July 6
Aigle to Zweisimmen, Switzerland

The climb out of Aigle started almost immediately and was far longer than any climb I can remember making. It took us more than an hour to climb 5 miles. We only rode about 61 Km, but it took most of the day. Altogether today we climbed 3,400 feet.

 
At this switchback, Kären was just ahead of me. Bill, Carrie and Tom were behind me. I waited a few minutes for Bill & Carrie, but gave up because it was unbearably hot in the sun.

 
The road was steep. I kept expecting the crest; only to reach a new plateau with another climb above.

 
The valley in the background is the same one depicted in the first imageabove. We just kept climbing higher into the mountains.

 
And ...

 
There were villages

 
and beautiful landscapes

 
All the livestock in the Alps wear bells and as we rode along, therewere symphonies of different bells. Cows, goats and sheep have unique sorts of bells, and the bigger cows wear bigger bells, so the tones varied considerably.

The alpine villages were surprisingly rural. As old as Europe is, I guess I am surprised to see undeveloped land.

 
I didn't get pictures of the steepest segments. I was struggling too much. At one point, I wobbled due to riding too slow and my right pedal hit the curb. That is quite dangerous. It was the first time I ever did that despite fearing it for years. Bill & Tom caught up with me. Carrie opted to ride sag.

 
Having fallen twice on railroad tracks near home, I am quite leery of all railroad crossings, especially the angular crossings of these mountain trains.

 
At the rest stop after the first pass, I was having trouble breathing. I am allergic to hay, wheat and grasses and this area is harvesting wheat right now. I was forced to use my inhaler, but was still experiencing difficulty breathing, so I opted to ride in the sag wagon for about 12 k.

 
The alpine vistas were amazingly peaceful and beautiful.

 In the evening, several of us walked to town for dessert. The entire populace of Zweisimmen was sitting on card chairs in a parking lot waiting for a feature movie to be shown on the wall of an adjacent building. It was wonderful. We sat in a sidewalk cafe across the street watching the people.

61 Km

  
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