Hi guys,

I cant believe it but the first “round” of Haute Route is successfully completed: 910km with over 19000m of elevation gain in the Pyrenees. There were awesome, terrible, emotional, exciting and tearing moments. It was tough! Very tough. Along the way I learned a few lessons I want to share that helped me not only to “get through” the stages but to enjoy it. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters.

All the tips below are based on my goal to get through and enjoy the 3 weeks of Haute Route without wanting to sell my bike afterwards as well as enjoy each day to the most. Thus, I am not going for the classification, I am here for my very own challenge. I see everyone around me as a friend and not as competitor. That being said this is what I have been doing (in random order):

  1. Pacing. I know this topic has been chewed to its last bit but still it is the important part. I ride for myself, my pace. When I am in a group I evaluate the benefits and drawbacks being in the group and if it is too fast or too hectic, I let myself get dropped and stay on my own pace. Dont get me wrong, I prefer riding with people rather than riding solo. But it is very tough to find a person who has the exact same pacing like me for the entire course. But I still try to chat with other riders for a bit because it is just more fun riding together.
  2. Cassette. After two days on a 11-28 cassette and sore knees and back in the very steep Pyrenees, I changed my cassette to a 32 tooth cassette. It saved me! All back and knee issues became history.
  3. Drinking. I am getting better but I keep forgetting to drink during and especially after the race. I have been buying flavoured water so I enjoy it more to gulp down liters and liters of liquid.
  4. Multivitamin tablets. I am actually not a big fan of tablets if it is possible to take it in naturally but I dont think I can eat enough to get all necessary nutrients in. I might be wrong but currently a daily multivitamin has not hurt yet.
  5. Sleep after lunch. This is my best recovery. A nap after lunch is perfect. I usually feel very grouchy after it and take forever to wake up again but I can feel how my body started the recovery process.
  6. Massage. Light massages work wonders. Just getting the circulation going feels good. I am trying to take advantage of the free daily massage at Haute Route.
  7. Legs up. When I lie on my bed I put my legs up against the wall. Especially after a hot day my legs tend to accumulate fluid in the ankle area so putting the legs up feels especially good.
  8. Dont stand if you can sit. Dont sit if you can lie. I try to avoid walking around or standing for a long time.

Let’s see what lessons I learn from Haute Route Alps. By now, it is more the mental part that becomes increasingly important.

And if you are curious about the course for Haute Route Alps, the road book is here.

I wish everyone a great ride!

Cheers from Pra Loup.

Monika