From 13. August to 8. September I am racing 3x seven-day stage races (Haute Route Pyrenees, Alps, Dolomites) – each stage race tough by its own. However, my spontaneous and adventurous self decided to do all three of them. I have never done anything similar to that – especially with that huge amount of climbing.
Thus, there is a lot of experience to share!
What’s going on after 4 days.
Currently in Bagneres de Luchon, in the middle of the Pyrenees, we have complete 4 days of racing. It has been tough right from the start. Over 600km and 12500m of elevation gain in the legs. (See below the Strava files)
I wanted to share my experience, especially in the beginning phase as I am sure a lot of things will change throughout the time facing this massive 2650km challenge with over 62500m of climbing.
Settling into a daily routine.
I am finding my daily rhythm. I am waking up between 5-6am (depending on race start time) in the hotel and walking like a zombie to the hotel’s breakfast. After 2 cups of coffee I start to become alive.
I pack my travel bag and backpack (which is part of the registration package). The travel bag is picked up by the race organization at the hotel and I ride with the backpack to the start line. The backpack will be waiting for me right at the finish line while the travel bag is transported to the next hotel for me. That’s one amazing service! I dont have to worry about anything except getting myself to the start line on time.
Once at the start line I drop my backpack off the designated truck, pump up my tires at the mechanical support and line up.
After the neutral start heading out of town, the race is on – all recorded with a timing chip.
The course has been stunning and tough! The Pyrenees seem by far steeper than the Alps. But they are also more wild, remote with smaller roads.
Descending Col du Tourmalet
Col de Peyresourde
I am fascinated about the level of support. Volunteers stand on every corner and close roads so we can safely pass through. An abundance of arrows take any slight hesitation away from being off course. Plus, I dont ride for long without having some form of organizational vehicle passing by – motos, race organization, medical team or support vehicles. Incredible!
The food stops are located on top of climbs and have a variety of stuff – including fruits, cakes, crackers, ham and cheese. There is even a coffee truck following this event to ensure we get our caffeine fix.
After a long day in the saddle, I finish in the early afternoon to pick up my backpack. Showers, healthy food, free massage, cryotherapy, mechanical support are all located in the event village.
I grab some food and head to the hotel where my travel bag is waiting for me. After a shower I relax until the briefing in the evening that talks about the daily highlights as well as about information for the following stage.
After the briefing and dinner, I am trying to sleep on time.
Tomorrow will be a time trial – 18 km uphill with 1100m elevation gain, then having coffee with new friends from the race.
How my recovery goes, who is in the race and what have been the most essential must-haves so far I will share in the next posts.
Have a wonderful night, bonne nuit, buenas noches und gute Nacht!