Säntis Classic

The race that was not a race…

Anna and I headed to Weinfelden, Switzerland where we camped over the weekend. We went for a bit of a ride on Saturday through the rolling hills and on Sunday I did the Säntis Classic while Anna enjoyed the sun and a book.

Anna riding (Säntis Classic) resize

Above: Anna, sporting her Team T2* top, rides along the roads that meander through the meadows around Weinfelden.

I should improve my German comprehension or perhaps just generally pay more attention to what I read. Anyway, the Säntis Classic is a 130km ride with 1800 metres of climbing. It starts in Weinfelden, near Lake Constance, in Switzerland and heads into the mountains to the Schwägalp pass. After the pass the majority of the climbing is over and it’s a fast descent and overall downhill for the remaining 60 kms-ish. It’s very scenic and makes a great ride. It is however not a race. The open category gets 45 minutes in which they may leave the start line at their leisure. The time is not recorded. It is not a race. Boo hiss.

Cris at the start line (Säntis Classic) resize Cris climbing (Säntis Classic) resize

Above left: Posing near the start line. Above right: On the climb to Schwägalp.

Despite this slight dissapointment I rode off with a bunch of around 180 starters at 8 am. I moved to the front and was happy that the front guys seemed to want to ride at a good pace. The sun was out. Not too hot but not too cold. I rode with the “pirate team”, guys in black shirts with skull and cross-bones, for an hour or so before a couple of the team dropped off the back. As we neared the start of the major climb one of the riders broke his chain. I rode on alone until two guys we had dropped earlier caught me up. I rode with these two for the rest of the race.

One of the guys was German and the other came from somewhere ending in -stein… I was stronger than the other two as we started the climb but as we got to the last 12 km I started to fade and they edged away. Luckily they stopped at the pass to grab a tasty snack from the support stand and we started the descent together. Mr Stein and I took the majority of the turns pulling to start with but it wasn’t long until Mr Stein was spending 80% of the time at the front. Our German friend told us he was hanging on by the skin of his teeth. Yes there is an equivalent phrase in German. We rode like this to the end crossing the line in 4 hours 10 minutes. I resisted the urge to outsprint Mr Stein… He had after all done the majority of the work. The organisers had estimated the first finishers would take 5.5 hours… Pah.

Anyway… I’ve rode in this area before while cycle touring with Gina in 2006. Below is proof.

Cris points out the Schwägalp sign (Cycle Touring, Switzerland) resize Gina at the Schwägalp pass (Cycle Touring, Switzerland) resize

Above left: Me presenting the pass. Above right: Gina at the pass.

Säntis Classic – Time: 4:10:14 Dst: 129.75 km Avg: 31.11 km/h Max: 75.28 km/h Avg Cad: 81

Saentis Classic 2011 – web

Lago di Lecco

As the weather forecast for Switzerland was poos we cancelled our Swiss sports climbing trip. Luckily Jakob came up with another master plan and him and I spontaneously drove to Italy to Lago di Lecco near Lago di Como. We spent five days there from Saturday to Wednesday. We spent our time leading sport routes at a couple of crags in the area. The climbing was excellent, fast to setup and enjoyable. We climbed a mix of routes between French grade 4c and 6a. In the evenings we cooked by the lake and drank Italian beer. I got in a couple of long runs in the hills behind the lake in preparation for the pain to come in September.

View from camp site (Lago di Lecco) resize


Above and below: The view from our camp site at the Lago di Lecco, day and night.

View from camp site by night (Lago di Lecco) 2 resize


Jakob drinks beer by the lake (Lago di Lecco) resize Cris takes it easy (Lago di Lecco) resize

Above left: Jakob relaxes by the lake with a beer after a day’s climbing. Above right: A stroke of genius. Jakob packed a hammock and strung it up between the trees. During the first day we climbed with friends of Jakob and therefore took turns leading, belaying, and lazing in the hammock Jakob. It’s my turn…

Jakob enters the land of rocks (Lago di Lecco) resize Jakob near first pitch of cigar 2 (Lago di Lecco) resize

Above: We had planned to climb the cigar, an easy six pitch route up in the hills. In the morning we walked for an hour to the base of the cigar. Literally a couple of seconds after Jakob was on belay for the first pitch there was a crack of thunder(?). We decided to bail as we didn’t fancy being on the route in an electrical storm. Nothing came of the weather however and instead we climbed at a sports crag a few hundred metres lower until it finally began to rain a few hours later.

Multi-pitch route with Jakob (Lago di Lecco) resize Jakob abseiling (Lago di Lecco) resize

Above left: Jakob belays from the second pitch of a three pitch sports route at a nice little crag tucked amongst the trees. Above right: Jakob begins to abseil off from the top of the third pitch.

View towards Bishorn 3 (Switzerland) resize

Above: Early on Thursday morning we drove to Switzerland for our four day mountaineering trip to Bishorn with the DAV. Unfortunately the trip had been cancelled. We found this out as we arrived at the start of the trek. Still, we scampered up the track a little any way to take the photo above.


Suvi and I spent the last three days in Lungern, Switzerland. Lungern is a little town by a lake in the mountains near-ish Interlaken.

Suvi in Luzern resize Dinner time (Lungern, Switzerland) resize Suvi learns about women (Lungern, Switzerland) resize

Above left: Suvi waiting for the train in Luzern. Above middle: We brought our food with us from Germany to avoid paying the outrageous Swiss prices. We didn’t do too badly with my little MSR, a crappy pot, carbs, and veggies. Above right: Suvi reads about women (A spiritual guide to mastering the challenges of women, work, and sexual desire) (woot…) and lets me know if she agrees.

Cris and Suvi walking (Lungern, Switzerland) resize Suvi walks along the ridge (Lungern, Switzerland) resize

Above: Walking in the hills above the lake.

It was a little misty on our first day so we hung around the camp site and went for a walk around the lake. The weather cleared on Saturday and we headed up into the hills to a peak around 2000 m. From the top we had a view towards bigger mountains in the direction of the Eiger and Jungfrau.

Suvi is a geek (Lungern, Switzerland) resize View over lake (Lungern, Switzerland) resize

Above left: Suvi checks her email at the summit? Above right: The lake in Lungern. Very nice…

I went running today in the hills on the other side of the lake. It began to rain so I headed back down towards the lake. The sun came out again and I ran back to the camp site around the side of the lake. The afternoon was nice and warm and sunny.

View of Lungern (Lungern, Switzerland) resize View towards mountains (Lungern, Switzerland) resize Cris cooking by the lake (Lungern, Switzerland) resize

Above left: View down towards the lake while running. The campsite is at the far end of the lake in this photo. Above middle. View towards larger mountains (approximately) in the direction of the Eiger and Jungfrau. Above right: Cris cooks lunch by the lake.