Where I Ride: Kilian Frankiny
Ever wondered where our riders like to the train the most? Or what one of their favorite rides might be? Our new 'Where I Ride' series, tells you just that!
Kilian Frankiny takes you to onto his home roads in Switzerland for his favorite ride.
Find out about more about his route in the Valais region below, including where to stop for that all important coffee, and then download the GPX file to take a close look and perhaps try it out for yourself...
"My favorite ride is, for me, a great and long training ride. I start at home in Naters (700m) and head up the Wallis Valley through the Goms region which has some really small villages with a lot of old wooden houses. Then after 35km, you reach Ulrichen (1346m) and this is where the first mountain pass, the Nufenenpass starts. It’s a 13-kilometer long climb with a short flat part in the middle. The road is always two lanes wide and the gradient is always pretty steady plus on the top (2477m), you get a great panoramic view of the climbs around.
After a long descent, you arrive in Airolo (1175m), which is a small Italian speaking village. Here you start the second mountain pass, the Gotthardpass. It’s 12-kilometers long and on it, you will ride the famous Tremola. The first six kilometers have some cobblestone sectors but also good roads. The last six kilometers are completely on cobblestones. It’s one of the most famous ascents in Switzerland.
At the top (2106m) you have again a beautiful panorama as the Gotthardpass is the border between Ticino and Uri. The gradient is never steep. The downhill you will take the big road and it’s a fast and long descent to Hospental. Now, there is a flat five-kilometer section until Realp (1538m), where the third mountain pass, the Furkapass begins. It’s again 12 kilometers long and tops out at 2436m altitude and like the others, there is a great view. The road is a typical Swiss mountain pass road with narrow sections right in the middle of nature. It's perfect to ride your bike on. After that, you will have a nice descent to Oberwald before some flat road which crosses Ulrichen, where the first climb started and then heads down the Wallis Vallery again to Naters.
So, the last 35 kilometers are the same as the start and mostly downhill with some flat parts. The whole 170km loop takes me around six hours and includes 4000m of climbing and a lot of stunning views.
The ride as I do it is pretty tough so I would rank it between a nine and a ten in terms of difficulty but in terms of the scenery, it's a beautiful ten out of ten. Wallis is the sunny part of Switzerland with 300 days of sun a year normally so you will definitely deserve a cold beer after the big day!"
Kilian's Top Tips:
1. Don't over-pace yourself on the Nufenenpass. The ride has only just started there and it’s still a long way to the finish.
2. The mountain passes open beginning of June and close end of October.
3. For coffee stops and photo stops I can suggest the top of the three climbs but throughout the whole ride, you will plenty of places to stop to buy something to drink or even some Swiss chocolate to refuel the batteries.
4. If you need to refill your water bottles, there are lots of fountains on the route.
5. I suggest you do the loop in the same direction as me because the climbs are more beautiful that way and you get to ride up the famous Tremola.
6. If you want to make the ride easier you can either skip the first and last parts to start and finish the loop in Ulrichen. It's still 100 kilometers long that way or if you're feeling tired after the Gotthardpass, you can take a train in Realp and go through a tunnel that brings you out in Oberwald to skip the Furkapass.
Download the GPX file for Kilian's ride here. And, don't forget to tell us what you thought on Twitter.
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