5 March 2020
BY HAUTE ROUTE
BEHIND THE SCENE Massage
RIDER PROFILE Didier Stoeckli
YOUR LAST OPPORTUNITY TO RIDE A 7 - DAY EVENT
Dear riders, Spring is here and Haute Route 2020 is underway. So for this issue of Grimpeur, we’ve brought together a fantastic collection of words and photos to inspire you to hit the road.
As we dive into the 2020 cycling season, read all about the new Haute Route Coaching Companion app, as well as the mythical Brazilian climb to Serro do Rio do Rastro that will have you on the edge of your seat and booking a trip to South America. Also in this issue, get some insights from a first time Haute Route rider, go behind the scenes with Haute Route Sports Massage Therapist Béatrice Tschirret and score some nutrition tips from the team at Xendurance. On top of this, check out the sensational photos and results from Haute Route Oman and new profiles from our inspirational riders.
BEHIND THE SCENE Massage
Happy reading and happy riding! The Haute Route Team
RIDER PROFILE Didier Stoeckli Editor: Coralie Batté Contributors: Joanne Clarke, Ashleigh Maxwell, Matthieu Wallon, Coralie Batté, Patrick Merle, Fernando Palhares, Davide Marchegiano Graphic Designer: Edouard Hanotte
Copyright: Haute Route SA Published: March 19th, 2020.
Reflections from a first-time Haute Route rider Mark Reese
I came across the Haute Route a couple of years ago. A YouTube video popped up on my feed and it was incredible as it followed the journey of a 7- day event, with participants riding some of the most iconic climbs in cycling. That certainly got my attention - the scenery was amazing and the views were beautiful, so from there I became a fan of the Haute Route. The thing that is particularly interesting about the Haute Route is the fact that we are treated just like a professional, world class Tour de France riders, whether that is during the poststage massages and meals or closing some of the roads during the stage, that is not really common and very unique to the Haute Route. I think it's fun for everyone to pretend that they are a professional athlete so this the perfect opportunity to go off and play sports. I still want to be competitive and that is not going to just disappear when I am 40. I want to turn up to an event and find the other 40-year-old and say, ‘first one to the top wins’. I want to push my body to see what it can do. There were some segments on the Haute Route where I was questioning why I was doing the event, but whenever you got to the top that is just another little notch that you can check off; “Look what I've done, look what I've accomplished”. You can then refer back to that at another time when life gets challenging. I think it's only natural to want to extend yourself, whether that's quite literally reaching the new heights of a mountain, climbing on a bike or whether it's in the workplace. Doing the best that you can at work, or being the best dad, mum, son or brother that you can be. Whatever it is, you want to continually improve so Haute Route is the right opportunity to prove to yourself what you can do.
PHOTOS OF THE YEAR
Discover a selection of the best photos from the second edition of the Haute Route Oman, held between March 6-8 around Nizwa.
1. The 2020 Haute Route season got off to a flying start in Oman, with 120 riders taking on the daunting challenge of the Jebel Akhdar mountain climb with the first 14km averaging 10.3%. 2. The cycling peloton was treated to spectacular views and a ride through lush plantations and a mystic old town in Tanuf on the road to Hoota. 3. Keen on making a mark in the ranking, local riders were determined to apply their local knowledge of the climbs and descents, with riders taking part as solo riders such as the 15 supported by Daleel Petroleum, and riders representing the Royal Army of Oman and the Royal Oman Police as teams.
UNDER THE LENS
This season, more than ever before in the history of Haute Route, riders are being presented with a plethora of options to help them reach new heights. Understanding the prevalence of global online training, building on existing data and working with new partners, Haute Route aims to give riders all necessary means to have the best cycling experience possible. This monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Under the Lens features the new opportunities available. Haute Route Watopia | 03-05 April, 2020 The global success of Zwift, the virtual training and racing platform for cycling, led Haute Route to create the first worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most challenging virtual 3-day stage event. Haute Route Watopia, on April 3-5, will feature three stages. Stage 1, the Three Sisters, is set to challenge riders with 47.8 kilometres with an elevation of 879m. Stage 2, the Tour of Fire and Ice, will present a time trial of 25 kilometres with a positive elevation change of 1161m. Finally, the event will conclude with the Pretzel, a 72.2-kilometre stage and an elevation gain of 1333m. This virtual challenge will combine the entertaining and fun aspect of video games with the intensity of serious training and racing, while allowing cyclists from all over the world to connect and interact. For Haute Route Watopia, each stage will be 8
held across multiple time zones to ensure that this first virtual event is accessible to many. Each rider will need to complete all three stages back-to-back to be considered for an exclusive global classification. Besides being a wonderful experience, Haute Route Watopia will also serve as an empowering stepping stone to boost ridersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; training towards an outdoor event in the 2020 season. Haute Route Coaching Companion To help riders make the most of their cycling experience during the 2020 Haute Route season, Haute Route Coaching Companion was launched on March 10. Powered by PKRS.AI, this tool is a 24/7 all-in-one coaching solution for cyclists. Riders interested will be matched with a personalised team comprising a coach, nutritionist, strength training expert, as well
as concierge to truly optimise the experience. Daily workouts adjusted to the lifestyle and needs of each rider will be complemented by videos and stats analysis. Compatible with all the major devices, data can be synced directly to the app from a Garmin connect or Strava account. A 12-week programme for the 3-day events and 24-week plans for the Haute Route Alps and the Haute Route Pyrenees are available for riders of all abilities. Haute Route Rendez-Vous & Rides Riders eager to learn how to prepare for an Haute Route challenge can now select from a multitude of events organised globally by Haute Route Ambassadors. Featuring informative sessions and group rides, the Haute Route Ambassadors aim to connect with riders to answer their questions, share data and tips, as well as encourage the community to join any events featured in the calendar. These events, available each month at different locations, are listed online in the Haute Route Experiences under Meet & Ride. Nutrition and Hydration Guide This season, thanks to the partnership with Xendurance and Precision Hydration, Haute Route launched a nutrition and hydration guide to help riders understand how to properly fuel and hydrate for a multiday stage event; a component absolutely fundamental for such cycling challenges.
