Day 5: Hospental to Chur (100.8km, 1038m)

The morning did not look as bad as we feared, but we stuck to our plan and headed for Andermatt, seeing members of the Swiss Ski team ski past us going the other way on roller skis adapted for summer training. In Andermatt, we stopped at a supermarket to buy more bananas, and met a bunch of high schoolers on a bicycle tour, led by a teacher or two. They said they were going to head up Furka and Grimsel. We told them they were likely to see snow, but they seemed dressed for cold weather anyway.

Oberalp pass(2044m) is very easy and fast from Andermatt, though as we made the climb we saw members of the ski team on skis make their way up the slope on what appeared to be an astonishingly fast pace. They stopped before they got to me, however, so I never did get an idea of how fast they were.

At the summit lake, I put on everything and started the descent first, trusting the others to catch up to me. They caught up sooner than expected as I dropped my cell phone from my handlebar bag, and we then proceeded down towards Disentis and then Ilanz against a growing headwind. Past Disentis, Mike went to the front and pulled strongly for about 15km, getting us to Ilanz by lunch time. There we ate a good meal, and took the OCD recommended route towards Velandes and Versams. This road takes you away from the busy main road (as well as the astonishingly mountain bike-oriented touring route) into a wooded climb and then a lovely canyon descent, where road signs pointed us towards Chur.

There, our riding took on a hurried urgency as the first rain drops started to be felt. The push into Chur went on and on and the rain got harder and harder and started to sting when it fell on bare skin. Soon, however, we were in downtown Chur, where I stopped to inquire about prices at the first hotel we saw, Hotel Chur. The beautiful blonde behind the counter told me she would give us a special rate: 4 individual rooms at 80 CHF each, the price of 2 doubles. I inquired as to the preferences of my companions and they jumped at the opportunity to stop riding, despite the early hour of 3pm.

It being so early, after we had showered I organized a laundry run, since this town had a laundrette just around the corner from the hotel. There was also a sports shop across the street from the laundrette, and since Roberto had complained about poor shifting from his chain, we bought a new 9-speed chain for him. A visit to the internet cafe was also in order. I bought more chocolate, as well as fresh batteries for my front light, which I had accidentally left on the day before after a long tunnel run. I also asked the receptionist which direction Lenzerheide was, upon which I realized how lucky we were to be in the hotel directly across the street from where the road began. There would be no traversing the city tomorrow morning.

Dinner was at the pizzeria just across the street, which provided lots of food at reasonable prices. The rain came and went the rest of the evening but we slept well, each in our cocoon of a room.

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