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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

First week.

Well we have been in Switzerland for a week now and it has been a pretty action packed few days. Jet lag hit me pretty hard and I have only just started to get back to a normal sleep pattern. The heat has also been a bit of a shock to the system although it is very welcome and I am certainly not complaining about that.
What I have written here I originally wanted to put up on Sunday but I have been having a few issues with my computer so it’s a bit late but gives an idea on whats been happening so far.
Up early. The plan for today was to have a bit of a look around Zurich and then get a ride in later on in the day followed by some hunting Swiss style in the evening.

Dani gave us a lift into Zurich on his way to work. We then checked out a few of the shops and went for a walk down Banhnofstrasse which is one of the most expensive streets in the world. The average monthly lease price is about €327 per m2. After window shopping for a while we jumped on a tram to Zurich Zoo. This was pretty cool as I haven’t been to a Zoo in a long time. Most of the usual suspects were present although with it being a super hot day a lot of the animals were hidden away attempting to get a bit of relief from the heat.

Originally we had planned on riding our bikes back home to Schaffhausen but it looked like it was a going to be a bit of a mission getting out of Zurich and as we were going to be doing our main travelling by train we thought it could be a good opportunity to try out the famed Swiss rail system. All we had heard was how simple and easy the trains were to use so how hard could it be? Unfortunately we ran into trouble early on when the train that we thought we needed to be on didn’t turn up. After chewing through a fair bit of time we eventually gave up and took the next train to arrive and ended up at Zurich airport. From here we managed to sort ourselves out and eventually made it back to Schaffhausen a couple of hours late.

We had arranged to go hunting with Dani at 6:00. Hunting Swiss style is a unique experience and is a lot of fun. You start the evening off with good food and sit around talking until it starts to get dark. Then it’s time to move to the hunting hides which are small huts over looking an area where game is likely to wander. The idea is to sit quietly until you see something you want. After wards you sit around and talk a bit more and then its home to bed.

Up early again. Today we were leaving Schaffhausen and moving on to our accommodation for the next few weeks in central Switzerland at the foot of the Alps. After the previous days mix up we had debriefed and taken on some advice from our hosts and so armed with new found knowledge and experience we were all set for the days train trip. I had a fair bit of gear with me and knew that it was going to be a tough day lugging it around.

Once you know what you are doing train travel is actually quite easy and works well but it would definitely be a lot easier if you could avoid travelling with a couple of 20+kg bags and for me changing trains was always going to be the hard part. We made the first of our two connections with out to much hassle. The 2nd one however had me straining to lift my heavy bike box the small but seemingly forever distance to the train and in the end we only made it with seconds to spare before it left. Of course if we had of missed that one we would have probably only have had to wait for 10mins for the next one but you don’t think about that at the time. Eventually after a couple of hours we made it to our final stop and it was here that the fun really began. From the station we had maybe 2km to get to our accommodation. I got stuck into the task at hand but after a several minutes I had only moved a pitiful 100ms or so. A local passing by gave me a lift but we didn’t make it far and he moved on pretty quickly once he realised how heavy my gear was. It was time to reassess as I obviously wasn’t going to get anywhere in a hurry the way things were going. In the end I decided the best thing would be to build my bike up and then use it as a trolley to support my box still packed with gear and wheel it along. Thankfully this worked and eventually we made it to our destination tired but happy to have finally made it.

After all that action it was still only 2pm so we went down to the lake front for an hour or so and had a bit to eat in the sun. Re-energised it was time for a couple of hours on the bike. The weather was amazing and my ride that afternoon is going to be pretty hard to beat. The views from up high were post card worthy and I had a great time out on the bike. I ended the ride with my favourite Swiss drink, strawberry buttermilk and then went for a swim in the lake which finished the day off nicely.
This week has started off well and now that we are properly settled in I have been able to focus on the training and getting fully prepared for the race at Engelberg this weekend.

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