Each rider will particularly value the performance timeline, a summary of what to do and what to take from the starting line until crossing the finish line.
TAG Heuer Connected watch TAG Heuer has been a constant force in luxurious connected watches since 2015. Following the success in sales and performance of the Modular 45 in 2017, Modular 41 in 2018 and Golf Edition in 2019, TAG Heuer have developed a new product to offer a more refined physical and digital experience to its users. The new connected device continues to feature the design and craftmanship of the highest standards that Swiss watchmaking is famous for. It also presents a customised and immersive experience to the user. Understanding that activity tracking is now the most sought-after use for athletes, TAG Heuer allows cyclists to track their sessions, while getting traditional metrics such as distance, speed, heart-rate and duration.
This guide explains precisely what the recommended products are and when to consume them before and during the event. 9
Serra Do Rio Do Rastro
In 2012 a popular Spanish website named Serra do Rio do Rastro in Brazil as the most stunning road in the world. Later in 2015, British newspaper The Guardian, ranked the same route as the fifth most scenic road in the world. The Serra do Rio do Rastro is indeed a hidden gem that should be included in every riderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bucket list. But what is so special about the Serra do Rio do Rastro and what does it have to offer? Clinging to the side of the mountain range in southern Brazil, the road is an impressively zigzagged route that tumbles past waterfalls and through canyons. The elevation is so high that from its peak at 1,460m you even have a chance to spot the Atlantic Ocean, 100km away. This is just one of the characteristics that makes this place so special and unique, adding to the appeal and beauty of the lakes, waterfalls, native wildlife and stunning nature that gives this region the title of one of the most beautiful places in Brazil. The road has remarkable landscapes, deep rocky crags and passes spectacular scenery from start to finish. SC-390 is the name of a steep and narrow road built in 1903, sharply winding up to a steep ascent at Serra do Rio do Rastro, a mountain range located in Lauro MĂźller in the southeast of the state of Santa Catarina. As you wind through a lush green valley and past colourful timber houses, the climb starts to gets steeper and the vegetation greener and more dense. After just a few hairpins, a valley opens up to your right, delivering a sheer drop of several hundred metres and a spike in adrenaline as you focus on the forested slopes and numerous waterfalls ahead. The entire road from Lauro Muller is 34km long, featuring 284 turns in total and crossing the rainforest for 17km. The 12
journey goes from sea level to 1,460m with an average gradient of 9.2%, but be prepared for gradients up to 20% for the final 7km to the summit. This is when you know things are getting serious and you can expect any remaining packs of riders to be split apart. Sudden changes in weather are common in the mountains. Be prepared for mist and fog, temperatures ranging from below zero to over 35oC, strong winds with no shelter and stunning sunny days. During wintertime, heavy snowfall and patches of ice can even block some sections of the road. The mother nature in Serra do Rio do Rastro reveals its grandiosity and fierceness and any rider trying to challenge her pays a high price. But those who respect and understand her majesty are rewarded with unforgettable rainforest vegetation and wildlife, including eagles, toucans, foxes, coloured birds and much more. As soon as you reach the summit you will find a huge observation deck inviting you to look down the valley. In this area you can also find the very best internationallyawarded Brazilian wines. Serra do Rio do Rastro is known among Brazilian riders as the Brazilian Stelvio due to the switchbacks similar to that of its Italian counterpart. And although snowfall is not common in Brazil, it has happened on the summit on previous occasions, making the landscape even more similar to Stelvio. Brazil is not known for its high peaks, but Serra do Rio do Rastro is a good exception and a must-see destination for riders from all around the country who love iconic climbs. The closest airport is FlorianĂłpolis and on weekends across spring and
summer time, dozens of riders can be found travelling to this part of Brazil to challenge themselves, conquer this climb and take a picture from the observation deck at the summit. Several endurance sports events including uphill marathons, extreme triathlons and bike races have been held in Serra do Rio do Rastro. On September 12th, 2020 Serra do Rio do Rastro will host the finish line of stage 2 of Haute Route Brazil, the first Haute Route event to ever take place in the Southern Hemisphere. Towards the end of stage 2, riders will reach Serra do Rio do Rastro, and then from its summit, descent 13km on a closed traffic road before making a U-turn to cross the finish line back on the top of Serra do Rio do Rastro, the perfect place to celebrate among fellow riders.
