Haute Route Logistics

Being in ‘the business’ I can only admire what OC Sport have accomplished with this event. That being said, I did complain more than a little two years ago when bags didn’t show up on time, not to mention Greg Lemond.

It seems they’ve worked out the kinks and, as far as I was concerned this year, the immense work that surrounds the riding was pretty seamless. Take the day before the race began, for example:

This is what I had to do:

  • Check in to my hotel
  • Bring my bike to the Village on the Promenade des Anglais to have it safety-checked
  • Drop off my bike bag/box at the trucks below for safe keeping during the race
  • Register and get my envelope, jersey and bibs, day pack and HR giant bag that had to be used to identify you so that it was taken to the correct hotel each afternoon

All this took 10 minutes, max.
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If I’d had any bike issues there was Mavic ready to either fix them or tell me I’m screwed and lend one of their yellow steel monsters (more on this in a later post).

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The backpack (below) was an essential bit of gear. This was brought to start line each morning, dropped off at the Europcar van, and picked up again at the end of the stage. It was filled with whatever you needed at the end of each stage, like a protein drink, change of clothes, towel, meal card, and in my case, organic German beef jerky.

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Each night there was a briefing, which I’m ashamed to say I only attended twice. This is half the room on the first night in Nice. The skinniest conference hall on the Côte d’Azur, I’d bet.

2015-08-22 18.35.20

On top of this, negotiations had to be made with hotels to ensure a copious, very early breakfast, all support vehicles needed to navigate the same roads we did and make it to the end before the riders (a major task for at least Claud The Butler), and a hot, waiting lunch had to be waiting for us after arrival. There needed to be showers at the finish line, changing rooms and space for the endless line of massages that occurred each day.

It makes me definitely not want to apply for a job at this company. I’ve got a guided ride with one Aussie tomorrow morning which is stressing me out enough!

Anyway, bravo OC Sport. I’ve still got a few issues with you, but you done me good this time around.

10 thoughts on “Haute Route Logistics

  1. Hey Gerry
    Congratulations on completing the Haute Route! Did you happen to notice how many riders were using ‘triples’? I’d love to complete a similar event but don’t think I could do some of those climbs without the extra chain ring. I understand that improving your overall fitness levels makes the difference between failure and success, but you know some days that extra little mechanical help goes a long way! Jeff, Ontario, Canada

    • Hi Jeff. Someone else might have a better answer than me, but I’ll take a stab at it anyway.

      I never saw a Triple, but I wasn’t really looking either. There’s really no reason not to considering it, except for the weight penalty, I would think. That being said, these days you can get an amazing range of speeds on just a Compact, so I’d consider this first. I can only speak for myself here, but if I thought I’d ‘need’ a Triple to do HR, I wouldn’t do HR, if you get me. If I had a 30/30 on some of those climbs I probably would still be out there spinning up them 😉

      Hope that helps. Another bit of advice I can confidently give is to work your way up to HR by doing big one-day events first (e.g. Etape du Tour), if you haven’t already that is.

  2. Thanks Gerry. Appreciate your comments, which, by the way, follow along with my thinking. I need to suss out the gearing options on a compact and move into the 21st Century, I guess! Cheers, Jeff

    • There was a good article in one of the French cycling magazines last month which offered some good advice on how to prepare to tackle an Haute Route event (none of which I had done when I tackled HR 2013 by he way). The tips included getting 3-4 cycling seasons in your legs. I did 9 months but 3 seasons on I now feel that I can push a bigger gear longer before having to go to my 28. I had a 32 in HR which I almost wore out. They also recommend doing several cyclosportives with similar climbing meters and distance. Which I didn’t. I would say that using a compact chainring 50/34 and cassette with up to 32 would come in handy. However doing the first 2 tips above certainly would have helped big time.

    • In that case, I apologize Chèr Mavic! I just zoomed in on the photo above and see that they are carbon, but I am pretty sure I saw one or two while there that were lugged and looked like steel. Admittedly, my focus was a little off last week 😉

      • Possible, I think this is the first year Mavic used these bikes on the TdF, so if they were at the HR with multiple cars, there might have been other brands present too. And I am sure your focus was spot on last week 😉

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