Sunday, July 24, 2011

A self-inflicted birthday present

She did it herself and she wanted to do it herself. What better birthday present can you give yourself than the conquest of one of the historic Alps-passes, the Grand Saint Bernard. Eveline celebrated her 62nd birhtday with me on the the misty and very cold pass at an altitude of 2473 meters. It's not our record, in China we ticked 3300 and in Colombia even 3700 (by bike it is, on foot we were much higher). But nevertheless this is not a small one. It didn't come all that easy, circumstances here are really alpine and the ascent is tough enough.
We left Bourg Saint Pierre (alt. 1600) a bit past nine in misty conditions. We had to fold the tent completely wet and were said goodbye by our Swedish-Thai neighbours. After some time we reached the entrance of the tunnel that we ignored and from then on it was a quieter and steeper, up to 16%. There were times that just a touch of a little finger would have thrown me off the bike. These are the moments that you ask yourself why you are doing this. Several answers come up, but none of them covers all the aspects of the question. In the end you conclude that you just want to do this and that it is thoroughly satisfactory to do. Euforia at the top.
We celebrated the conquest of this bubble in our mother earth's surface and Eveline's birthday with some coffees, a sandwich and a piece of cake (way too expensive).
The descent was initially very cold, I had to stop several times to blow my (covered) hands, since I couldn't control them enough to ride safely. Gradually temperatures and sight improved and after some 2 hours of impressive rolling down we reached Aosta, where people were walking around in t-shirts and shorts.
We stopped at the city campsite (dilapedated) and had a pleasant walk in the old city-centre, concluded with a nice Italian dinner.

No comments:

Post a Comment