Pyrenees 2018 Stage 4
“I can’t even begin to explain how good that day was” At the Haute Route, we hear people say that a lot but some days certainly stand-out more than others. Stage 4 of Haute Route Pyrenees 2018 was one of those days, with riders taking on the iconic Col du Tourmalet before a summit finish atop Col du Portet. With these two climbs featuring in the Haute Route Pyrenees 2020, and the latter making up part of the famous time trial stage on day four, we thought it was about time we re-lived some of the memories from this unforgettable day. Featuring over 75 times in the history of the Tour de France, the Col du Tourmalet is on every rider’s bucket-list, but the Haute Route Pyrenees 2018 riders went one better, with the added challenge (and bragging rights) of climbing it twice in 24 hours. For Stage 4, riders rolled out of ArgelèsGazost and grouped together for the long drag up the valley before turning left and through the town of Luz-Saint-Sauveur, ready for the climb ahead. Riders were conservative in their efforts for the first half of the climb, knowing that an unrelenting 8-9% average gradient would greet them for the latter half of the time and a cruel 10.2% gradient for the last kilometre of the climb. It is a climb full of emotion – from exhilaration to exhaustion and finally elation when riders reach the summit at an altitude of 2,100m.
With the stats including a 16km climb at an average gradient of 8.7%, George’s predictions were certainly correct and with this climb reaching an altitude of 2,215m, it also trumps that of the Tourmalet pass and earns the title of the highest pass in the French Pyrenees. In fact, the Tour de France director, Christian Prudhomme introduced it as: “a giant, a Tourmalet and then some.” Snaking up the front side of the mountain, riders were distracted from their tired legs with the incredible views down the valley as they neared the summit. Drawing on the last bits of energy, the riders crossed the finish line to reach the highest summit of the week. With clear blue skies, two famous climbs and the beautiful nature of the Pyrenees in all its glory, riders were all unanimous in their opinion that the fourth stage was truly unforgettable as they exchanged celebratory hugs and smiles before heading back to the race village for a hard-earned massage and re-fuel.
“I enjoyed the Tourmalet more today than yesterday actually” commented Gregor Frew, before expressing his thoughts on the climb up Col du Portet that was still to come; “I’m not sure really what to expect but it looked steep on TV so I think it must be quite steep!” 15
BEHIND THE SCENES
Massage From expedited recovery, to advanced biometrics, go on a journey with the Haute Route massage team to discover why the service is much more than just a feel-good moment.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little more about your role? How did you first join the Haute Route organisation? I’m Béatrice Tschirret, also known as “Bee” and I am a Sports Massage Therapist - hopefully soon to be a Sports Physiotherapist too. On the Haute Route, I’m the “Massage Lady” – as some of the long-time riders like to call me. I think I first joined Haute Route in 2014, for one of the first editions as a massage therapist. It was both a very challenging and exciting experience! From 2015 onwards, my role is to recruit, manage, organise and coordinate the massage services for the European events of the Haute Route, in close cooperation with the Haute Route customer service team. This is where my engineering background helps I suspect. First, I have to pull together a rock-solid massage team. Why rock-solid? Because on the Haute Route you never know what can happen! There may be snow in a pass meaning the truck transporting the massage equipment gets stuck, heavy rain or rough conditions meaning riders arrive to us frozen and cramping or a long tough ride where all the riders arrive later than expected. Whatever happens, we need to ensure we deliver the best service level in terms of the welcome, quality and timing. This means the massage team have to work really hard with long hours and believe it or not, stress, which should never show. That’s why having the right team (and lots of chocolate!) is just key. Once I have put the right team together and organised the required material, I know that we’re ready for just about anything. My role is then to make sure that we have the right equipment in place, that we’re settled, ready on time, that riders recovery-
