Once pro, now slow – through Switzerland with Emma Pooley & friends


Once pro, now slow – through Switzerland with Emma Pooley & friends

Mountain Biking Collection by Iris

It has been a few years since I rode with my old teammate Emma Pooley. During our career we have experienced a lot, on and off the bike, and because of many highs and lows together we have a special bond. Needless to say, I was thrilled about her invitation to Switzerland for a two day bikepacking adventure.

The plan of our trip was as follows: staying in Hausen-am-Albis south of Zurich, riding the Chinzig Culm pass (2,073m) via Muotathal and back the following day. That sounds easy, but when you go cycling with Emma, you know it will be a tough ride...

To survive this trip, I made sure I was well prepared. I took enough Snickers, sandwiches, chocolate, coffee, winegums, inner tubes and of course actual wine with me. It reassured me a bit when I learned that Emma had brought a few more friends along with her. I wasn't the only one she would have to wait for during the many climbs...

What followed was a tough but beautiful route with an insanely beautiful climb over the Chinzig Culm pass. The higher we cycled (or walked), the better the views got. Switzerland is so beautiful, so clean, it hurts your eyes.

On top of that, Emma and I realised something; after our careers as professionals, we reinvented cycling for ourselves, in a different and more fun way. This trip was great and illustrated that you can make new friends in such a short time. The living proof that you don't have to race together for years to become best buddies, but that you can really bond on a two-day cycling adventure.

Have a look at the routes of this stunning bikepacking trip through Switzerland below and for the complete travelogue and more pictures visit my website

By the way, the beautiful pictures were taken by Yorit Kluitman:

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    51.6 mi
    7.9 mph
    9,200 ft
    5,325 ft

    Planned for today were 83 kilometres, mainly on unpaved, difficult but beautiful paths. With Emma and her friends Liesbeth, Shane and Nick we left in the morning from Hausen-am-Albis to Muotathal to climb the Chinzig Culm pass (2073m).

    There seemed to be no end to this climb, but the views made it worthwhile (a cliché but so true). The higher we got, the more beautiful it became (sorry, one more...). The views, the fun together and the good mood kept me going, as did the thought that a reward with delicious food and wine was waiting for us at the summit..

    From the top of the summit we had a three kilometre descent and found a place to spend the night. The bottle of wine we brought with us was finally allowed to be opened.

    Pictures by:

    54.1 mi
    8.2 mph
    6,950 ft
    10,875 ft

    After a short night and a nutritious breakfast with snickers, cheese and bananas we got on our bikes and rode back to where we came from. Because we were already quite high and couldn't get much higher, I counted on descending.

    However, Emma's route plan was different – full of steep hike-a-bike type climbs, which had to be done mainly on foot. And, of course, we often deviated from the route, which made it even harder than we had previously thought.

    But you did not hear me complain. The mountains and the views again were impressive, just like the songs of Liesbeth that got better and better with each kilometre.

    On arrival at Hausen am Albis I was both relieved and disappointed at the same time. It was hard, but this trip could have lasted a few days longer. Many thanks to Emma, Liesbeth, Shane and Nick for the route and the good company.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    106 mi
  • Duration
    13:07 h
  • Elevation
    16,175 ft

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Once pro, now slow – through Switzerland with Emma Pooley & friends