A wonderful surprise was in store for us today: the first proper switchback climb of the trip. We knew we would have to do some climbing, but weren’t really prepared to cross a pass on the Schwabian Alps.
Leaving Strasbourg wasn’t too hard. Sometimes getting out of a city can be a real challenge. Once we crossed over the Rhine into Germany though, we were greeted almost immediately by the familiar green bike signs like a warm embrace.
One quick Lidl pitstop later and we were away, racing across the flat planes of the Rhine basin towards Munich. And while it was at the time easy, flat riding on the horizon the land rose up. We would have to cross those peaks eventually…
The incline was pretty gradual most of the day. We started off through orchards and vineyards where fresh fruit was for sale in unmanned kiosks by the side of the road. After a sudden, very steep but short climb we got into the first plateau and met up with a small river in a nearby village.
After lunch, during which time we looked ominously at the contours of the map, we followed the river up into the hills. Once again a long period of slight incline left us feeling pretty good in our ability to tackle the mountains, until we had to cross the pass.
We hauled ourselves up pass, a long steep road for about 3Km but soon we were on a series of switchbacks that seemed never to end. Huffing and puffing, all to aware that we still have to cross the Alps in a week, we hauled ourselves up the mountain and a bit over an hour later reached the top. Here we were got a shot of this sign, a warning to cars on the descent we had just climbed.
After the hard work though, we got the reward and cruised downhill all the way for 12km into Freudenstadt where we rewarded ourselves with some ice cream.
We rode on a bit further as the evening drew in. At one point we found ourselves riding on freshly laid road, no lines or anything yet painted and still closed to cars. We cruised down this for a little while before getting funnelled onto a cycle route that left the road we wanted to follow.