related questions are well identified and addressed, and of course that the time slots are adhered to but without putting too much pressure on my staff as its fundamental that they remain fresh, happy, and committed to riders. How do you recruit the members of the massage team? What is their main field of expertise? As mentioned, putting together the right team is just vital for any manager and for any project. The challenge for the massage team on the Haute Route is that it’s quite a large team (there was up to 45 members of the team last year for some sections of Haute Route Alps), so aside from the professional sports massage skills, the team also has to be able to function at 100% capacity on logistical and social aspects. This could include making sure everyone is ready on time to leave in the morning, that personal belongings and professional equipment is well organised so that we have what we need where we need it, that driving to the various venues is safe, that team members support each other even if they didn’t have time to stop for lunch for example, or if they need help on a technical or a professional question. As much as possible, I try to ensure there is a good mix of gender, age, experience and nationality so that it’s an exciting and enriching experience for the team members as well – not only in their interactions with the riders but also with each other. I also try to make it a “platform” for work opportunities, so they can connect to other sports massage therapists. Mixing younger and less experienced therapists from different countries with more experienced therapists has proven to be extremely efficient. All of us are sports 17
fanatics and lovers. We might specialise or practice different sports, but we all know what it means to sweat and suffer. Personal social skills and English are a must and of course, all team members have a good expertise either as physios or massage therapists. Some have been with me on the Haute Route since the beginning as well. I usually include at least one osteopath. What are the benefits of a sports massage after a long day on the bike? Is it important for multi-day events? So many times we have had the riders come up to us and say: “Today I finished because I knew you guys where at the finish line” or “you were with me on the bike today” or “without a massage every day I would never be able to go so hard or for so long” Honest. Try it! Actually – even though research struggles to demonstrate the physiological efficiency of massage, it just feels like it makes you “jump” stages in recovery. So where you would normally need a day or two to recover without a massage, you manage to recover in far fewer days with a massage. Without going to deep into the physiological aspects, massage triggers the oxygenation of tissues to support evacuation of waste substances resulting from muscular activity. How do you get to know the needs of each rider? First of all, we watch them as they “walk” (or crawl) in. We get a feel for their body structure, fitness level, riding style, posture, overall body balance... Secondly, many of us have already ridden a 18
bike and some of us are really strong riders so we know how and where it hurts. Plus we have experience with riders’ pathologies and biomechanics. Last but not least - we ask them of course! And then our hands know the rest. Depending on what we feel, we know what to do or where the problems are. On a 7-day event, problems tend to migrate from the lower areas (calves, thighs) to the upper spine and upper body (neck, shoulders, arms). The weather also plays a big role: wet and icy conditions can cause tension in the neck, jaw, face, and arms, whilst cold weather tends to lead to full body tension and warm weather leads to cramping. The Haute Route is a social event where riders create special bonds between each other but also with members of staff. How would you describe the atmosphere? I need a few hours to talk about that! Part of the massage team (approx. 20%) is a “core team” as I need to have a strong base of people who know the event and who are also physically extremely solid and able to be totally autonomous. They’ve been with the Haute Route for a few years as well and as many of the riders tend to come back or attend many Haute Route events, friendships have developed. It’s such a great pleasure to meet riders again whether it is after a year or on the next Haute Route event in a different country. On top of this, riders tend to be loyal to a certain massage therapist when they feel the therapist has helped them perform so every masseur ends up having their favourites riders and vice versa – although that sometimes makes it difficult for me
when I am trying to manage time slots as I also need to take into account that “this particular rider wants to get a massage by this specific therapist only!” The Haute Route is held in different countries around the world. What are the differences and the similarities regarding the massages across all the Haute Route events? Whether it is a deep tissue, strong, powerful style massage in the USA; a Tui Na traditional massage performed in China on a futon on the floor with clothes on, or a classic Swedish sports massage with good pressure and lotion in Europe...the riders love it and need it! As therapists we need to adapt our techniques to the person receiving the massage. Of course we need to know any cultural differences that exist. For example, in Asia we might not expect that females and males will get an oil massage in the same. Or that we won’t propose a massage in the open air or a public space in the USA perhaps. Or that different nationalities expect different styles of massage, whether that is the amount of pressure, stretching or release techniques. However, sports tend to be an international language and on the Haute Route riders are very open to tell us what they expect and trust our expertise.
