When I started racing the Haute Route Triple (3×7 stage races in the Pyrenees, Alps, Dolomites), I came by myself with no support or teammates.
I did not know a soul.
Now, after 21 stages of Haute Route I can say that there is an entire team that has been a major contribution for completing such a massive challenge. After three long weeks I got to know so many people who are working just as hard as the racers do to give us, the participants, the best experience. I havent had a chance to take a picture with all of them but let me introduce a few crucial people who I want to say thanks to:
Look at all the hundreds of volunteers and staff that made such an incredible event happen. Always professional, helpful and smiling. That makes such a big difference. Unfortunately not in this picture, I want to give a special thanks to the French motorcycle crew which supported us in the Pyrenees and the Alps. I seriously never felt so safe on the road as with them. Plus, they were always asking how we are doing and really wanted to be part of the event.
This girl might be nominated to the best cheerleader on Haute Route, Julia. I saw her everywhere, especially in key moments. She was always cheering and smiling. The small things that matter most in these type of events.
Max (right) from the neutral support. What a great support! After 2650km and 60000m of climbing, those guys help out for everything. And I must admit, I have a thing for support vehicles. It just makes my heart beat faster when I see cycling-branded, bike-racked support vehicles passing by. Porsches and Lamborghinis just dont do it for me.
John (middle) runs the bike touring company, Duckstore Productions, out of Annecy, France. He was always supportive, gave me his tea during the first rainy, cold stage in the Dolomites. Now it seems such a small, minor gesture but when you are cold and completely wet, those small things make or break a day.
The mobile coffee shop team: Cafe Pod. Wow! You hear their van from miles away. Their very unique music style and honking system just puts a smile on your face. Plus, when I hear them I know there will be coffee on top of the climb. When I was really exhausted after a long, long climb like Col d’Izoard, I couldnt find them fast enough. They are even so popular that I heard another female racer, Kat, proposing to one of the Cafe Pod guys!
The massage team at Haute Route is just exceptional. In the beginning of the Dolomites I started to get IT band issues. Without them, the pain would have gotten worse throughout the race.
The Mouss Production camera team. Busy trying to get the best shots and coverage, those guys are always on the road. We were constantly passing each other and they always had an encouraging word. They made daily videos, one of which I had a chance to be featured in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKJx2hIXyOI
The quality of the picture might show that after this stage I was not even able to hold the camera still. This was day 20 of the Haute Route. I met Darryl from Sports Tours International on day one asking him if I could use his tire pump. What I didnt know that day is that I would see him every single day for three weeks. He always had a good word or offered me food and drinks during crucial moments.
There were many great people out there that made the three weeks very special. Thanks to everyone and congratulations to all Haute Route finishers!