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A summer of backdoor adventures in the Voralpen

Emma Pooley

A summer of backdoor adventures in the Voralpen

Collection by Emma Pooley



65:56 h

490 mi

105,875 ft

The silver lining of the dark cloud of 2020's many cancelled events was having more opportunities to play around with fun adventures close to home in Switzerland.

I love where I live and count myself very lucky to have the Voralpen as my playground. Spending time in nature and appreciating its beauty is a huge motivator for me in getting out to ride, run, ski, swim, or hike... and after many years exploring I thought I knew my local mountains and forests quite well.

This year I found there's even more! I ventured onto new paths, trails, and passes where I'd never been before- some by accident, some thanks to great advice from similarly adventurous buddies. Along the way I had more fun* than for many years, and reminded myself why I do sport. It's not to train for racing, it's because I love it.

This Collection catalogues a mix of those running, gravel biking, and road bike adventures from the summer of 2020: a pick-n-mix of different sports, because that's what I do! Although I was a professional road cyclist for a few years, I'm not really a roadie at heart... my background is in running and I love getting off-road and deep into the mountains by bike. The steeper the better! Essentially, hike-a-bike is my dream sport ;-)

Maybe I was missing some aspects of the bikepacking and trailrunning races that were cancelled, or maybe I just like slightly crazy challenges... but at any rate, a few of the local adventures turned into quite an epic day out. There's something really satisfying about having to dig deep and push your limits, wherever those limits are. The point about challenges is they are always personal.

I hope some of the routes in this Collection help you find fun adventures, and maybe a challenge too. Enjoy!

*and snacks. So many snacks! 2020 has been a good year for adventure food - but that's a chapter in itself...

On The Map


Tours & Highlights

  • Around the Vierwaldstättersee — Backdoor adventures in the Voralpen

    111 mi
    9.7 mph
    13,275 ft
    14,900 ft

    The Vierwaldstättersee (also called Lake Lucerne in English) is a beautiful four-pronged lake not far from my home. Riding around it presents a bit of a challenge because along one shore the mountainside is steep and there's no road!


    Liesbeth and I love a challenge, so it seemed like the perfect adventure

    by Emma Pooley

  • 16:42
    177 mi
    10.6 mph
    33,025 ft
    33,100 ft

    At some point I decided I wanted to try to ride 10,000 metres (32,808 ft) of climbing in one day. Maybe it was when thinking about Everesting... I wondered, why not carry on for the extra few metres of climb to make it a nice round number?


    Then when I did the Everesting thing, I realised why not! I thought

    by Emma Pooley

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  • 13:22
    74.0 mi
    5.5 mph
    29,950 ft
    30,225 ft

    Everesting on a road bike was fun... in a type 2 kind of way! This was my second attempt at this kind of ride, and I deliberately wanted to go slower and take more time to appreciate all the wonderful things about riding for a long time in a beautiful place.


    So I took my beloved Sonder Camino to the steepest

    by Emma Pooley

  • 06:49
    52.2 mi
    7.7 mph
    9,900 ft
    6,175 ft

    When a friend and former teammate I hadn't seen for years agreed to come and visit, with her bike, it seemed only right to seek out the most spectacular views to show her!

    Plus of course plenty of vertical, because after months of lockdown in the Netherlands a bit of catching up was surely needed.



    by Emma Pooley

  • 09:20
    40.1 mi
    4.3 mph
    10,525 ft
    10,425 ft

    This route is inspired by history and connects some of my favourite play areas in central Switzerland...


    On the gravel bike adventure with Iris in July a friend told me about the Russian generalissimo Suworow and his army’s epic march in 1799. Battling wintry snow and constant attack, Suworow led his

    by Emma Pooley

  • 08:19
    35.7 mi
    4.3 mph
    9,200 ft
    9,100 ft

    Riding round the Zugersee is a fairly standard road bike loop, and as a run it's flat and fast. But I'm not much of a fan of flat, so I came up with this route to circumnavigate the lake staying high... taking in Rigi, Gnipen, Wildspitz and Zugerberg.


    A bunch of crazy people agreed to join in, and we

    by Emma Pooley

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    490 mi
  • Duration
    65:56 h
  • Elevation
    105,875 ft

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