Malgré le goût amer laissé par l’annulation de nombreux événements en 2020, le bon côté des choses, c’était d'avoir davantage d'occasions de jouer les aventuriers près de chez soi, en Suisse.
J'adore l'endroit où je vis et je me sais très chanceuse d'avoir les Préalpes de la Suisse centrale comme terrain de jeu. Pouvoir passer du temps dans la nature et apprécier sa beauté est pour moi une énorme motivation pour sortir faire du cheval, courir, faire du ski, nager ou faire de la randonnée... et après de nombreuses années d'exploration, je pensais forcément connaître les montagnes et les forêts de ma région sur le bout des doigts.
Cette année, j'ai découvert qu'il restait encore des territoires à explorer ! Je me suis aventurée sur de nouveaux chemins, sentiers et cols où je n'étais jamais allé auparavant, parfois par accident, parfois grâce aux conseils d’amis tout aussi téméraires. Au final, je ne me suis pas amusée comme ça depuis des lustres, et je me suis rappelé pourquoi je faisais du sport : ce n'est pas pour m'entraîner à la course, c'est parce que j'aime ça*.
Cette collection rassemble toutes ces aventures de l’été 2020, qu’elles aient été vécues en courant, sur un vélo de route ou un gravel : un mélange de différents sports, parce que c'est ce que je fais ! Bien que j'aie été cycliste professionnelle sur route pendant quelques années, je ne suis pas vraiment une routarde dans l'âme... mon bagage se situe plutôt en course à pied et j'adore faire du hors-piste, m'aventurer dans les montagnes à vélo. Plus c'est raide, mieux c'est ! Au final, le hike-a-bike est le sport de mes rêves ;-)
Peut-être que certains défis des courses de bikepacking et de trail qui ont été annulées me manquaient, ou peut-être que j'aime juste les défis un peu fous... mais en tout cas, certaines de ces sorties locales se sont transformées en journées épiques. Il y a quelque chose de vraiment satisfaisant à devoir plonger profondément dans ses ressources et à repousser ses limites, peu importe où elles se situent. Ce qu'il y a de bien avec les défis, c'est qu'ils sont toujours personnels.
J'espère que certains des itinéraires de cette collection vous aideront à dénicher des idées d’aventures amusantes, voire même un défi à votre mesure. Amusez-vous bien !
*Et parce que j’aime les snacks ! 2020 a été une bonne année pour les encas lors de toutes ces aventures locales - mais c'est un chapitre en soi...
The Vierwaldstättersee (also called Lake Lucerne in English) is a beautiful four-pronged lake not far from my home. Riding around it presents a bit of a challenge because along one shore the mountainside is steep and there's no road!
Liesbeth and I love a challenge, so it seemed like the perfect adventure to try one beautiful spring day.
If you try this route, prepare for beautiful gravel climbs, some road sections too, and tough hike-a-bike up (what felt like) a never-ending staircase. There's a bit of everything!
At some point I decided I wanted to try to ride 10,000 metres (32,808 ft) of climbing in one day. Maybe it was when thinking about Everesting... I wondered, why not carry on for the extra few metres of climb to make it a nice round number?
Then when I did the Everesting thing, I realised why not! I thought I'd have another crack at 10,000 metres but at a more relaxed pace and with more variety. And since I love my local roads and the many tiny back-road climbs, it seemed like a good way to string a lot of them together and make a big ride of it!
I set off with a few friends but did most of this ride alone, and finished at about 2am the day after starting. It's still my longest ride ever (nope, I've never broken 300km in a day...) and it was, as expected, not exactly easy. But it was so much fun!
If I were to try this challenge again I would route it slightly differently, with less flat riding at the start, and chose a less hot and humid day (the break to avoid a thunderstorm wasn't ideal). Oh, and I would probably not include Haggenegg because it's where I did my first Everesting and it still makes me feel sick...
I reckon this route is best used as a guide to find some fun back-road climbs that are off the beaten track. Local tips for your own pick-n-mix ride!
Obtenez des recommandations sur les meilleurs itinéraires, pics, et lieux d'exception.
Everesting on a road bike was fun... in a type 2 kind of way! This was my second attempt at this kind of ride, and I deliberately wanted to go slower and take more time to appreciate all the wonderful things about riding for a long time in a beautiful place.
