An event to remember
Riding at altitude is a total pig for those of us hailing from
less elevated terrain - the last 4-5 km of every climb was very
tough; you could see your power drop, and not just from fatigue.
Studies show that at 2500m power drops c 15% - you feel it… the
pace is crawling. Local riders and those from Switzerland seemed to
put minutes into me at the end.
The climbs are LONG. 21-25km climbs are no joke; you
can never 'attack' them - you are always going at Endurance/Tempo
pace max. Even the ITT was a 85 minute effort… A decent power meter
(the Tarmac SL6 has one built in to the cranks as standard) is an
absolute boon here, allowing you to judge your effort and avoid
Conversely cycling in French Alps a couple of days later was
easy. The valley floor was just 500m elevation; so you felt
superhuman breathing wonderful rich air again, that extra oxygen
makes all the difference!
The overall feeling was an amazingly well done event. You felt
like a Pro; ride all day, descend to HQ, book a massage, eat
something, later a proper dinner, sleep and repeat. As a result, my
legs never felt that sore in the morning, and it's wonderful being
able to concentrate on the riding knowing that you're fully
supported and everything is catered for.
There were some bling bikes; for a bike geek it's absolute
nirvana! A lot of the European riders are on carbon tubs; they take
their riding seriously.
If you'd like to experience the Haute Route for yourself, and we
highly recommend you do, there are still several events to come
this year, including a 3-dayer on Alpe d'Huez next month - check
them out at https://www.hauteroute.org/events