when we saw some signs for the Swiss cycle route 5 heading for Lausanne we made the decision to ditch the trail and take the well signed cycle route! This was the best decision of the day! Although it added an extra 15km to our day it meant we got to ride on some well sign posted roads, no navigation required, an NO WALKING! Yay!!! The cycle route followed a variety of trails, roads, country back roads, forrest trails, farm tracks, and a dirt track following the rail tracks. It was the highlight of the day. Lots of lovely views to enjoy without any traffic and safe in the knowledge that we wouldn't be taken anywhere unsafe that we couldn't ride.

On the cycle way




Cycle route 5 we love you!


2 days till the Col. It's there!

The cycle route was well signed all the way into Lausanne. Our ride ended with the climb up into the city to our hotel which we had thankfully already booked. LOTS of climbing. This city is built into the side of a mountain leading down to lake Geneva. Our entry took us past the lake which is pretty spectacular. We get to ride out that way tomorrow so more photos to come then. We are now enjoying some well deserved beer and going out later tonight for some fondue! Watching all the locals ride up the hill beside our bar is providing endless entertainment. It's seriously steep! And we just saw a lady towing a kid trailer behind her bike make it up! Any one who gets off and walks now is soft.


No comments:

Post a Comment