La Route des grandes alpes
The 6th edition of la route des grandes alpes starts Monday Sept 1st, 2015 in Thonon-les-Bains (Geneve). The finish lies 10 days and 700plus kilometres south on the coast of the Mediterranean in the city of Nice.
The whole route follows paved, relatively quiet and scenic mountain roads. The course varies from serious hills to long, steep climbs like the Col du Galibier or the legendary l’Alpe d’Huez. Don't expect one single flat stage.
The tour is planned at the start of the autumn to miss the heat of the summer and enjoy the quiet of the rural countryside, although of course the weather conditions can always be unsettled. The circumstances can become heroic if you reach altitudes around or above 2.000 metres.
The tour is open for cyclists of all levels with a maximum of 12 riders. Ride with friends you know.
But it is not all about the riding, although this is the most important part. The atmosphere, the country side, the famous passes, the good company of like minded people, the physical challenge and a quiet wine after riding all add to an exceptional experience.
We leave the hotel at 0830 each day on the bike (having dropped the bags in the van) as a group and ride together to warm up. Soon though the group will split into smaller groups as riders go at their own pace. Everyone gets together at the col for coffee, lunch or otherwise, and descends at own pace to valley floor - maybe 20kms or more. If there is a valley ride to the hotel then the stronger riders would lead a pace line so that everyone could arrive together at the end of the day. The days are not super long or difficult and the angles are low (compared to riding Coronet Peak or the Crown Range) Only a couple passes have anything over 8 or 9 degrees and mostly less. I do recommend a compact with a 28 on the back to make life a bit easier.
After ride recovery food.
I take enough protein powder / recovery drink and shaker and a daily muesli bar (bought there) to aid in that first hour recovery.
Each night we eat together - normally in the hotel, but on two or three occasions we have the chance to wander down the street to enjoy the ambience.
The journey is supported by two vehicles who follow the riders for most of the day. One at the back and the other following the lead group. Often they travel together. One of these is designated as the ‘day car’. It will have a small bag with anything that you may need during the day.
We will also have the capacity to carry bikes on the roof if required.
Breakfast ( bread, cereals, fruit ) is included for each night and dinner for half of the nights. Lunch is a riders expense, but a small baguette tucked in the back pocket from breakfast is always handy.
Any wine or beer is at riders expense.