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Day 3 - Andermatt to Lucerne -Some Great Reward(s)

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

I woke up this morning with a level of DOMS I can only describe as epic and before I'd even got out of bed I was wondering if giving myself a 100km ride to Lucerne was a great idea. I got dressed like I was on an old sailing ship in a storm, unable to put my bib shorts on without holding on to something. After eating everything I could for breakfast I head out on the road and almost immediately hit a lateral roadblock. There's a tunnel with a traffic jam waiting to go down the one side of the road that's open, while the other side is being resurfaced. One glance over the side of the tunnel shows me a long downhill zigzaging across the mountain. There's only one road down and there's no way I want to be stuck in the middle of cars or in front of them. I take a gamble and go through the closed road and in between roadworks. No one working on the road crew stops me or even shakes their head in disapproval. Perhaps they are used to cyclists jumping the queue in this way. I wait for the last car to come up and jump across the road plunging down the mountain at high speed again. Even with the brakes on hard I am over 50kph as I struggle with 180 degree hairpins, desperate to beat the traffic down. Garmin has an epileptic fit of "off course/course found" and eventually gives up. As cars start to finally catch me, there was an improbable sign for national cycle route 3 off to the left. I couldn't see where it was going but I trusted it was better than where I was. What followed was the most glorious ride downhill to the valley floor. The views were absolutely stunning and I kept stopping to take photos. In my head I was remembering that I will probably never ride these roads again in my life and I want to take it in. Fellow Lanternes Jamie and Sara just completed their own epic ride recently from Paris to Nice and their motto was "look up, soak it up". They are so right. This is the reward for yesterday's efforts. My Garmin was sulking and refused to comment on directions, so I trusted the Swiss signage. It was a full 55 minutes before I actually had to turn a pedal to move. I kept thinking I must be a the bottom, but no, there was more. Once I reached the valley floor I was riding on tiny single track roads through farming country all the way to my first stop at Altdorf. At 50k my Garmin suddenly wakes up but only to tell me I'm off course. From Altdorf it was a mostly flat ride alongside the lake. You have to hand it to the Swiss, they know how to build roads into the sides of mountains. There are amazing segregated bike lanes in the busiest parts, even in the tunnels. At Gersau I stop for lunch. Send some photos to friends and family have sausage pretzel and beer - there's no doubting we are in the German part of Switzerland. From Gersau there's a short ferry ride over to Beckenreid. Yes I could have ridden around, but the ferry added to the experience. Once on the other side it's easy riding all the way to Lucerne with the exception of a section of National 3 that takes me round in circles. I suspect someone has messed with the signs. The Swiss are so polite that if I wrote to complain, I'd probably get a visit from their ambassador in London with a personal apology. Lucerne is beautiful and I'm sorry not to be spending more time here. I'll add it to the list. As I arrived early at my Airbnb, I went to a near by petrol station and bought a coffee and a packet of baby wipes, which raised some eyebrows. Anyone would think they had never seen a man clean his bike before! Today's only number that counts : Amount of time I spent smiling - 6 hours  

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