The High Alps Challenge is a week-long cycling challenge which starts in Geneva, traverses the French Alps, and ends in the coastal town of Nice in Southern France. This is the second year of the HAC, and the team of 12 riders (plus support crew) will be taking on a vertical climb the size of Mount Everest in just one week, following in the path of several of the well known Tour de France ascents. This is all done in support of my father who is continuing to fight Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and also joining us this year as part of the support crew. It will be a huge challenge for the team, but well worth it.
Before Day 1
Planes, vans and motorcycles were the mode of transport today. Everybody has been arriving and getting ready for the Grand Depart tomorrow. We have Hannah, Tom, Sarah, Adam, Gary, Gregor, Peter, James, Anthony and David are all here with Max and Nathan arriving tonight. What better way to prepare than watching the tour and two Wimbledon semis?
A special thought today goes out to Pat who has had to pull out – we wish you the best and will see you next summer.
So, it begins… 12 cyclists all setting off from the shores of Lake Geneva on this week long adventure. It all started off calmly with a quick ride out past Bonneville through the foothills. Then like a train coming to you head on, the climbs began and wow! Over 14% of mental-ness!
The support crew suggested stopping halfway up in Reposoir for a little coffee and a chat. Afterall, a support drivers’ job is lonely, but the group were having none of it! The were smashing up the hill. They spread out along the mountain but everybody made it up the mountain in good time.
Some looking forward to the descent and others preferring that they were still climbing!
There is a sense of trepidation amongst the ranks over what is to come but the first day is always the hardest and Anton and Trigger (who participated last year) were supposed to be on hand to calm the nerves – but I do not think that they are very good at this sort of diplomacy.
One significant learning point today – I always thought that 12 minds would be better than 1 - the collective better than the individual - but when it comes to navigation along a straight road…
3 climbs in one day, this is the biggy! Well the biggy before tomorrows 50km. We set off from the comfort of the the Traverse Lodge in St Jean de Sixt knowing that the adventure now starts proper. The three climbs are well known from the Tour de France: Col des Aravis, Les Saises and the Cormet de Roseland - which is absolutely stunning.
Now that we are pitched we know that a storm is due, but the weather now is not bad. We have pegged the tents and sorted the kitchen area.
Tomorrow, Tom has volunteered to write the blog from a riders perspective. We have an early start tomorrow.
So... some quotes from the guys now that we are enjoying a well earned glass of wine in the Bourg St Maurice Campsite:
Nathan: “Mike has nice baguettes”
James: “Another epic day in the alps”
Peter: “Thoroughly enjoyed the swings and slides in the first campsite”
Max: “Just give me some sugar, baby”
Trigger: “……..” he said nothing because he is pretending to read his book.
As you can see, they are really helping me compile this blog of the week... thanks guys.