Haute Route: Virtual Reality

I’ve just arrived back home and the dam is starting to burst. I haven’t had the time or energy to think about much this past week, so whatever leaks out now I’ll write down. Be prepared, it could get ugly!

From the moment we hit Geneva last week it became evident that there were a few more people out there reading my drivel than just those who comment on this blog. Here are a few that I can remember.

  • I had a fellow blogger come up to me at the beginning of the first stage in Geneva and call me the ‘Granddaddy of Haute Route Bloggers’. I took it as a compliment, till I started to wonder if he was talking about my age.
  • Then, throughout the first few days of the race, my teammates would have riders telling them that they read their blog, thinking they were talking to me. Interestingly, this nearly never happened to me, the guy who does all the work!
  • On the first climb of the first day a Norwegian guy said that a rider named Luc was looking for me. Luc is a frequent commentor on this blog and I finally got to meet him a few days later at one of the post-race briefings.
  • I met other people I’d only known virtually, like Dane, a very strong Kiwi rider who was doing his 3rd Haute Route. I also got to say hi to ‘the girlfriend’ on the top of Bonette; the talented photo-blogger of LoveThyBike fame.
  • And lastly, I had the chance to meet Jan Van Mieghem, a fellow Haute Route blogger whose comments you can see here, leading up to the event. Jan and I had similar ‘numbers’ this season and he figured we’d be pretty evenly matched in Haute Route. Turns out he was right, and we saw a lot of each other on the road, as well as the lunch table afterwards. He finished sandwiched in between Rob and I in 121st place in the overall standings. He probably would have done better if his bike hadn’t been stolen on the 2nd day, along with 10 other unfortunate riders. Here we are at the end of our suffering, on the Promenade des Anglais, smiles from ear to ear.



I knew this already, but blogging has certainly opened up a new world for me, and continues to do so, often behind the scenes and without my knowledge. I think I’ll keep at it for a while longer. There’s plenty of drivel left in this noggin.

29 thoughts on “Haute Route: Virtual Reality

  1. Hi again Gerry, it was great finally meeting you if only for a brief period. It was a fantastic week and I felt by far you guys had the coolest kit. Congratulations on that. And congrats on your personal and your team’s showing. I ended up pretty much exactly where I had predicted, and after only 8.5 months of serious training, am very pleased with that. The caliber was definitely of a high standard.
    I recall seeing three Vicious Cycle lads (and am sure you were one them) ride past us on one of the first climbs of day 2 I think (it’s all a blur now) and it was about 10 or 11%, and you guys were chatting away effortlessly, passing us as if we were standing still. Real pro and impressive. Everyone who was out there has got to be proud of themselves. It was one hell of an effort by all and certainly not to be taken lightly.
    There were some great stories and individual efforts but people came out stronger because of it. I frequently came across one Swedish lad who struggled with the heat and dehydration and saddle sores but every day got back on the bike for another day of punishment. I don’t think it was easy for anyone but the joy and camraderie and support shown by all was very inspirational.
    It’s going to take me a week or two (the first week in Nice) to digest whether I ever want to put myself through that kind of effort again but hopefully the answer will be yes. Keep on writing. Your blogs were/are a great inspiration and of course keep on riding. I’ll keep reading.

    • Luc, the word ‘relative’ came up all the time during the week. My ‘pro’ speed in passing you was doubled when Peter Pouly passed me (okay, that never happened because he was always in front, but you get the idea). We talked a lot this week about how, for example, the competition near the front of the standings meant absolutely nothing to us. Rob and I spent every evening looking at our placings near the 100 mark (and never breaking through), while Julian was eager to get below 300. It was just as fun and challenging for him as it was for us. It was interesting to see and hear about all the little bubbles each person was riding in all week.

      You’re so right about the ‘digestion’. It’s just starting now, but I have a busy week ahead with family, so I think I’ll be repressing it a little. I’m not going to say Haute Route changed my life, but I think ‘enhanced’ might work. Was quite the experience. I’m glad to have met you, even if it was just for a few minutes. Who knows…maybe next year!

    • Yes, thanks for the joke, David! Thing is, you’re right. Once one thing is ticked off, there has to be something else. I just hope it’s a long ways away from now!

      • Hows about a FFC race somewhere in your area next week after a gentle week of spinning out the legs , i am sure you will be trucking after that, dont waste the Form

        well done

  2. You really do have a knack for the blog. I cannot think of a time when I was not engaged and interested in a post of yours, regardless of the word length. In addition to writing very well. You have a terrific way of capturing the passion for the sport and the local scenery that has inspired me. So please do keep it up. I’m sure there are plenty of adventures around the corner that are worth talking about.

    I get approached pretty regularly on rides around here. I’ll be honest that it’s a nice feeling. I’ve made quite a number of close friends from people finding my blog, as I know you have.

    Congratulations again on your accomplishment. I’m still 3 entries behind, so don’t spoil it for me. 😉

  3. Your posts have been terrific, they gave a real sense of life and actuality to the Haute Route experience … perhaps especially for those of us who will never even dream of riding it!

    And it is fun, as a reader, to “meet” other cyclists who comment on your site, or whom you mention. I often track back to them … so thanks for that link-up also.

    Hold onto that experience as long as you can … it was a doozey! (Now there’s a word I’ve never wondered about, but should…)

    • We’re certainly building a fun community through all our blogs. Some of you actually become ‘real’, which is the best part. Looking forward to confirming your ‘reality’ soon!

  4. You gotten me excited about cycling again, have cost me a lot of money in a new bike and gear, been an inspiration to lose weight (36 lbs), and I am now learning new words (drivel) so all I can say for my sake is to keep it up. It does make a positive difference in other peoples lives reading about yours.Thanks for the RHA updates, I was interested in reading about the 70 yr old cyclist, not that I will ever attempt such a feat. Thanks again Gerry

    • I appreciate that comment, Bryan. I get ‘cringey’ when I read promotional-type cycling blogs and consciously keep this one as honest as I can.

  5. I like the drivel as well…..now from the business standpoint…..take it to the max, advertsing, promotion, pro photo ops ( for your excellent photographer wife ) I suggested this a while back and maybe u are seeing exactly how popular you really are when readers aka fans seek you out. More and more doors will open for you not only during the Haute race but other races that you might not be participating in but can report on ( Italy, Spain, TDF etc) you are young enough to at least try it once and see where it takes you. Your love for racing and riding can be a door to many more happy rides and finances….Oh the opportunities ….congrats on what you have achieved. !!

  6. Hi Gerry
    Thanks for the mention!
    What an amazing week of nothing but riding, eating, attending the briefing and sleeping for 7 days…
    It’s so nice to have time for other things again but it sure was fun!
    Great to meet you and well done. I’ll be following your next adventure.
    I might try this one at some point next year http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_Pyreneen

    • I know that one, Dane. In fact I might be doing a guided tour through there next year. It’s a great idea and an awesome way to get to know the Pyrenees. Sounds like we might be rolling in similar circles, so hopefully that means we will run into each other again. Cheers.

  7. Your flame was lit a long time ago. The shape and size of your flame may have changed and will probably continue to change, but as long as you keep it fueled it will never die out. Enjoy the Ride my friend, because there is No Finish LIne.

      • Looks like it is going to be the second or third week in August, which I know is holiday time in France. Anyway, hopefully we can find a day to suffer together on the way to the moon and back!

        • We’ll be in the Alps at that time, but with a little luck there’ll be a little crossover. We only need 1:30 to get up there anyway 😉

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