A Moosalp success story on two wheels

When Simon Ruff pedals, he performs almost inhuman feats. As an ultra-cyclist, the Törbjer takes part in races in which he masters 1000 kilometers and several Alpine passes. Without interruption! But the home course of the multiple ultra-cycling world champion remains the ride over the Moosalp.

by Bruno Kalbermatten

Simon Ruff's alarm clock rings before 6 a.m. on this summer's day. The family is asleep. But not the ultra-cyclist. "I want to take advantage of the cool morning air and get on my racing bike for a few kilometers." A quick look in the children's room. A slice of bread. The cycling clothes. Then off we go. Accompanied by the first rays of sunshine of the day, Ruff tackles one of his training routes from Visp: "I'm going to Moosalp."

Spinning or endless motivation?

Simon lives in Visp with his wife and three children. While others are gradually waking up at home, Ruff is already on his bike heading for Stalden. Where did this passion for cycling come from? Ruff remembers: "The daughter of endurance cyclist Beny Furrer was once my girlfriend," says Simon. "Cycling was omnipresent in the Furrer family." The decisive moment, however, came from a special experience. With just one arm, Beny Furrer completed the ultracyclists' premier race, the Race Across America, in 2003. "The admiration over this achievement motivated me to get on the saddle myself." The love for his girlfriend at the time faded away, but the passion for cycling remained. And how!

Simon Ruff is one of the best in the Swiss ultra bike scene today. When he pedals, he likes to do so over long distances and as fast as possible. The title of multiple world champion and Swiss champion are among his greatest successes. During his career, however, the 38-year-old Törbjer is increasingly setting himself new sporting goals. "It's crazy what kind of races I've done on the bike over the last few years. You have to be a bit of a nutcase," says Simon as he turns off from Stalden onto the road up to Törbel in the direction of Moosalp.

The open account with the gate tour

The route from Stalden up to Moosalp is a real challenge. Cyclists like to compare the winding road with the legendary Alpe d'Huez. "From Stalden up, it's quite tough. The route is quite steep, but very varied." This is how the veteran describes his home route. Before the big long-distance races, Ruff needs Moosalp as a gauge of his fitness. "If I ride easily up to Moosalp, I know that I'm fit for the race."

On the route up to Moosalp, Simon Ruff has already prepared himself for many great sporting challenges.

  • Ultracycling World Champion 2011 & 2018
  • Ultracycling Swiss Champion 2018
  • New record across Switzerland
  • 1st place Raca Around Slovenia
  • 1st rank Chasing Cancellara Bern - Andermatt
  • ...

But Simon Ruff is at war with one particular race. The endurance cyclist has wanted to win the prestigious Tortour for a long time, but so far he has narrowly failed to do so.

The Tortour is the largest multi-day ultracycling event in the world. "The race demands everything from us cyclists". In two nights and two days, a 1000-kilometer race route over several Alpine passes around Switzerland has to be mastered. Without interruption. Alone. It's hard to describe how one can even master such a feat, Ruff struggles for words. "During such an endurance race, I am completely focused on the ride." But the ride takes a long time.

In an ultra race like the Tortour, it's crucial to manage your strength properly. Simon Ruff remembers a rider who annoyed him during the first half of the Tortour. "Then on the Oberalp, he opened the trunk of the support car and ate a plate of spaghetti. That's when I knew: 'He doesn't see me anymore'". Mentally, he said, it's more advantageous to catch up than to lose places. "If you overtake, you have an advantage; if you're overtaken, you're down."

And yet Ruff has not yet achieved his great goal: to become the winner of the Tortour. The Törbjer has finished second twice and third once. Will he manage the exploit in the 2022 edition?

Moosalp in the spotlight of the cyclists

In the meantime, Ruff has arrived at Moosalp on his training run. His eyes radiate satisfaction. Not only because the endurance cyclist has reached the pass without much effort, but also because he is looking forward to the big cycling year 2022 on the Moosalp.

"On June 17, 2022, the stage arrival of the Tour de Suisse will take place at Moosalp. The following day, the riders will set off from Visp for the next stage." Simon Ruff is part of the organizing committee of the 2022 Tour-de-Suisse in Upper Valais. The Törbjer is convinced that there will be a great mountain finish next year. The television pictures will go around the world and make the beautiful Moosalp route known to cyclists. "The stage to Moosalp will certainly be a highlight of the next Tour-de-Suisse."

However, cyclists would already experience racing feeling today on the original Tour de Suisse route, Ruff makes the point. "With the Tour de Suisse Climb Visp - Moosalp, riders can measure their time and then compare it with the pros of the Tour de Suisse."

Tour de Suisse Climb Visp - Moosalp

Have you always wanted to compete with the professional cyclists of the Tour de Suisse?
Then take part in the Tour de Suisse Climb.

On the original race course of next year's Tour de Suisse from Visp to Moosalp you can now measure your time and compare it with the pros of the Tour de Suisse next year. Attractive prizes await the winners and VIP tickets for the stage arrival of the Tour de Suisse on Moosalp on June 17, 2022 will be raffled among all participants.

The Challenge runs until September 19, 2021. For more information and registration, click here.