linen, etc.) to the next Haute Route village, which takes between 3 -4 hours. When we arrive at the Haute Route village, we immediately get to the massage area and set up. Then it’s about time for lunch and from around noon we need to be on call to start. I liaise with the customer service team on a very regular basis to get updates on the race, the massage bookings, the special needs (for example, if there was an earlier start or there needs to be an extended service depending on the race conditions). Massage slots are allocated every 20 minutes, and I ensure that all therapists stick to the timings so that the riders can rely on this and can plan their recovery accordingly. However, if riders arrive late or if for any
Can you describe your daily routine on the Haute Route? We are a bit “off track” in terms of timing as we actually start working when the race is over! So, our working day starts much later than the other Haute Route staff. On the 7-day Haute Route, we usually leave between 7.30-8am, drive with 3 to 4 vans and a truck transporting all the massage equipment (15-40 massage tables, lotions, 19
reason too many slots were booked, we need to cope with this and make sure we adapt in a flexible manner. As long as we have a big smile on our faces, make use of our good hands, are friendly and authentic then it keeps us and the riders happy. It’s a very, very intense time until the briefing starts. Then we wrap up, clean the venue and load the truck. This is when I usually get the question from my team: “Bee where is “apero” and where is dinner?” After dinner we drive to our accommodation. To make sure everyone has quick access to their rooms I prepare “rooming lists” in advance so that we can settle in quickly. Last year we also started an extra massage service, which is available after the briefing. This is extremely welcomed by riders who can now sign up for an extra 1-hour massage. Our day ends by around 10 pm. Do you have any other recovery tips to provide to the Haute Route riders? Oh yes.... we could write books about this and there are many books about this... A few things: 1. Manage your recovery priorities. So change to dry clothes as soon as you arrive and whatever the temperature is, with or without shower. Then rehydrate and eat some food (try and eat slowly and chew your food well – no matter how hungry you are). 2. Then, ideally you would have a shower. Leave cool (15° is cool enough) water flowing on your legs or put your legs in a cool bath (or like on the first edition of Haute Route Rockies: go to the torrent and stay in there for 15 to 20 minutes!) 3. Take a short nap if you can or at least 20
lay down on a hard floor (you’ve been sitting in the saddle for a long time, which isn’t great for your spine and for your hip flexors). Relax your spine. 4. Now it’s the perfect time for your massage! 5. I know that riders are not usually stretching fans but focusing on areas like your hip flexors, IT band, and glutes for 5-10 minutes in the evening before you go to bed will help you the following day. Do you have an interesting story to tell us? Here is one of my favourites: I live in the Alps and I like climbing. Mid-September last year, a few weeks after Haute Route Alps finished, I was with a climbing mate driving to a friend’s place after a long day of climbing. It was around 7pm I think. We were driving up Col de la Croix de Fer and at some point, I noticed a rider sitting on the side of the road with his bike on his side. He didn’t seem to be just “enjoying” a snack or the view and it was quite late so I decided to stop as soon as I could reasonably park and ask if everything was ok. As an answer I got a big smile, and with a thick Australian accent: “Hey Bee! What are you doing here?” Once he took his glasses and helmet off I realised I knew him. He had been riding the Haute Route two years before and was on a solo riding trip through the Alps but his program had been a bit too ambitious for the day by the looks of things. Climbers cars are good. They have big trunks with enough space for a bike and an Australian rider! Here ya’ go mate...
Fuel yourself to success Dan Speed
Could you explain what Xendurance is exactly about? Why was it created for? Xendurance is a sports nutrition company based in the UK that operates all across Europe. We specialise in endurance sports, working with athletes in cycling, running, triathlon and CrossfFit as well as many other sports. 22
We are passionate about helping athletes achieve their goals. Our products are designed to help you reach your potential. We only use the highest quality ingredients and all our products are scientifically proven to be as effective as possible.
What would you say distinguishes your brand and your products from others? We only use the best quality ingredients, and everything we do is scientifically proven. This makes us stand out in the market - our products really do work! Our flagship products are our lactic acid buffer tablets - these are patented and no other product on the market comes close. These tablets are used by professional athletes right across the globe, and are clinically proven to reduce the effects of lactic acid on the body. This has been tested in double-blind placebo independent studies. Why did you decide to partner with the Haute Route? Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always loved what Haute Route do and the people it attracts, and were really interested to see in previous rider feedback that the number one issue people faced was not the routes being too hard, but rather the riders needing to be better prepared. Our products do exactly that they support you during your training as well as racing, and will help you prepare in the best way possible. We felt we could offer Haute Route a perfect partner - we can help riders prepare better, and this in turn opens us up to a whole new audience. What would be your top nutrition tips to prepare for a multi-day event like the Haute Route? What are the mistakes to avoid? The number one tip is to prepare your nutrition months in advance. You need to have practiced your fuelling plan in training
for the months leading up to a race, to help learn what works best for you and avoid any surprises come race day. Stayed fuelled and hydrated are the main priorities during a multi-day event. Learning how much carbohydrates your body needs per hour is critical, as this will help you avoid running out of energy during the race. Typically the body can consume 60-90g carbohydrate per hour. Energy stores can be replenished with carbohydrate based products, such as carb drinks or energy gels, 23
and, if your body can handle it, even solid foods like flapjacks or bars. You also need to get used to taking on electrolyte drink - during a long event you will sweat a lot, which in turn can leave you dehydrated. Water alone isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t enough; you need to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat, and this is where an electrolyte drink will help.
unique opportunity to test yourself in the most incredible locations, all whilst being expertly supported. If you want to push your limits, meet some great people and have the experience of a lifetime, Haute Route is the event for you!
