Day 22: Zurich to Gossau (108m, 1300m)

I got out of the house at 8:45, not being in a hurry on an overcast day to get going. Leaving Zurich, I rode along the North side of the Zurichsee, viewing the lake as much as I could through built up developed houses and sites along the lake. The terrain was mostly flat and I made good time all the way to Rapperswil, even managing to stay on the wheel of a local rider clocking 33kph along a few rollers. From Rapperswil I rode along to Eschenbach towards Ricken. At this point the road moved away from the lake and started a gentle climb.

Thomas had warned me the Ricken (805m) itself was a significant hill, but it was only 130m of climbing. At Ricken proper I stopped to ask for directions and was told to head over to the next town, Wattwil. There was a signed bike path to Wattwill, but having been led astray one too many times by bikepaths (and having a descent ahead of me) I stuck to the main road. At Wattwill, the first intersection right led me was indicated to be the correct oneby a local cyclist, and led me right to the bike path back to Wattwill. The same bike route, however, was also signed for Kappel, Ebnat, and Krummenau.

This bike route (it wasn't a bike path since I did run into a handful of cars along it) wound along high in the hills and had extremely light traffic. I was impressed by how picturesque the area looked. Staring ahead into the distant hills, however, it seemed to me that the clouds were hanging quite low. I rolled through Kappel and Ebnat and at Krummenau exited the bike route and returned to the main road to Neu St. Johann, where the first intersection was signed for Schwagalp.

The road to Schwagalp (1278m) started very steeply for a hill that was only 1100m high, so it was not surprising after 2km that it flattened out and became a delightful series of rolling hills alongside woods and a stream. I rolled along for at least 10km before the road again decisively turned uphill for the finaly climb to Schwagalp. As the final approach began I saw the granite mountains of the area, including Santis which rose to 2503m. All the peaks, however were shrouded by fog. I took to looking at the butts of cyclists who were descending to find tell-tale stains of a wet summit, but everyone who came down was dry, giving me hope that I would avoid another wet descent that day.

At the top (which wasn't terribly impressive) I put on a jacket and started a twisty set of hairpins which dropped me 200m to Rossfall. The descent was very manageable and the traffic very light. Pretty soon I found myself pedaling against a headwind towards Urnasch, Waldstatt and Herisau. At Herisau, I stopped for a grocery store lunch, and then made the descent into Gossau. An Australian gentleman provided me with directions (and a helpful walkthrough) to the train station and there I bought train tickets for myself and the bicycle back to Zurich. My bicycle tour had ended on an easy and dry note, though it would pour and rain the next 2 days in Switzerland.

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