Trans Vosges - Day 2
85km / 3240hm / 8h00min
Start: Saint-Hyppolite + transfer to Chatenois
Finish: Col de la Schlucht / Hotel Le Collet
Pushing your limits, was my motto for the day. We woke up feeling jazzy and I had a nice limp. But there was absolutely no way that we were going to stay off the saddle today, we had some mountains to climb!
The weather cleared up and all the rain was forgotten. It was a new day, new start but the nasty bruises that I was sporting didn't agree with me.
After breakfast we sped off to start our day taming the mountains of Alsace. We hit the road and headed back the direction we came the night before so that we could hop on the trail again. Once we saw the first orange sign, we knew our day had officially begun. We started by climbing the mountain that over looked the small quaint wine villages of Alsace. Don't ask me how but despite all the pain from my crash and the utter knackerness that i felt from the day before, my body was somehow miraculously back into its rthym on the bike and I was having a blast.
The first climb felt like a routine, as if our feet were in a constant robotic motion and they couldnt' stop, not even if they wanted to. At the top we found the famous monkey city from which we had read and heard about. Poor monkeys are thrown popcorn all day long by loud and obnoxious tourists. I read that the popcorn is not a "main" part of their diet, however, last I checked bags of popcorn don't grow on banana trees. Not sure how this is considered natural or healthy for humans let alone monkeys.
Anywhoo, time to get off the soap box and back to the adventure. After we stopped for me to shake my head at the attraction we got back onto the trail. These regions seemed to be marked much better but we still had to pay attention for any of the small orange signs that might be obscured by a tree, bush or whomping willow; just kidding.
For the first time we had another biker behind us and he seemed to be on a morning ride. We were riding ahead, having fun on a nice little descent when we heard a loud whistle. The man had kindly signaled to us that we had missed the left turn and were off track. We never saw or heard the man again, but I will be forever grateful for what he may have spared us that day.
Back on track we spent the rest off the day climbing what seemed like never ending mountains and dashing downhill in what seemed like nanoseconds. The views were few and far between but when we were able to get a glimpse or in some cases, a panorama; it was awesome. Not only can you see into the valleys but you can see how far you have climbed on the bike. Which gives you a sense of accomplishment until the next mountain comes and you are suddenly eating a big slice of humble pie.
One of the highlights of the day getting serene view of Lac Blanc, Lac Noir et Lac Vert. We were able to ride down and watch the water and the tourists while shelling our pistachios.
At the end of tour we had to ride down into a valley and then back up a 300m climb to the hotel. Unfortunately for us before we reached this descent we came across a cross road. Left led down towards the valley while the right led up towards our hotel. Laurent sweet talked me into taking the right as it would surely save us time and climbing. His philosophy was why climb more than we have to at the end of the day? It looked like a fire road and Laurent assured me that it wouldn't be much climbing (famous last words). It was a slightly uphill fire road alright but then we hit a hiking trail. By hiking I mean mordor hiking style. We had to dismount and lug the bikes up a tiny trail that could barely fit our feet. We then came to what looked like a previous land slide of grey stones that ranged in size from tennis balls to basketballs. I felt like Sauron had closed the pass and Gandalf was leading us into the mountain. At this point I was frustrated and was articulating these frustrations to my husband quiet well. We kept climbing up and up and the trail was no longer a trail. I kept thinking of my precious ankles and vipers.
Just when I was near insanity, we reached the top. Laurent navigated us down the hill which was a fun single trail for bikes. We hiked the bikes down stairs that were built for giants and rode down the hill to our hotel.
The hotel was gorgeous, the shower was luxurious and the food was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. We had home made bread with home made cheese spread, wine and special menus. I was pleased with my choice of smoked salmon on melon, apricot stuffed chicken breast served over spinach parmasean risotto and finsihed strong with an amazing berry basil meringue. Laurent was pleased with his salmon over melons and chocolate slam desert. His steak was amazing but his smile fell when he saw it was served carpaccio style.
Full of food and having enjoyed a long hot shower we were both able to laugh about our hiking trip. Everything from my hip down was reminding me about the crash but I knew that if tomorrow was anything like the last two days --- epic, there was no way I could sit it out.