La Haute Route

Fact about me: I grew up in the south of France (far from the original Haute Route), in place which could be wet one day and sun-scorched the next. Yep it’s possible – it’s called the Pyrenees. Mountain weather, in the most Southern part of France. Lots of rain means things tend to grow quickly and that was what I did: 100% organic matter. However hard I try I am never going to pass as a climbe. I’m more of a giant rouleur with TT-proportioned quads.

When I was a kid, I always had two options when I rode out of the house : turn right up the valley in the direction of the famous climbs. Or left down the valley towards a flat / rolling loop… I guess it’s no secret which road I usually chose.

Years later, this consistent training has apparently paid off as I somehow have the ability to push serious watts on the flat. Climbing passes involves way too much use of the brakes to avoid going backwards. I quite honestly I prefer spending my spare budget on coffees rather than brake blocks.

Crossing the most famous and brutal climbs of the Alps…

So as you can see it all stars were aligned for me to accept the proposition from OC Sport – organiser of the Geneva triathlon – to join the Haute Route Alps 2018 as an ambassador. Yeah yeah, it goes up all day every day, but who wouldn’t like to ride it?! 20K+ of climbing over a week, crossing the most famous and brutal climbs of the Alps… F**k yes! Rouleur, climber, who cares? So what if right now I need to get out of the saddle every time I have to climb up… a railway bridge…

It’s premium (very), friendly, sporty, challenging, one of those experiences of a lifetime

What's the Haute Route?

But yeah, enough complaining, I’m forgetting the essential. What the hell is the Haute Route anyway? It used to be a route across the Alps : the original itinerary linked Megève to Nice… “Haute Route” literally means “High Road”. So no bonus for guessing that most of it went over high passes, leading from the alpine pastures to a mojito by the beach.

Years later, the route became famous – famous for being a kill-the-legs, kill-the-lungs, lift-the-spirit brute – and is now a branded label with various events across the globe. Norway, US, Japan, Pyrenees (oh yeah baby, back to my roots), Dolomites, Ventoux amongst others, pick your favourite…

It’s premium (very), friendly, sporty, challenging, one of those experiences of a lifetime that you absolutely have to check off your list…

The Haute Route combines the best – at least on paper! I may cry like a baby after the first brutal climb on August 26th . Anyway, I will make sure to I make it to the very end, smile my way through the pain and high five some new friends along the way!

So impatient to ride climbs I’ve heard so much about, so impatient to just have fun !

New training

So yeah, believe it or not I’ve adjusted my training. I now turn right on my doorstep… heading towards the punchy and undulating roads of Bern, Switzerland. I’ve worked on resistance and hills repeats… It wasn’t even that much of a trial; I even caught myself having fun!

I suppose I could have lost a bit of weight, or gone crazy on chainreactioncycles for some super-light super-gear but stuff that ! I’ve kicked my backside to train smart and get ready as best as I can, without fundamentally changing who I am… simply because I love being on a bike and the Haute Route is first and foremost all about enjoying being a road cyclist; riding a bike; enjoying the experience.

So yeah, despite the f*&k-me hills awaiting me I am so impatient to be there. So impatient to ride climbs I’ve heard so much about, so impatient to just have fun !

So see you out there for a shared climb, a shared descent, a shared protein shake or even a shared lemon sorbet after! Catch you on the High Road!