Come race day, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really important not to try anything new! Stick to how youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been fuelling in training, as your stomach and body will be used to this. Anything different can create gastro-intestinal problems, which no-one wants halfway up a mountain! Xendurance is going to provide all the Haute Route riders with nutrition products during events. Why do you think those products will perfectly fit their expectations? Can you present them? We are providing energy gels at feed station for riders to use during the race. Each Xendurance gel contains 27g of carbohydrate, and we recommend taking one every half an hour. These gels do not contain caffeine, as we know some riders prefer to take caffeine separately, or not at all, and they come in two different flavours; Berry and Citrus. These gels are currently available on our website, so people can practice using them in advance of the races. Why would you recommend attending an Haute Route event? Just looking at the stunning pictures from previous events is enough to entice anyone! Haute Route provides a really 24
Dan Speed I am a Marketing Manager at Xendurance Europe. I have raced competitively in triathlon for years, with my best result being a 9.33 Ironman.
Mexico Get the insider tips on how to tackle the Nevada de Toluca Volcano climb to 3,444m, find out why the Haute Route Mexico Event Village is unlike any other, plus discover the must-see highlights from Mexicoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stunning Valle de Bravo with Race Director Fernando del Olmo.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your role?
and every time they ride Haute Route Mexico.
My name is Fernando del Olmo, I’m COO at Altius Events and Race Director for Haute Route Mexico.
Riders will take on the Nevado de Toluca Volcano on Day 2, the highest point reached by any Haute Route event in 2020. What is your advice for the ride up to the summit?
Haute Route Mexico was a popular success last year. Can you tell us what are your best memories from the first edition? Do you have an interesting story to tell us? We were very grateful to have a sold out first edition of Haute Route Mexico. The day the race sold out was definitely a great day in the office for all of us. We also had a blast putting the event together. Testing different routes around Valle de Bravo made it hard to pick between so many great options! Why did you choose Valle de Bravo to host the event? Valle de Bravo is considered the “Mexican Mecca” for outdoor activities that’s closest to Mexico City, which made it a serious option right from the beginning. It was really when we started looking into other places that Valle de Bravo kept standing out in terms of logistics, tourism, diversity and rare beauty. There are endless options surrounding this magic town when it comes to cycling routes and other activities. The first stage will be new in 2020. Why did you decide to change it? How did you design it? We decided to change it mostly to give returning riders a new experience for next year. Last year’s route was definitely a success, but having so many great options will help us give all riders (both returning and first timers) a unique experience each 26
Nevado de Toluca Volcano is definitely one of the main highlights of Haute Route Mexico. My advice to make it all the way to its summit would be to hydrate properly both on route and a couple of days prior to the event. High altitudes always make it harder to perform, but being well hydrated definitely makes a big impact on how you deal with the conditions. Getting a good night’s sleep the day before is also really important, as you’ll need to administrate your energy as efficiently as possible. What kind of landscapes will participants ride through on the Haute Route Mexico? Landscapes in Haute Route Mexico are jaw-dropping from start to finish. Riders can expect lots of picturesque colonial Mexican towns followed by dense highmountain forests and lakes. All of these will be accompanied by cheering locals who greet us with open arms and incredible hospitality. There was a particular atmosphere at the Event Village last year. How do you explain that? Is it due to the Mexican culture? I believe the atmosphere at Haute Route Mexico Village is definitely due to the Mexican culture. Mexicans are known throughout the world to be great hosts who always get excited to meet international visitors and show them around their way of life. Mexican culture is also deeply
rooted with family, which made the Event Village the place to be during Haute Route Mexico’s weekend! Local competitors were joined by their family who cheered the race on and gave the Village an incredible atmosphere. The Compact course will be back this year? What is the difference and the similarities with the original course? Yes, we’ll definitely have the Compact course back this year. The main difference to the Original course is distance, making it a little less demanding. This makes it perfect for riders who have never ridden Haute Route or want to dip their toe in the water before committing to the Original course next year.
then paraglide in the afternoon. The diversity is incredible, so I’d definitely recommend going hiking, cycling (if you didn’t have enough of it during the event), water skiing, sailing, kayaking, golfing, or doing anything related to going outside. 4. If you want a more extreme adventure, you can pay a visit to Nevado de Toluca Volcano (just an hour away) and hike all the way to the crater. Since it is inactive, the volcano’s crater has developed into a crisp blue lake that reflects the mountain to create an extraordinary scene. If you’re lucky, you might even visit when its covered by snow (Nevado means snowed on in Spanish)!
