Landed in Geneva on the Friday and van took me straight to Lake Geneva - Cozzie, cap goggles and I was in. Beautiful clear water and a Lake waaaay bigger than I could imagine.
The next day I supported the saffas partaking in the ITU World Champs Olympic distance.
Yeew, what a course which came with some fomo. I settled that with a climb up Col de la Faucille which was a close the our accommodation.
Then 5 of us headed to the Alps starting at Hauteluce in a sweet hotel called Les Saisies.
The morning was fresh which means I was freeking freezing but I forgot about that because I was so excited to ride Col du Joly. It was so quiet with the sound of cow bells now and then as you make your way up the 23km climb. The last 10km climbs out of the valley and you come face with Mont Blanc. What a moment, I felt like an ant surrounded by mountain beauty.
After lunch we packed the cars and headed to Col du Glandon which is a 21km climb with bits of 13% gradient. The sun was gold as we drove up the climb set in a deep valley with green grass, cow bells and lots of trees. It's honestly the most beautiful scenery I have experienced. Light was fading as the locals herded their sheep for the night so we opted for a short version of Col du Glandon which included that 13% gradient on a TT bike. Not much talking happened during that climb but wow I do appreciate those Tour de France riders now!
One night in La Grave before riding downhill to Alpe d'huez. Passing beautiful turquoise lakes, through runnels and down switch backs. Alpe d'huez needs no introduction and it was a real bucket list moment ticking off each hair pin 1-21.
Then snacks and a game of tetrus with bikes and vans before driving to Embrun. An ancient Roman and Medieval town which also hosts the annual Embrunman triathlon. Morning swims and run around the lake before heading to Nice.
The 3 hour drive went quickly with so much to see - rural life, old towns build on top of cliff faces, many castles before arriving on the French Riviera.
70.3 World Champs was an added bonus to a holiday that far exceeded any expectation.
What an awesome course with a calm swim in the Mediterranean followed by an exciting bike course up the Col de Vence and a flat run along the promenade des Anglais.
I don't have any fancy conclusion other than WOW!
I rode places that are on some peoples bucket lists, experienced beauty like no other, I laughed till I cried, I ate supermarket food out of a packet for 11 days and got bust by a sniffer dog for carrying carrots.
by Catherine Priday