Category Archives: Haute Route

The Haute Route Team Takes Shape

There have been a few changes since I last talked about the team. Regular readers might remember that once I signed on the dotted line, the team filled up almost immediately.

Once the financial and physical reality set in, a few of the committed members backed out. At one point we had too many members for a full team, then almost overnight, we did not have enough.

We scrambled to find replacements. At first this was an international team, which I suppose it still is, but we now have a larger Carolina contingent. Five of the Nine members live in North or South Carolina. Wes, Chris, Ed, and Paul, welcome to the team.

We also have a name. After much discussion, and a lot of bad suggestions(including all of mine!), good ol’ Gerry came up with ‘Vicious Cycle.’ We had waffled on all the names before it, but this one was welcomed unanimously.

The name works on a lot of levels. First of all, we’ll be frothing at the mouth viciously as we attack the climbs of the alps — at least that is what we are convincing ourselves. We’ll be a pack of wolves, and our prey will be the legendary Cols of Alpine France. Whether we attack with vicious vigor, or if we whimper to the finish line, is yet to be seen.

The multiple meanings don’t stop there. The training schedule is also going to be a vicious cycle, although most of that biting will be done to ourselves. And, in case nobody noticed, we ride bicycles, viciously.

Gerry took to the idea so much that he re-named his blog. I recommend all of those who are interested in the Haute Route, and following this blog, to also follow him. Here is his profile post about the team members.

Once we had a name, we had to get registered. I have to credit Rob and Gerry for that. They did the appropriate research to get in via the Team Guaranteed program, coordinated payment, and made it all official.

Because of this registration system, we were official before registration opened to the public on November 1st. That’s a good thing, because I understand that it sold out in roughly 15 minutes. There’s a lot of demand for this ride, and we have to credit the organizers for not overwhelming the event with larger registration numbers.

Next comes the jersey design, which Rob is generously going to quarterback. We have already selected a company, and thrown around a few thematic ideas. More on that later.

Most importantly, we recognize the ambition of what we’re trying to accomplish. Training is underway on all fronts. We’ll be ready.

Haute Route Training Begins

It seems only fitting that I write this post on the day the Tour de France route is announced. It is especially exciting following along, knowing that I’ll be riding many of the same roads a few weeks later. The course looks imposing, with uphill time trials, two climbs up Alpe d’Huez in the same stage, and a Ventoux stage finish. It will definitely be a race for the climbers.

Looking at these routes, I also know that I have a long ways to go. Fortunately, my formal training began this week.

After feeling a little hip irritation over the last weekend, it has been surprisingly painless ever since. It is probably at around 80-90% now. Given the slow healing process thus far, I’m not expecting overnight recovery, but I am far closer to being done with this injury.

We approached this week cautiously, careful not to work too hard on the hip and suffer a setback. Normally we would have started with strength exercises, but Coach Bobby first wanted to make sure the hip could handle an easy training load. He scheduled some light riding for everyday this week.

Monday and Tuesday started with the trainer. To be honest, I sort of hate the trainer. I can put the most mindless popcorn movie on the TV, yet still feel bored when pushing the pedals. It is always uncomfortably warm in the house, and I get saddle sore extremely quickly. I was only able to manage 30 minutes the first two nights, although that was partly because I had other projects that occupied my time.

Tonight I am going to try to hang in there longer. I’ll be pleased with an hour of work.

Tomorrow I’ll be trying out a night ride. They call it a crit actually, but I’ll be riding easy, just working on getting some base miles. Maybe later in the year I can stretch the legs and do some speed work.

Friday will be a short ride; Saturday will be an organized metric century; Sunday will be another short ride in my backyard.

Assuming I am able to get through this week without any setbacks, I’ll start with weight training next week.

Here goes nothing …

Haute Route 2013: The Stage Is Set

The route for 2012. It will probably be similar for 2013.


When I was invited to the Haute Route team, I was number four. There were a number of others interested, but had not yet committed. We scrambled to try and fill the spots, and within days, the team was full.

Gerry has posted the bios of all team members here. It is quite an interesting mixture. We have two USA representatives (including yours truly), one Irish, one English, and five Canadians, one of whom lives in France. Most of these new teammates are incredibly strong. Shawn Bond is a Cat 3 Racer. Robert Armstrong has an impressive laundry list of accomplishments, which you can read about at his blog here.

It will be interesting with a majority of the team being Canadian. My wife grew up near the border, and considers herself honorary Canadian. She’ll have to get me up to speed on the culture up north. She has already encouraged me to try poutine, but having heard the ingredients, it will probably cost me a mile per hour in France. She is tentatively planning to join me for the first part of the Tour depending on logistics.

Fortunately I was able to invite Wes, a local friend and very strong rider, who will hopefully be my occasional trainer partner over the next year. He used to race, bought a new bike earlier this year, and is a difficult wheel to stay with. Some of the climbing will be new to him, but we have plenty of difficult climbs in the Blue Ridge for training purposes.

Thanks for all the coaching suggestions after my initial France announcement. It was nice to get so many different ideas. I settled on Bobby Sweeting from the Kenda/5-Hour Energy team. He is recent transplant to Asheville, NC, by way of Florida and then Connecticut. From what I understand, he is a beast on the bike. More importantly, he has coached a friend and blog reader, and I have seen the results firsthand (translation: I got dropped). We are going to start up in November, and will hopefully continue until the main event.

The date for next year has still not been officially announced, but we have it on good authority that it will be August 18-24th. That sounds about right, as it is the same time of the year as this year’s ride.

The course has not been announced either, but most likely it will again be Geneva to Nice over 7-days. This year’s course went through 19 classic Cols, with a time-trial up Alpe D’Huez. Needless to say, for a climber like myself, this will be the adventure of a lifetime.