Haute Route, Stage 7: Auron – Nice

Today’s last stage of the Haute Route 2013 was supposed to be different. We were meant to do 2 big climbs before our convoy down into Nice. But the weather had something to say about that and the local authorities thought it prudent to shorten our route so we could get to the Mediterranean before a big storm rolled in. A rider died on this very stage (I think) in last year’s race, so you could understand their concern.

Therefore, we had a 60km neutralized roll-out this morning, which was great for catching up with old friends and doing multiple pee stops. Then we cut right across the Var River, the timing mat, and all hell proceeded to break loose. The timed section was only 40km long and the whole peloton started hammering it up the hill. It was basically a 40km TT, nearly all up. Nothing steep, but the speed was incredible, and unsustainable for this guy anyway. I did well for about half of it then lost one train, then another, then another. A huge German guy picked me up and brought me into his protective air bubble for a long ride on a false flat, for which I’m forever grateful, whoever you are, Herr Super Rouleur. At the 10km to go marker I felt like sobbing it hurt so much. I thought we were already there! But the legs kept turning and we all finished, just like every other stage. But man, I was red-lining it. This race just keeps getting getting harder and harder.

Then we rolled into the village of Vence, sat around till our convoy got itself organized, and had a nice neutralized spin, en-masse, down to the sea and along the Promenade des Anglais to the finish line. This is exactly where the pro peloton has their sprint finishes in Nice and the experience of riding down that famed road on a closed road is pretty unforgettable. Riders were taking photos, patting each other on the back, popping champagne, and even wiping out at the finish line! At that finish line were my mom, Rob’s dad, his daughter and her boyfriend and his parents. Quite the welcome wagon.

IMG_5420 IMG_5438 IMG_5442


On the Day

  • Mark: 27th place
  • Brian: 138th place
  • Paul: 160th place

Overall (after 7 days, 800km and 20,000m of climbing)

  • Mark McKillop: 78th place in a time of 26 hours and 48 minutes.
  • Robert Armstrong: 118th place in a time of 27 hours and 55 minutes.
  • Gerry Patterson: 124th place in a time of 28 hours and 2 minutes.
  • Paul Armfield: 182nd place in a time of 29 hours and 39 minutes.
  • Gabriel Hipps: 184th place in a time of 29 hours and 43 minutes.
  • Patrick Peeters: 185th place in a time of 29 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Brian Curran: 193rd place in a time of 29 hours and 53 minutes.
  • John Schaberg: 258th place in a time of 31 hours and 15 minutes.
  • Chris McCarty: 264th place in a time of 31 hours and 22 minutes.
  • Brad Wilfley: 27th place in a time of 31 hours and 41 minutes.
  • Julian Darwell-Stone: 304th place in a time of 32 hours and 38 minutes.

Team Results (of out 93)

Team Vicious Cycle International: 28th place

Team Vicious Cycle USA: 47th place

I’ll be writing more about this amazing experiencing in the days and weeks to come, I’m sure, as it all settles and I can digest what has just happened. For now, it’s just the facts ma’am. I need some sleep.

19 thoughts on “Haute Route, Stage 7: Auron – Nice

  1. WELL DONE TEAM !!! congrats to all and for all the hard work….say HI to MOM and TOM, we are sure it was nice to see family at the finish…….on to next year after a well deserved respit !!!

  2. Bravo! To finish is an accomplishment to finish in those positions, wonderful! …and nice to finish with fans, that makes it all worth while. Great job Vicious Cycle!

    • Many thanks, Roger. It was really a ‘pro’ experience in many ways (except for the speed!). I’d like to say it was ‘once in a lifetime’, but I know myself too well now 😉

  3. Thanks, everyone! The whole experience is starting to sink in now and I’m fighting the urge to get philosophical! It was, as they promised, a ‘life experience’.

  4. Simply amazing, Gerry. Of all the Canadian cyclists living in France whom I know, you are by far my favorite and I am so happy to see you do well and this great idea come to fruition for everybody. Very nicely done!!!

    • Steve, I know how many Canadian friends you have here in France, so that’s quite a compliment! Good luck in whatever it is you’re doing next (sorry, I haven’t been paying attention recently)!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s