Lanterne Rouge; the competitor in last position in the Tour De France. Also the fitting title for my trip this summer. A trip not about going fast, but going far and enjoying new roads and views every day. It's a trip where going slow is probably going to be much more fun.
I've always wanted to see the world by bike, cruising around the different countries at my leisure, taking in the scenery and pitching up somewhere different at the end of each day. Having never managed to ride overseas before I decided that this year I absolutely had to get away and give it a go. Never being one for starting small and working my way up I've decided to dive straight in and spend nearly two and half weeks in the Alps, working my way around France, Italy and Switzerland, taking on a different road every single day.
Sticking with the theme of the 'Lanterne Rouge' it's a trip that's packed with some of the massive climbs that have been pivotal in Tours of the past and will likely play a part in Tours to come. The cols and passes that I've planned to tackle along the way are renowned for creating big timing gaps or great racing. Of course there won't be any racing from me though.
The route itself starts in Geneva and works it's way through the Alps in an anticlockwise direction, dipping and diving across France, Italy and Switzerland before ending up back in Annecy just in time for a few beers and a spin around the Etape Du Tour. It's 770 miles and 110,000ft of climbing. A testing route for certain.
The Col Collection
I don't like doing things by halves as I said above, so threw in few passes along the way. The main highlights of which are:
- Les Lacets De Montvernier
- Col Du Glandon
- Croix De Fer
- Col Du Telegraphe
- Col Du Galibier
- Col De L'Iseran
- Col Du Petit St Bernard
- Grand San Bernard
- St Gotthard
- Innerkirchen Pass
- Joux Plane
- Col De La Columbiere
A have to say a very big thank you to Will over at http://www.cycling-challenge.com/ for his expert help in making sure I had the best roads to enjoy. The route planning phase hasn't been easy but I'm glad it's done.
The fear formed of planning
Over the next few months I'll be buying my last few pieces of kit to complete my setup so I'll share a bit more about those once I've got everything in place. I haven't aimed for expensive options as I believe doing the trip on a budget adds something to the experience.
In the meantime though, in amongst all the planning are the seeds of fear. It's my first major adventure and first time riding overseas so the intrepidation is pretty big on this one. I keep having to reassure myself that my legs won't fall off and that everything will go to plan but there is always a seed of doubt.
I think it's sensible to have a small amount of fear in planning so you don't go too crazy but the key is making sure you don't let it take over and spoil a possible trip away.
At the moment, June couldn't come soon enough!