So I took my beloved Sonder Camino to the steepest rideable gravel climb I knew, which just happens to also be breathtakingly spectacular.
I say "rideable" but actually, on a gravel bike, only just! It's seriously steep, so I'd recommend MTB gearing. And although I always bang on about how important it is to have the right gearing... of course that's something I often forget to check myself.
I "discovered" (by accident) this gravel road on day two of the bikepacking tour with Iris back in July, and it's so steep I had to walk part of it, downhill! But that was with full camping gear, so I hoped I'd be ok with an unburdened bike.
Hope might move mountains but it can't change the maths of gear ratios and I was in the biggest sprocket most of the way up, on every single rep. I knew that if I blew up I wouldn't make it up at all, so I took regular snack stops.
I was lucky that a friend came along with his camera, and another buddy joined me for a few reps of the climb. It's good to enter a meditative, solitary headspace on a challenge like this, but it would have been a loooooong long time alone.
This climb is well worth a visit just for the view of the valley below and surrounding mountains. Can recommend at both sunrise and sunset.
When a friend and former teammate I hadn't seen for years agreed to come and visit, with her bike, it seemed only right to seek out the most spectacular views to show her!
Plus of course plenty of vertical, because after months of lockdown in the Netherlands a bit of catching up was surely needed.
To confuse Iris before the trip even started, I sent her about ten different komoot routes, because there's so much choice of glorious off-road riding round here. Some local friends agreed to join the ride and we pooled knowledge to come up with what I think is really a drop-dead gorgeous off-road ride. There are a few sections of tarmac to connect the gravel, but never much traffic. It's not at all technical and fine on a gravel bike instead of MTB.
Disappointingly, there's also hardly any hike-a-bike. But we made up for that the day after when I took them on a gloriously badly-planned route with hours of bike-pushing and bike-carrying and also loads of road!
You can read Iris's blog about our summer adventure here on komoot for the full story from her perspective: komoot.com/collection/990127/once-pro-now-slow-through-switzerland-with-emma-pooley-friends
This route is inspired by history and connects some of my favourite play areas in central Switzerland...
On the gravel bike adventure with Iris in July a friend told me about the Russian generalissimo Suworow and his army’s epic march in 1799. Battling wintry snow and constant attack, Suworow led his troops over several mountain passes (including Chinzig) in a strategic withdrawal from the Napoleonic forces that vastly outnumbered them.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with the idea of trying to retrace that route. Not that I’m an admirer of war and fighting (quite the contrary), it’s just such an amazing story of battling the odds, and with so many beautiful remote passes!
There is a Via Suworow signposted hiking route but after some exploring in the summer (apologies again for that hike-a-bike Iris and Yorit and Liesbeth!) I thought I could find a more adventurous and scenic path on the central part from Altdorf to Glarus. Suworow's route was much longer, from Airolo to Chur.
The run did not disappoint, it's pretty spectacular. It'd be suitable for a two-day run or hike if ultra-running isn’t your thing!
In the summer there are various mountain restaurants and alpine farms where it's possible to buy food and fill up water bottles. Be sure to carry plenty though, just in case.
The most daring part of Suworow’s Swiss campaign was when, after weeks of marching, fought back by the French at Glarus, he led his exhausted army over the snow-bound 2,404 metre (7,887 ft) Panixerpass. Many lives were lost but they were saved from total annihilation.
For comparison, I slipped over on an icy rock after six hours, bruised my bum, had a little cry, then limped 25 kilometres down a road to the train station. They just don't make them like they used to...
Riding round the Zugersee is a fairly standard road bike loop, and as a run it's flat and fast. But I'm not much of a fan of flat, so I came up with this route to circumnavigate the lake staying high... taking in Rigi, Gnipen, Wildspitz and Zugerberg.
A bunch of crazy people agreed to join in, and we were treated to amazing autumn weather and great views.
The route is fun because you can divide it into chunks intersected by train stations, so people can join or leave partway round (at Immensee or Arth-Goldau), depending how far they want to run and how much climbing they want to do.
There are mountain restaurants on Rigi and Wildspitz, as well many little mountain 'Beizli' to get snacks, but check opening times first depending on the season. Plus of course threre's shops and railway station vending machines in Immensee and Arth-Goldau.
In winter there's likely to be snow on Rigi and Wildspitz, and some of the paths are very narrow and steep, so choose your shoes appropriately!