What would you recommend international riders to do while in Valle de Bravo to extend their stay? There are lots of great things to do in Valle the Bravo that will get you wanting to come back every time regardless of how long you stay. With that in mind, there are some highlights that I wouldn’t miss… 1. Valle de Bravo is considered a magic town throughout the country, which means that it is rich in heritage, history, gastronomy and a must-visit. You can’t leave Haute Route without getting to know Valle de Bravo, a beautiful colonial town by a huge lake that is home to kind and welcoming people. It has many walkable alleys that hide great spots for eating and authentic Mexican shopping. 3. Outdoor activities are incredibly vast around Valle de Bravo. You can wake up, go water skiing, followed by a round of golf, have a bite to eat and 27
Didier Stoeckli DOB: 1974 Nationality: Swiss Country of residence: Switzerland Profession: Engineer, entrepreneur Bike(s) Specialized Tarmac SL6 Number of Haute Route events completed 4 Haute Route Alps, 1 Haute Route Pyrenees, 1 Haute Route Rockies, 1 Haute Route Norway 2 Haute Route Alpe dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Huez, 2 Haute Route Ventoux
How did you discover the Haute Route? Simply through an article in a cycling magazine. I hesitated a long time before signing up, I was afraid I would not be good enough. I left Geneva with a knot in my stomach, but I soon felt very elated in this peloton of passionate cyclists and I reached Nice with a big smile.
A specific training in the mountains from day one, but of course it takes quite some time. You have to be able to combine work, family and the necessary resting time for such training. It is never easy, but the balance between all of these things is very important to the success of your preparation.
Why did you decide to take part in other Haute Route events after your first experience?
You have been injured last year. What made you want to get back on your bike again in an Haute Route event?
The organisation and management staff on every event are the best services I have personally encountered in any cyclosportives. On the Haute Route, you just have to ride your bike, manage your effort and enjoy yourself as much as you can without thinking about anything else. When the experience is over, it is always difficult to get back to your daily routine for a few days. It’s a unique and unforgettable experience.
After the accident in 2019 during the Haute Route Pyrenees, my friends, but especially my wife and son, all said to me: “LET’S GO! Your passion is stronger…” During my recovery, I had plenty of time to discover the 2020 routes and to prepare myself to ride again. The Haute Route team has been so great to handle the accident. Once again, it proved to me how serious this organisation is.
Have you ever come to the Haute Route with your family or friends? Have you created friendships with some riders on the Haute Route? I’ve never attended an event with my family. It’s tricky with my children who go back to school at the same time as the main Haute Route events in August. But my family follows me day after day thanks to the social media. I have bonded on the Haute Route with some riders and it’s always a great pleasure to meet them again at other events. Can you describe your preparation for the Haute Route? How do you manage your training and your personal and professional duties?
You live in Switzerland and you will participate in the first edition of the Haute Route Crans-Montana. Why? Switzerland is the perfect place for Haute Route events, with beautiful climbs that match the great passes of the neighbouring French Alps and which should not be underestimated. This first Haute Route in Crans-Montana will be magnificent. I am looking forward to riding some of my training routes. Do you know the cols on the programme of Haute Route Crans-Montana? If yes, what advice can you give to other riders? All the different climbs on the course are difficult. We will have to manage the climb up to the Barrage de Moiry, and save some 29
energy to reach Crans-Montana on the opposite side of the RhĂ´ne Valley. The 26-kilometre climb to Col du Sanetsch is long and difficult as well, but the finish at the summit is just magical! Focus on managing your effort and you will make it to the top. The final individual time trial to the Col de Crans-Montana is a nice, fairly steep climb at the end. Such an ideal climb to end these three days in style. What would you say to someone who hesitates to participate in an Haute Route event? With the right training and the right amount of willpower, anything is possible! Crossing the finish line of an Haute Route is a strong and unforgettable feeling, even after several participations. Do you have an anecdote to tell us about the Haute Route? The Courchevel - Alpe d'Huez marathon stage during the 2014 Haute Route Alps, in the pouring rain from start to finish. To me, it was the most difficult stage that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been riding, both physically and mentally. But it never hampered my desire to continue riding the Haute Route events. Those who were present with me will remember the hard time it wasâ&#x20AC;Ś Describe the Haute Route in one sentence Simply the best.
Tre Cime Di Lavaredo Revered and feared since the first pro riders battled to the summit in the 1967 Grio dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Italia, Tre Cime di Lavaredoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s breathtaking switchbacks make up what is arguably the most iconic and instantly recognisable climb in the Dolomites.
Winding into the pale limestone peaks of the Sexten Dolomites, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo has certainly earned its title amongst the most memorable climbs in the world. The three crags offer an iconic view that is instantly recognisable around the globe as quintessential Dolomites. Jutting out of the breathtaking landscape, the Tre Cime are a popular ticket for travellers, but for cyclists, it’s all about the journey. The Tre Cime di Lavaredo is among the most epic climbs in the history of the Giro d’Italia. The names of the riders who conquered the stage and made it to the podium is a roll call of cycling greats, from Eddie Merckx and Felice Gimondi, to José Manuel Fuente, Giovanni Battaglin and Luis Herrera. The scene of a stage finish on seven different occasions, the final four kilometres of steep, winding switchbacks have been revered since the first pros battled to the summit in 1967. The last winner of a Giro d'Italia stage at the Tre Cime was Vincenzo Nibali. In the penultimate stage of the 2013 event, Nibali - wearing the pink jersey - attacked the formidable climb through a snow storm, pushing through the treacherous conditions with sheer determination and power. The 7.5km climb to 2320m is a true rollercoaster ride, with glimpses of nature and gradients close to 20% that will both take your breath away.
