France From Inside Cycling and Wine Tours France

Cycling, Wine and Cultural Tours in the Dordogne, Pyrenees and Southwest of France.

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Alps Tour 2019 - Trip dates June 19 to July 4. Cost is $4500, and just like the Pyrenees that covers all hotels and meals and sag support; except your lunch and dinner on the two rest days.

Below is the layout of a possible combination of routes in the Alps. The Alps are different than the Pyrenees in a couple of significant ways. First the mountain passes are at a higher elevation, sometimes 7000 to 9000 ft - vs the Pyrenees which are at it's passes only 6800 ft. Therefore this could bring into play the "into thin air" hurt, a physiological response that varies from person to person. Second, many of the roads that run through the valleys are bigger highways with more car traffic, and these roads are to be avoided at a maximum in my opinion. So the options to get from "point A to point B" are restricted. Furthermore, many of the climbs are "dead ends," and that too reduces the options to get from "point A to point B." The net effect is that stages of a "sweet spot" of say 70 miles are not always available. The route is organized like the Pyrenees with the same format, 12 stages with 2 rest days, each rest day after 4 consecutive riding days (4 rides, rest, 4 rides, rest, 4 rides ... end). This will obviously be tough riding but that's what we want isn't it?

Total stats for the trip, without taking "short cuts" is approx 1000 miles and 114,000 ft. With short cuts the mileage is about 900 miles and 100,000 ft. Summary table at bottom of page.

With the above in consideration take a look at the course layout below. Please read the captions below the images to understand each image.

The above image includes stages 1-4. Stage 1 is in red, stage 2 in yellow, stage 3 pink, and stage 4 blue. Stage 3 gets us to the town of Bourg d'Oisan, which is at the base of the Alp d'heuz. We will spend 4 nights here.

This image includes stages 5-8, red followed by yellow, followed by pink, followed by blue.

Above are the final 4 stages, number 9-12, with colors (stages) in the same order. Now below are the images of each stage individually with an elevation profile. Take the time to look at the elevation profile and consider the "absolute elevation" of some of the passes.

Above Stage 1: Distance 72 miles, elevation about 10,000 ft. (Elevation is a rough guesstimate as RideWithGPS over predicts the actual elevation gain in the high mountains. I've had this experience with the routes in the Pyrenees. Actual elevation on a ride is anywhere from 10% to 25% less.

Above Stage 1 profile above: Distance 72 miles, elevation about 10,000 ft.

Above Stage 2: distance 82 miles and 9000 ft. elevation approx.

Above Stage 2: distance 82 miles and 9000 ft. elevation approx.

Above Stage 3: distance 74 miles and 8000 ft. elevation. This stage ends at the base of the Alps d'Heuz. We will spend 4 nights here, which includes 1 rest day. 3 Rides will launch from this location. 2 are out and back loops, and the last is the departure to the next town, Gap.

Above Stage 3: distance 74 miles and 8000 ft. elevation.

Above Stage 4, a loop over Alps d'Heuz and up to the Haut Valee de Veneon. This day can be shortened by not including the Valee Veneon. If you do the entire ride the distance is 64 miles and 8500 ft. elevation approx.

Above stage 4: distance 64 miles and 8500 ft.

Above Stage 5. Distance 101 miles, 13000 ft. elevation approx. This is going to be a tough stage, all time!

Above Stage 3: distance 74 miles and 8000 ft. elevation.

Above Stage 6: distance 94 miles and 9000 ft. elevation approx.

Above Stage 6: distance 94 miles and 9000 ft. elevation approx.

Above Stage 7: distance 90 miles and 10000 ft. approx. This day can be shortened by avoiding the out and back climb of the Summit Ail Froid, the climb near the end of the day. If you do this, then the distance is 68 miles and 7000 ft. approx. The other climbs for the day we'll call rollers.

Above Stage 7: distance 90 miles and 10000 ft. approx.

Above Stage 8: distance 80 miles and 11000 ft. approx. This day can be shortened in two ways. 1) avoid the climb up the Col Agnel, which is and out and back climb for us; or don't do the last climb up to Risoul. If you don't do the last climb than the distance is 63 miles and 8300 ft.

Above Stage 8: distance 80 miles and 11000 ft. approx.

Above is Stage 9 but it isn't complete. Technical difficulties prevent me from completing the tracing of the route for the 2nd climb which takes us to Col de la Bonette at 8907 ft. Anyhow, via old school techniques I guesstimate this day to be 75 miles and 10000 ft. This day can be shortened by turning around before summiting the Col de Bonette, since the climb will be an out and back effort.

Above is Stage 9 but it isn't complete.

Above Stage 10: distance 111 miles and 11000 ft. This stage can be shortened to 74 miles and 7500 ft.

Above Stage 10: distance 111 miles and 11000 ft.

Above Stage 11: distance 83 miles and 9500 ft. This stage goes through the Gorge du Verdon, a must see!!

Above Stage 11: distance 83 miles and 9500 ft.

Above Stage 12, the final ride. Distance 60 miles and 5000 ft. approx. There aren't any "real" cols on this day, just rollers.

Above Stage 12, the final ride. Distance 60 miles and 5000 ft. approx

Total stats for the trip, without taking "short cuts" is approx 1000 miles and 114,000 ft. With short cuts the mileage is about 900 miles and 100,000 ft.


Summary of stats for the Alps Tour 2017. Again these are approximations, not 100% accurate.
Day
Stage
Daily # of Mtn. passes
Mileage
Elevation gained
1.
Stage 1
3
72 mi.
10,000 ft.
2.
Stage 2
3
82 mi.
9,000 ft.
3.
Stage 3
2
74 mi.
8,000 ft.
4.
Stage 4
2
64 mi.
8,500 ft.
5.
1st Rest Day
6.
Stage 5
3
101 mi.
13,000 ft.
7.
Stage 6
3
94 mi.
9,000 ft.
8.
Stage 7
1 and small climbs
90 mi.
11,000 ft.
9.
Stage 8
3
80 mi.
10,000 ft.
10.
2nd Rest Day
11.
Stage 9
2
75 mi.
10,000 ft.
12.
Stage 10
3
111 mi.
11,000 ft.
13.
Stage 11
Small climbs and canyon
83 mi.
9,500 ft.
14.
Stage 12
Small climbs
60 mi.
5,000 ft.
 
Totals:
986 mi.
114,000 ft.

The End!