Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cloudraker in the Swiss Alps

I just got an email from a Swiss friend, Raphael Faiss, who's guided some of our Cloudraker trips in years past. His email was simple, "incredible ride," was all it said with the photo below and the photo above attached. Indeed Raph, that was an incredible ride. I remember that particular was mid-August and the weather was particularly fiesty. Usually we get a few tough moments weather-wise...a rainy morning or full day of drizzle or maybe even some fresh snow in the highest rides. On this trip it was nasty for what seemed like seven out of ten days. I remember leaving the Cabane de Mont Fort one morning (after spending the night) and it was pissing rain, cold, and almost snowing. Ouch. We started the day with a traverse and then a very very long downhill to the Rhone Valley far below. By the time we started the descent my fingers were frozen, fortunately by the time we arrived at the van it was hot and sun was out. The photos above and below are a few days later, just before dropping into the famous Brazilian descent. What trumps my memories of the tough weather was the group. Despite the challenges we pulled together and gelled like old friends, helping each other up and down the big mountains, laughing at the tough moments and buying extra rounds of beers at the end of each day. If any of you from that group are reading this...thanks for the great rides. And to all of you who've joined us on our Cloudraker trip over the years...thanks for joining us! We pioneered some of the rides in the Valais region believe it or not. Cloudraker has always been my favorite trip, it's not always easy, but it sure is worth it...And thanks Raphael for taking time to be such a great companion in your backyard. Maybe one day i will be able to keep up to you on the climbs!

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