The organizer’s of the Haute Route have put together an excellent documentary of last year’s event. It is embedded below. While it clocks in at 45 minutes, it is worth the time. For those without the time or attention, even the first couple minutes are worth watching just to understand what the toughest amateur event in the world is like.
I found myself intending just to watch a little bit of it last night, and watched the entire thing in one sitting. Fascinating stuff, and I cannot wait for the event.
Here are some thoughts I took away from the video:
- They said that weight is a huge factor, and that you’ll remember what you ate in December on the hills. When I heard that quote, it took me a second to remember what month it is, and what I had for dinner. Oops!
- Alpe d’Huez looks a lot like Hogpen Gap. Aside from that and a couple others (Izoard, Glandon), many of the climbs don’t look any harder than the ones around here. Easy or hard, they will certainly take their toll over the week.
- That Marathon stage? Wow! We’re still waiting for the 2013 route to be released, but I’m certain there will be a stage like that. For my Southeastern readers, that’s like doing Assault on Mount Mitchell after doing Assault on the Carolinas for two days straight.
- Riders consume between 3,500 to 5,000 calories on each stage. That seems high. I don’t think I consume that much on my mountain centuries. That said, I’ll be erring on the side of caution, and over-consumption. The last thing I want to do is bonk in the Alps.
- I was not sure how much the beauty of the area would minimize the suffering. The answer from this video, it doesn’t, but it sure makes it worthwhile. It was reassuring seeing how many people appreciated the beauty while being exhausted from the effort
- I wasn’t sure how competitive the riders would be given that it’s an amateur event. I think that depends on your placement. Most likely I will be taking it easy, buckling in for the long haul, and cooperating with my fellow riders rather than racing them.
- Peter Pouly, Emma Pooley and the Kenyan Riders come off like celebrities. I hope to meet them next year if they participate.
- I thought the Alpe d’Huez Time Trial would be like a rest day, but that’s not the way it was presented in the film. It looks very difficult, and my guess is they’ll do the same next year.
- I was thinking that the last stage would be easier because of the descent into Nice. On the contrary, it might be the most difficult because of the sheer number of miles. Many of them will be flat or downhill, but still …
- The teams stuck together a lot, which was very cool to see. I look forward to enjoying a beer with my Vicious Cycle teammates in Nice.
After seeing this video, I can safely say that making it to the finish line will be a major accomplishment, and this will be one of my greatest life achievements. I can’t wait. Even though I’m injured now, I plan to be there unless my legs fall off.