Whilst we sit here tranquilly sipping a glass of deliciously chilled Rosé, some battle hardened souls are pumping their way up and down the famous Alps of Europe – Les Dix Alpes, a cycle event in its second year, is under way again.
It began on the shores of Lake Como, Italy on the 21st June and is scheduled to end on the 3rd July on the azur shores of Nice.
Les Dix Alpes is not for the fainthearted. 9 mountains of over 2,000 m will be part of the challenge, and then there’s the legendary climb up to the ski resort of Alpes d’Huez (1,860 m) with its 21 hairpin bends.
Many of the famous cols that are included in the Tour de France are part of this challenge: Col de l’Iseran, Col du Galibier (2,645m), Col d’Izoard and Col de la Bonette. The others are no less challenging, Simplon Pass, Col du Petit St. Bernard (2,188m), Col du Grand St. Bernard (2,469m), Col de Vars and Col de Lautaret.
1,081 kms of a mixture of relatively flat roads along the lakes to long, steep climbs up and down the French Alps, a cumulative 22,305 m of climbing… The whole route follows well paved, relatively quiet and fantastically scenic mountain roads.
The start of the race is deceptively flat as you follow the shores of 3 lakes in northern Italy – Como, Lugano and Maggiore, but that’s the end of the easy bit, after that it’s straight into the Simplon Pass and a mountain a day to challenge.
There are 2 rest days, one in Visp which is the gateway to Zermatt and the famous Matterhorn, and the other is in the picturesque village of Bourg d’Oisans at the foot of l’Alpe d’Huez. After climbing the last and highest Col de la Bonette (2.802 m) you drop down to sea level in two days through wonderful gorges.
This is only the second year that this race has been run, but it looks like an event that will be here to stay. It is, as with many of these events, organised with a view to raising money for charity – an honourable charity: The Oncology Children’s Foundation (OCF), Australia. All participants from New Zealand and Australia are asked to support this charity. Participants from other countries are welcome to do so too of course (!), but may also support a charity of their choice.
Participants from around the world are welcome to this event. It is not a race. The trip is designed to challenge people and motivate them to achieve their personal goals irrespective of their ability. The ride is fully supported with a back-up vehicle, cook and Bike Dreams cycling guide. The support vehicle serves lunch half way through the stage and provides assistance to riders where required. Their cooks will provide traditional meals full of energy for hungry cyclists. Accommodation is a mix of camping and hotels.
The cost is €1,095.
Registration for the 2011 event is already open and the dates for your diary are 28th June, 2011 to 9th July. Registration before January 2011 will be €1,095 and after January will be €1,195.
If you are interested in taking part please fill in the registration form on their website, Bike-Dreams.