7 Days, 700 Km, 18 Mountain Cols, 19,000m+ and 4 happy friends
After 7 intense days of pure cycling, we have completed one of the best routes that can be done in the world on road bike: The classic “Route des Grandes Alpes”.
During 700 km and 19,000 meters of positive altitude, we have been able to enjoy magnificent landscapes pedaling on amazing roads, crossing the French Alps from Thonon, at Lake Léman (beside the Swiss border), to Menton, on the french Côte d’Azur
Every day we were about 6/7 hours on the bike, and we made some stops to eat, take water and freshen up in a fountain. And adding all these hours, we have overcome some of the most mythical ports of the Alps, such as Galibier, Izoard, Iseran, Telegraph, Aravis, Roselend, Turini or Vars, without any mishap that has forced us to miss a day’s journey. We had worked well the circumstances that depended on us: training, material, new WAA Cycling equipment, etc. And those that did not depend on us have aligned perfectly, with no mechanical problems beyond a single prick in the whole route, not any fall, very good weather and fantastic coexistence.
Doing it without assistance car or luggage transport had a special meaning for us, because we love to have the freedom and total autonomy to let ourselves flow and adapt in each moment as the project progresses. In order not to penalize the pleasure of cycling, we also resigned to carry saddlebags; and we decided to travel in a very minimalist way, which meant we only had to carry 3.5kg of extra weight, distributed among a small bag of saddle and one of handlebars. Apart from a little common spare parts kit very well studied, the minimal garments for cold and rain for each one, and a single change (shorts, shirt, underwear and slippers) for the night, we had practically nothing else. And to ride the bike, a single maillot and coulotte for all the journey, which we washed a couple of times at some stage.
One of the goals of the route was also to test out the new WAA Cycling equipment, which, with such a minimal philosophy, meant a very demanding and limited use. The result has been fantastic, because apart from being extremely comfortable, without having produced any type of scratch to any of the four, it is also very breathable and with a beautiful design. And one feels very safe with the special WAA Protektor Skin fabric to protect the most exposed parts of the body in case of fall.
Beyond the competition, these routes allow you to test yourself in a very demanding challenge, at the same time that you have to manage many variable factors in a long, unorganized journey. When everything works and finishes well, it can seem that it has been easy, but in reality it is the result of a lot of effort and having organized all the details very well.
7 intense days like these, full of sport, friendship and great emotions, are equivalent to 70 days of normal life. Living such special experiences as the WAACycling Grandes Alpes, one concludes that it is not true that time passes quickly, but it is only a matter of using it very well and connecting it with the passions and the meaning of one’s life.
Now we must give us time to digest and assimilate well this event, while we are thinking about the new projects that await us.