The ringing of cowbells and alpenhorns is still stuck on repeat in our ears, but all it does is make us think back longingly to that wild weekend in Switzerland. And that is a good thing!
300 riders turned up to the stunning Aegeri Valley in central Switzerland for the first ever Grinduro to be held in mainland Europe. The trails, the weather, the charming people, and the fondue, did not disappoint.
The party started on Friday afternoon with the Grinduro Prologue, a chilled 26km introduction to the hills surrounding the campsite and event village. Rolling back to chilled beers and the eclectic acoustic tunes of LT Slam and his mighty bass drum before heading off to our tents for well needed shuteye.
Campers were woken from their blissful sleep on Saturday morning by the subtle undertones of alpenhorns and presented not only with a full breakfast, but clear skies and the perfect weather forecast for the 94km and 2,600 metres of climbing that awaited them on the Grinduro course!
They say the Swiss love nothing better than a challenging climb and the route that twisted its way through the hills of the Aegeri Valley felt like it went up and up… with a smattering of false summits to tease riders before turning a corner and reaching even further towards the clouds. What all that climbing did offer was some of the most breath-taking views to ever grace a Grinduro course. What goes up must eventually come down, and the broad doubletrack descents offered riders plenty of opportunity to take the corners wide and keep the speeds high!
It wouldn’t be a Grinduro without 4 timed stages to sort the party pacers from the racers. Switzerland delivered again with a quadruple whammy of short, hard stages that punished lungs and legs in an endorphin enriched high.
High in the hills, Giro pitched up at a small refuge just off route to hand out a fondue treat to hungry riders and an opportunity to sit back and take a quick snooze in the afternoon sun before clipping back in and tackling the next big climb of the day.
With a day of maxin’ complete, everyone turned their focus to relaxin’ back at the Grinduro village. Canyon offered riders a slick haircut at their barbershop to ensure everyone looked their best at the Giro Photobooth or, if they were fast enough, a spot on the podium. Speaking of results…
Huge congratulations to Oliveira Paperella who narrowly beat CANYON/SRAM Racing rider Mikayla Harvey to the top step of the Pro Women Category. Over in Pro Mens, local Swiss rider Nicola Rohrbach had to dig deep to fight off the stars of the Amani Project, Suleman Kangangi and Geoffrey Langat.
With the awards ceremony over, it was time to party out to Swiss rock music sensations the Delilahs and Humanoids who kept the music pumping on the shores of Lake Aegeri late into the night.
For those whose heads were not too sore from the night before, komoot were up bright and early on Sunday morning to hit the trails one more time on their Hangover Ride with special guest Lael Wilcox who rolled in fresh her bikepacking tour of the Italian French Alps on the komoot Women’s Torino-Nice Rally.
Feedback from riders couldn’t have been more positive about Grinduro’s first European visit and many can’t wait for the Purple Party to come back next year. Grinduro can’t wait either!