Over the last few months we’ve been seeing more about the Haute Routes trickle across our desk, and as nice road riding weather has taken hold in the northern hemisphere we’ve started looking to more and longer adventures. The Haute Route has built itself a unique position in the cyclo sportif & gran fondo calendar as the first global series of multi-day amateur races. Starting back in 2011 crossing the Alps from Nice to Geneva, the riding has now expanded to six events in 2017 in Europe & the US, offering a multi-day, ride-like-a-pro experience through some of the toughest mountain roads in the world.
Just this week it was Stefan “Fish” Vis who got us thinking about the week-long trek across the high mountains. Dutchman Fish is more of a flat land fixed gear crit rider from the Amsterdam, but as a project with his sponsor Selle San Marco & team Bombtrack he pushed himself up and over the Alps last year to test their newest steel disc brake road bike. And the film team from OSM followed him to give us a nice insight into the race and the spectacular scenery along the way. While the pro peloton is off climbing through the Dolomites at the Giro d’Italia, we’ve started thinking about doing our own giro in the mountains. And the first edition of the year out of Boulder, CO is just over a month away. Time to squeeze in some last minute training…
The Haute Route team is all about giving amateur riders the professional experience that comes with the door to door support of their race caravan. And that’s probably a good thing since each running of the Haute Route, whether in the Colorado Rockies, French Alps, Italian Dolomites, Swiss Alps, or the Pyrenees, is likely to rack up over 20,000m of climbing over the course of 7 riding stages. You literally won’t have much left in your brain or legs for having to deal with logistics. It is name the High Road after all, what would it be without a little oxygen deprivation.
The organizers tout their 7 timed and ranked stages as having a more professional-level than anything else you’ll find in the amateur sphere. That includes rolling road security, mechanical support, on-site medical teams, film crews, and of course, massages. No matter if you are trying to survive each day until the finish, or fighting for position on the leaderboard, there’s something for anyone up to the challenge tackling some of the highest, steepest, most-hallowed mountain climbs in cycling.
This year the series kicks off in the US at the 1st edition of the Haute Route Rockies starting in Boulder on June 24 and making its way to Colorado Springs by the end of the week. The next stop is the 5th running in the Pyrenees from August 13-19, then to the 7th edition of the original Haute Route Alps from Nice to Geneva August 21-27. Then three more crossing of the Alps with the another new event in the Haute Route Alpe d’Huez for a shorter three days July 12-14, the seven stage Haute Route Dolomites Swiss Alps out of Innsbruck from September 2-8, and another short option in another new event for 2017 – the Haute Route Ventoux from October 6-8.
Registration is open for each of the premium level events (read: they aren’t cheap for that full all-inclusive deal, but vary event to event). Or as Fish put it, “it’s not the cheapest ride ever, but it’s pretty much worth it.”