Posted by: sapaudia | 27/02/2010

Buff

That's what I'm talkin' aboot

This morning I looked out of the window at 09:00 whilst swilling down my coffee. Perfect blue and 12 on the thermometer. Being as it was that MeteoSchweiz and MeteoFrance had both promised a day like this, I’d had a vague look at the map last night for a possible route. So, I scrambled to gather my stuff, threw it in/on the car, and drove on up to Thann, gateway to the Hautes Vosges, 35 minutes up the road.

Due to time restrictions I ended up doing a fairly modest loop (17km and D+/D- 615m).

Google Earth

OSM Cycle Map

Route Profile

I avoided my usual late-Winter mistake of getting too excited and heading too high…i.e. aiming for an unrealistic col and getting half-way up to the knees in slush. Instead, I played things by my (in the end fairly accurate) prediction of snow-free trails up to about 800m on south-facing stuff, so things went well in this regard.

Although short, the route I took was fairly singletrack intensive, heading from Thann up the Grumbach valley and via some lovely rolling trails past the Roche Albert.

At the Roche Albert

From here it’s was more of the same up to Camp de Pyramides, followed by a relatively technical descent (with almost Alp-like steepish rocky switchbacks!).

One of the less technical bits of a relatively technical trail!

Instead of descending straight back to Thann I stayed high and left and did a short out-and-back to Pastetenplatz which turned out to be worth it but not fantastic… a bit too straight for my liking.

Leaving Pastetenplatz

From the bottom of here, I reached the Waldkapelle chapel (tribute to the fallen soldiers of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 who faught in these forests). The singletrack from the Waldkapelle down into the Ihlerstal valley is surely some of the best I’ve ridden in the Vosges. Whoopy + tacky = fast. At the exit, I ascended the 4×4 track to the Croix du Rangen, out into the open and rode down past the vineyards back into town.

Thann

Two quite personal observations from today:

1) Riding good singletrack for the first time in ages (2.5 months in this case) is hugely satifying. It’s a bit like getting a decent espresso after the machine’s been broken for a week.

2) Riding great trails (especially if very close to other trails you know well) for the first time adds fresh perspective to things, and makes me feel positive… transferable to parts of life outside of mountain biking.

I experienced both of these phenomena today, so I’m most definitely a happy bunny tonight 🙂

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