Day 1: Munich (DE) – Innsbruck (AT)
154km // 1350m
The team gathered in Munich on Sunday evening. The adventure was one day ahead. All six of us were filled with excitement and an overwhelming sense of nervosity.
We headed out of Munich on wet roads after an evening filled with lightning and thunder. After a morning characterised by haziness and constant rain, we made a short lunch stop by the lake when the sun finally came out.
Today's ride was a nice warm-up ride for the crazy week that laid ahead. We arrived in Innsbruck and once again had to stop and seek momentary shelter from the rain. We still had the final climb until the hotel before Day 1 was finished. We arrived at the hotel later that evening, soaked and ready for a good Austrian dinner.
"It's tough to put into words how monumental this week felt. After the past one and a half years of cancelled trips, bolstered by the general mundanity of the pandemic, the news that I would be joining five others on an ambitious adventure through the mountains was a beacon.
We were six people who had (for the most part) never met in real life, and by the end of the week, it felt like we had known each other forever. The ride was challenging and taught me so much, but the friends I made along the road were what made this trip like no other.
What a week. What a group."
Day 2: Innsbruck (AT) – Santa Maria (CH)
160km // 4400m
With croissant-stuffed stomachs, we headed out for the first serious day in the mountains. Weather conditions were looking good and we were all excited for today’s climbing adventure. It was a long day in the saddle, but the mood was high. At 18.00, we arrived in Santa Maria.
"As Destination Everywhere trips always bear the necessity of soigneur duties, I always feel like instead of missing out on the fun, they offer a change of perspective. It’s not just a break from exertion but a shift to the very centre of the buzzing collective riding their bikes at their possibly highest capacity. You take care of their nutrition and their clothing. You go up the road, and you wait. You sit for minutes in the middle of a climb - a place and situation you probably would never be in if it wasn’t for this particular temporary roster spot. Suddenly, you realise what you as a bunch are achieving and feel that specific energy of people coming together to take on a true challenge.
Here we are, just cycling, but to me, it’s an indicator of what mountains are possible to move if a couple of minds think alike."
Day 3: Santa Maria (CH) – Valbella (CH)
173km // 4800m
The alarm went off at 06.00 this morning. The Queen Stage. Today’s route consisted of three monumental climbs – including Stelvio. This day was unreal. We went through all kinds of weather and terrain. There was no time for long breaks. We were on a tight schedule if we were to make it to Valbella before sunset. We had to switch off the brain and let the legs do the work. It’s the most memorable day I have ever had on my bike.
"Destination Everywhere opened a new horizon of cycling for me! What an extraordinary experience to ride my bike with five wonderful cycling beings who I had never met before. Destination Everywhere allowed me to connect to cycling in a new way and to cycle such a beautiful route. It is so great how you connect via cycling with new people and nature. I will never forget those days and can’t wait to go on the next trip!"
Day 4: Valbella (CH) – Zürich (CH)
158km // 2050m
After the Queen Stage, we were all a bit relieved that we had an easier ride coming up that would take us from Valbella to Zürich. At this point, it seemingly hit us all at the same time that this adventure would already be over in just two days' time. With a half-day in the van, I enjoyed the recovery and the DS position, encouraging the rest of the group to keep pushing. With only one categorised climb today, we arrived in Zürich in the early afternoon, weary and fatigued.
Day 5: Zürich (CH) – Bern (CH)
200km // 2900m
Another early morning call. We wanted to finish the adventure off right so we decided to go for a 200kilometre ride that would bring us into Bern. We were all a bit sad about the fact that this was the final stage of the trip. We were accompanied by a few friends on the way and ended the trip with cold beers and the best sourdough pizzas in Bern. We laughed for hours looking back on the week that just passed. We all agreed that we wanted to do it all over again tomorrow if we got the offer. We were high on altitude and great company.
"The dynamic of these five-day trips is hard to describe.
Six riders, having either barely or never met in real life, getting pushed to their physical limits. Approaching and then surpassing these limits, in combination with breathtaking landscapes, is enough to unite us for a lifetime. I guess this is the essence of Destination Everywhere and what makes it something so unique.
However, when the trip gets highlighted by people that resonate with you beyond just cycling, it evolves to a surreal level. The emotions you share with these people after you have made it to the finish line together are something you get addicted to and will never forget."