Haute Route Alps 2023: Epic Climbs, Tranquille Descents

In my first Haute Route Alps in 2013 the race was timed from the start on Lake Geneva till Col de Vence, above Nice, 7 stages later. In 2015 I think that we had a couple of untimed descents, either imposed by local authorities or decided by Haute Route because the descents were deemed to be ‘dangerous’. I don’t recall any ‘neutralized’ descents in Haute Route Ventoux a few years ago, but the Glandon definitely was in HR Alpe d’Huez in 2019, as well as maybe half the descents in HR Pyrenees that same year. Well, things have evolved since then and now Haute Route has this announcement at the top of each event’s webpage:

In the past I would have either not signed up for an event that didn’t allow my pretty good descending skills (at least when compared with my climbing abilities) to give me a shot at placing a tad higher than I otherwise would, or I would have complained to you bitterly about it.

But something has happened to me since I was only 45. Next year I’ll be 55 and am suddenly not filled with the same amount of testosterone – until the race starts anyway. At least we are being told this early, so we have no excuses not to lose weight and build our advantage on the timed climbs (and power for the flats).

For me personally, I’m really looking forward to riding these epic roads without clients for a change, even if some of my teammates are clients. And how’s this for a list of epic climbs?

  • Romme
  • Colombiere
  • Aravis
  • Glandon
  • Alpe d’Huez (x2)
  • Sarenne
  • Croix de Fer
  • Telegraphe
  • Galibier
  • Granon
  • Izoard
  • Agnel
  • Tende

And I’m leaving out a bunch of smaller names. That’s not bad for a week’s riding.

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