I awake on time, still a bit tired and definitely a bit sore. Although the fall was not violent and I did not even scuff my gear aside from a nickel-sized spot on my right boot, I am not a 15YO anymore and I know this.
I make my way to the Swiss Autobahn, taking the A9 some 30kms to Sion, home of Claude Urfer SA BMW Motorsport. I walk in and explain my situation to the lady at the desk and she quickly routes me to the workshop leader, who invites me to bring the bike around back to the shop where he will have a technician waiting for me. The lady speaks enough English, the workshop leader speaks German, and the technician speaks French. We are only missing Italian. The technician (center left in coveralls in this staff photo from Urfer’s twitter feed) takes a test ride and pokes and prods while the workshop leader inquires politely about my trip so far. I cannot bring to words how easy this visit is and how nice the staff of Urfer are to me. When all is pronounced healthy, they invite me into the showroom lounge for a cup of tea. They are having bike’toberfest later today, would I like to stay and hang out with them for the party? I want to, but I want to make my passes more. Very much a class act, and I’m quite grateful to them. All of this is at no charge to me, even though I ask if I can contribute at least to the coffee fund. No, Frau Helmetag, just enjoy your trip in Switzerland!
My riding partner is some 50km behind me, we plan to link up near the Oberalppass.
I continue on the A9 to Susten, where I pick up the 9 east. This is a stretch of placeholder road – the Swiss are still building out the A9 completely, so coverage is patchy. Before Brig, I rejoin the A9, then exit to the 19 east to traverse the Furka in the reverse direction and continue with the eastern half of the trip.
Furka backwards is as wonderful as Furka forwards. I miss the Bond lookout again, watching the clouds and the mountains and the sheep.
I stop briefly in Andermatt to wait for my riding partner. She is still behind, as she wants to try the new Gotthard road. It is reportedly boring, as expected. I wait on top of Oberalp, at the headwaters of the four major rivers of Western Europe – the Rhone, the Rhein, the Reuss, and the Ticino. Oberalp is a gentle pass with stately curves and some interesting and long avalanche galleries. We meet up, and as I am getting stiff, I begin the descent. The back side is as engineered as the front side – a great pass.
I stop along the way in a Swiss village – the market hours are funny – actually open in the afternoon!
After a wrong turn into Ilanz, I turn around and find the road to the Rheinschluct – the gorge of the headwaters of the Rhein. It is stunning. From there, it is on to Bonaduz, when I meet up with my riding partner. We then head south on the 13 and the Via Mala, another gorge route that dazzles.
We find a small family bed and breakfast in Andeer. Dinner is around the corner at Hotel Piz Vizan, and I choose a rösti, the Swiss potato and cheese concoction that is just to die for. I will regret this shortly. I have been under some stress and the accompanying gut disturbance, so a sticky, cheesy, carb bomb is probably not the best choice, but I have not processed the stress sufficiently to recognize what is happening to me. I succumb to all of it and am up all night trying to walk my insides into motion.