As most of you know, injuries ended my Haute Route ambitions this year, although my registration is still good for next year. I’m preparing now to get myself healthy and ready to go, and have been following along with several others as they prepare for their journey this year. Yesterday’s stage of Geneve to Megeve looks like it was both breathtakingly beautiful and challenging, and even though I watched it from my armchair, I learned a lot.
One thing I can tell immediately is that the Haute Route is not to be underestimated. The stage one metrics look brutal, comparable to my ride on Saturday. The only difference is they have to do it again, and again, and again. After just the first day, I’m already thinking of ways to get some challenging multi-day rides next year.
One shocker was seeing the first day’s results. Some riders that I know and respect did well, but not as well as I would have thought. There were a couple choice quotes from Brian Curran, one of the top local riders. He was impressed by the skill of the field, saying that “there are no wannabes here, lots of super fit riders on high dollar machines. I was wondering if I should even be here on the first climb, the way people were riding away from me.” Having ridden with Brian before, and knowing how he’s done on local mountain centuries (like Mitchell), it says a lot about the strength of the field.
One thing that’ll be interesting is to see how things proceed throughout the week. Given that this was the first day, it is possible that many people are pushing a harder pace than they can sustain. Brian may catch some of the others as the fatigue adds up.
Below are some links to results and blogs that I’ll be following the rest of the way.
Haute Route Alps – The website is now in event mode, with live results, tracking, and video. I’ve been punching in bib numbers for familiar faces to see how they do. Most of these people are on the Vicious Cycle Team, with some local representatives from Vork Cycling and Outspokin’.
Vicious Cycle – I think most readers here are familiar with Gerry’s blog. If it weren’t for Gerry, the seed wouldn’t have been planted for me to even consider this. He and his brother-in-law and coach Robert Armstrong are the founders and leaders of the Vicious Cycle Team. It is pretty cool that they finished together in 115th place on day one.
Jan Van Mieghem – Jan is a Belgian living in America that I’ve just recently discovered. He finished 72nd on his first day, and gave a great narrative of near the front of the pack.
Benjamin Smithers – Ben is riding for UK Youth, who just put together his blog for the Haute Route. He’s already finished his day and placed at 74th, just behind Jan — most impressive. I found it interesting to see his take on how the flats are forgotten, but I can see how he would prefer to be riding either up or down.
Grimpeur Apprenti – Detlef has been preparing for the Haute Route Pyrenees, which will follow the Alps version in two weeks. I’ve been following his training most of the year. He’s had a couple of setbacks, but has still managed to keep up his training regimen, and I expect he’ll have a successful tour.
Good luck guys!