The climb begins with the opening kilometre winding up through hairpins at 11% to reach the stunning alpine lake, Lago di Misurina. The gradient softens, allowing you to enjoy the still crystal waters and a moment of reflection before the real challenge begins. It’s here, following a short descent and flat section, with just four kilometres of the climb remaining, that you’re left with almost as much elevation gain to cover as you started with. Indeed, the final kilometres are the crux of this climb, with gradients and scenery that are as abrupt as they are rousing. The average grade in this last section is always a two-digits matter, reaching close to 20% in some stretches of road. After several switchbacks through the forest, the terrain opens up to reveal the true grandeur of this alpine landscape. As you round the final hairpin, muster the strength to sneak a look over your shoulder and witness a view you will never forget, with hairpins twisting down to the crystal lake surrounded by trees, all framed by the high alpine wilderness. The panorama will keep you spinning and your reward at the top is a spectacular viewing platform with the Tre Cime themselves towering over you. Undoubtably one of the most iconic and challenging climbs of the Dolomites, the otherworldly views of this UNESCO-listed site are absolutely worth the effort.
Things to look out for: 1. Enjoy the view over the lake before the challenge really starts. 2. Check out the view at the last switchback to spur you on to the finish line. 3. Marvel at the Tre Cime up close at the end of the climb. The peaks, particularly Cima Grande (the middle summit), are steeped in mountaineering folklore.
4. As you charge towards Refugio Auronzo in the final stages of the climb, reflect on the history of this iconic hut, which was first built in 1912, bombed in 1915, destroyed again by fire in 1955 and now stands defiantly as a window to this rich UNESCO-listed area.
Elevation start 1764M
Total elevation gain 556M
Average gradient 7.8%
Maximum Gradient 18%
AVERAGE GRADIENT :
UNDER THE LENS
2020 Official Haute Route jerseys by
3 - D AY
2020 JERSEYS IN DETAILS • A quality lock down zip puller • Cover-stitched • Premium and lightweight High-Speed Lycra materials
• Breathable and close-fitting • Improved aerodynamics, strength and comfort • Design inspired by the mountains • Badge of honour
• Three large pockets • A silicone gripper
On the roads for the first time in the cycling world, the Haute Route introduces the Green Lantern. « In brightest Day, in blackest night; No evil shall escape my sight » As a new addition to the peloton of the 2020 Haute Route events, the Green Lantern is set to reinforce the Haute Route’s focus on ecology and respect for the environment. The Green Lantern’s mission will carry an important Haute Route message throughout the events: We have to respect the environment which allows us to enjoy our passion for cycling by leaving no trace and preserving the environment for future generations. Indeed, staging a race across the most treasured landscapes carries a great responsibility. Sustainability is a major priority as we move from one location to the next, taking care to minimise our environmental impact. Our hope is that all our competitors share this value, leaving each mountain pass exactly as they found it. The Green Lantern will hold the Sustainable Charter desk during Registration Day, asking riders to sign it and sharing the message of our cause. Over several years Haute Route has committed to reduce the impact of its events on the environment on and off the roads by setting up no single-use plastic feed stations, establishing a system of separated waste and by reducing the general carbon footprint by employing locals to complete the team. 36
During the race, this new rider will embody the values of sport and cycling with “fair play”, mutual support between riders, and friendliness. He/She will join the Lanterne Rouge at the back of the peloton, where his/her main mission will be to stop and collect the packaging from energy products and other rubbish that riders throw on the road. If the roads are left clean, he/she will be assisting the Lanterne Rouge by giving advice and support to the last riders to help them cross the finish lines. During Haute Route events, it is forbidden to drop litter on the course and riders must carry their litter with them or use the bins provided at feed stations. The Green Lantern is not a substitute to these rules, rather a means of raising awareness among all riders about our commitment to sustainable development and eco-responsibility. To do so, the Green Lantern will make a daily report of his/her activity during each riders’ briefing, so all the riders can see the progress made during each stage.
haute route oman top 3s
Male 1. Colin PECK, 06h50m01s 2. Alex SHERWIN, +36m10s 3. Paul WILLCOX, +37m22s
Duo Male 1. Army 1, 08h03m39s 2. ROP 1, +9m9s 3. Glaesel & Hunger, +39m38s
Female 1. Laura PATRIKAINEN, 08h20m15s 2. Eimear Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ARCY, +12m4s 3. Jessica UPTON, +22m13s
Duo Mixed 1. Archipelago, 10h42m22s