Four Windrushers ventured over to Bourg d'Oisins in the French Alps to do the iconic Alpe d'Huez triathlon in July, myself and Malcolm the long course, Tony and David the short course, along with Tony's friend Roger. Staying in a cabin at Camping la Piscine at the base of the 21 bends, we had the use of a beautiful pool and access to various stunning rides in the mountains around Bourg in the days leading up to and after the races, which are held on the Wednesday and Thursday.
Congrats to Malcolm who completed the long course race at Alpe d'Huez in a very creditable 7:31 (2,200m swim, 115km bike over two passes and up Alpe d'Huez, 22km run around ski station). Malcolm is getting a reputation as a serious mountain goat, and scorched up the big climb in 1:10, 50th fastest in the entire race. Chapeau! I trundled through the race at a less scorching 8:08, but still managed 4th in my V3 age group (also known as the Old Crocs Who Refuse To Give Up Triathlon category).
The swim is in a cold, clear lake surrounded by mountains; they don't come more scenic. On the bike, you are either climbing or descending the whole way round, some of the descents quite technical on mountain roads with nothing more than a foot high stone wall guarding you from a very big drop. Best not to look... The final climb is the toughie, with the afternoon sun radiating heat from the stone walls and a sign telling a cycling legend at each bend, named after Tour de France riders who have won stages finishing on the Alpe (you are going slowly enough to read them, I can assure you). The run is undulating, partly on a road and partly on an alpine track, all of it with amazing views of the surrounding high peaks and glaciers of the Parc des Ecrins. At just under 2000m, it also feels more than a bit breathless.
Tony and David faced scorching conditions and a midday start for the short course race, making the climb particularly tough, but both completed the race in decent times and in good spirits, and with fine tri-top tan lines to boot.
Both races are extremely well organised and there is a great vibe amongst the competitors. Strongly recommended to all Windrushers for next July, particularly if we are having another washout UK summer.
Great report guys, more than a pang as I read it. Next year it will be the long course for me, but I will avoid cycling to work the week before! We should do an alps trip in the spring in preparation. Congratulations all.
Oh yes, I had forgotten about the tapering rides.... just thank our lucky stars Malcolm didn't lead the ride two days before the race or we'd have been up the Col de Galibier before we knew it!
Sounds fab - brilliant job all! This race (short course) is on my 'Must do before I'm 40' list so that means I've only got next year and 2014 to take the plunge - I'll be keeping an eye out to see who else is up for it!