St Ursanne Rally

August 17, 2014

Map Link

I wanted to do some hiking/via ferrata this weekend, but the fates were not with us. Saturday’s weather was much cooler and damper than I had anticipated and on Sunday morning Dan wasn’t feeling well. Fortunately, he recovered before too long – but too late to fit in our hiking plans. He suggested that we go for a ride anyway. We hopped on the bikes and headed down the Jura toward Neuchatel. I didn’t have an alternative plan so we just followed the GPS on the original route.

French village near the border

Things went well, meandering through the French/Swiss countryside while never sure which country we were in. The sun was warm and the shade was cool – it was the perfect day to be on two wheels.

Someone else was out for a “Sunday drive”

The GPS was thrown off when the exit from a main road was closed. Dan said that he saw some grandstands set up, so I could only assume a bicycle race, as those seem to happen quite often around here. Much to the GPS’s dismay, I didn’t take the next U-turn but instead forced it to recalculate us onto another route.

Clear views across the Jura Mountains

Dropping down into the Doubs Valley

Trestle and cave above St Ursanne

Because of the GPS re-route, we arrived in the St Ursanne region by a narrow back road, something that felt more like a farmer’s access road than an actual public road. As we rounded one of the lower corners we were confronted with parked cars – a lot of parked cars. Part of the race we saw earlier? Perhaps. The only way to find out was to keep on going.

At the bottom of the hill the access to the main road was blocked by a thin stretch of red and white tape. A canopy was set up on the corner and four security personnel were standing around. We parked the bikes to check things out. I approached one of the security guys and asked him what was going on. It was the annual “Hill Climb St. Ursanne – The Rangiers 2014″ and the cars were expected to go by in about ten minutes. We weren’t in any hurry so we sat back to wait.

Cars parked for the rally

We heard the first car before we saw it. It roared by alone, zipping up the hill and changing gears as it took the first corner. About once every two minutes, another car raced by.

Rally car

The videos are short and a little loud.
Video 1

Video 2

After a dozen or so cars had raced by we were ready to go. We had decided to go back home, but I had set the GPS to “Curvy Roads”, so we were sure to have an enjoyable time.

Following Dan

The GPS took us on more roads that didn’t appear to be roads and we had a good time following the directions.

A little fuzzy, but hi there!

Passing through farmyards

View across the Jura Mountains

Parking lot for rally spectators

Almost home

It had been a relatively short day, but it was time well spent. It’s always nice to get out, and especially when the roads are empty and pristine.

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