So what I learnt after the Haute Route Alps 2016, and what I’d do differently.
Get a coach. Yeah, you read that correctly. I didn’t believe the other blogs, and advice, either. I’d use training peaks, along with a coach, to try and replicate the Training Stress Score (TSS) levels that I encountered in the Alps. My first day’s TSS was 418, followed by day’s of 3-400. Most of my rides were in the 1-200s. Nowhere near enough suffering. I should have ridden 7 days with scores in the 300s.
One thing that I learnt was I didn’t do enough training, and the other is that I didn’t lose enough weight. Thirdly, I did just enough of everything to sit in the middle of the pack. The middle of the pack is a shitty place to be. See, there are two groups, the fast, and the wealthy. There aren’t too many that sit in the middle.
The middle group are disparate. They make up about 40% of the field, yet they don’t gel and make pelotons like the quicks and the rich. They do a lot of racing on their own. They’re in no man’s land. The quicks race properly. They form good bunches and have the street smarts. The quicks are usually the first 100 or so.
The rich, well we all know about them. They don’t have enough time to train, they’re too busy making money. Yet they are all dressed in Rapha and ride expensive Pinarello’s.
I should have lost another 10kg. It was suggested that I shouldn’t lose too much weight, and so I ate like a king just beforehand. Wrong. I should have lost more. To make the top 150, or so, I should have been down to about 66-68kg. This would have made the hills more enjoyable. Actually, not enjoyable, just make me more competitive. I’d have finished sooner. Had lunch earlier, as well as a Shower, Massage and rest.
Another valid point that my roommate, Mark Cozens, made to me do was eating as much as you can for breakfast. And he meant as much as you physically can. My problem was that I wasn’t used to eating 2500 calories at 5 am. Eat in the morning and less at night. I was eating incorrectly. See, I ate a medium breakfast, the lunch that they provided, then the after briefing snacks, followed by dinner.
What I should have done is eat a massive breakfast, as this will fuel your ride. Eat the lunch provided. Eat the snacks after the briefing. And then go to bed. I was full in the morning. That made me lethargic and not fuelled for my ride properly.
I’d read that the food provided wasn’t up to much. This was incorrect. They provided us with a very balanced diet. All of the food was edible. What I would say is that it’s difficult to eat yoghurt with a fork! I’d also like to see more regional cuisine at the race villages.
Another point I’d make is about reading the info provided by Haute Route properly. This would have saved me some ticking around trying to understand how to get a massage, where the food is, etc. Although some of their signage could have been a whole lot better. Heading into some of the towns and you felt like you were on your jack jones! They have to sort that out.
The rest of the Haute Route is supremely organised. One thing that put me off of doing the triple was the transfer from Toulouse and Nice not being part of the package. If Haute Route had organised that, and I would have paid, I would have aimed for doing the Pyrenees as well. I’m sure I’m not alone. I see that next year there’s a two-day break between the Pyrenees and the Alps, and five between the Alps and Dolomites, although I’m not keen on 5!
All in all, it’s a cracking event.