Yesterday morning, somewhere between avoiding work and answering PSIMET/Zilla emails, a headline crossed the ticker: “Scientists working in Geneva, Switzerland find cure for cycling induced hate—Epicness.” Ok, I am not entirely sure that’s how it went down, but the cure did come from Switzerland and the cure was indeed Epic.
The Haute Route. That term means different things to different people. If you’re a skier, you immediately think of daylong skins up and over high alpine passes (As well as sweaty dudes crammed into huts chowing on stinky cheese and sausage). If you’re a hiker, well, its kind of the same idea.
But, if you’re a cyclist… you think of 800km with 21,000m (yes, meters) of climbing over seven days. Lets break that down for the American folk: that’s 498 miles of climbing over 19 of the most amazingly grueling Alpine passes in the world. When all is said and done, you climb just shy of 68,000ft; that’s the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest (from sea level mind you) twice and then throwing in another 10,000 ft for good measure.
Most notably, is that the ‘race’ climbs up l’Alpe d’Huez twice—once along the race route from Villard Reculas and again the following day in an Individual Time Trial via Bourg d’Oisans. Beyond that, the hits just keep in coming, including an ascent up the Col de la Madeleine, a ride to Courchevel, and a slog up the Col de St. Rachael (to name a few).
In short, it is just plain EPIC and I would love to be apart of it. It is not in the cards for me this year due to some scheduling conflicts (not to mention that I am more or less flat broke), but damn, just thinking about that kind of route gets the blood flowing.
One thing to note, which I think also adds to the mystique of the event, is that The Haute Route is a cyclosportive. This designation seems particularly French to me in that, while it is not a race, you are timed and the ‘winners’ are given prizes. While it is no secret that I generally dislike Gran Fondos and the large group-ride events outside of governed racing, an event like this strikes a chord.
Now if you will excuse me I have to go wipe the drool off the keyboard.