Started thinking about what I want to do next year, this year I am not in shape to worry about anything. Im all but done with triathlon for now, and organised events are stressy, expensive, and I just like to march to the beat of my own drum.
Plotting a little solo cycling holiday to France to take in some TdF locations and some nice places and lots of wine.
Havent really looked at logistics in any great detail but thinking couple of nights in Avignon, see the sights, cycle up to Chateaunerf-de-pape and have a glass or two. Then big ride out to Ventoux. Then a couple nights maybe in Grenoble and do Col de la Madeleine and/or Alpe du Huez.
Assuming I am trained for it, is that too much climbing in a short space of time? Also I suck at descending so need to come up with a plan for that.
The coach at my tri club did something similar recently so will tap him up for some tips
I asked my coach and he said they drove and it meant they could take everything with them and the big climbs they drove nearby and just did the climbs.
I was thinking of trains between the places. Eurostar to Paris. Paris to Avignon. Avignon to Grenoble via Lyon.
Having a car would be easier. Not sure if TGV allow bikes and dont want to be be boxing and rebuilding. We went down to 1 car few years back and my wife uses it for work so that would mean hiring one maybe.
I’ve been looking at the “Raid” tours but it does mean other people and I don’t like other people much The tours look great though, about £1500 for a week of catered riding, Alpes, Pyrenees, Massive Central, Dolomites, all the decent places are covered.
TBF they said they’d announce again in September though i think they’re just kicking the can down the road but they may have some info for you by then.
Depending on where you live you could get the ferry over which costs £25 with a bike on DFDS. It did only cost £15 in P&O but I won’t be using them again.
I’m planning to do a mini tour myself next year so have looked in to a fair bit. I’m going to fly to Limoges and cycle back to my SE London house and my plan is to get a cardboard bike box from my LBS, pack the bike in really well and just discard the box at the airport. That way it’ll be £5 for the flight, £60 for the bike transport and then just camp sites, food and ferry on the way back.
I think it’s only 6000m of climbing in total over 700km so nowhere near what you’d be getting up to so you may have slightly different luggage needs.
Stayed just outside Borg d’oisans for alpe d’huez tri - absolutely amazing around there. The cycling is simply stunning. I had a flat straight out of T1 so most of the field had gone so had lots of time to myself contemplating the niceness of it all.
If it was me though - how about a spot of cycling in Spain?
Yeah ventoux would be cool but then near Granada you have pico de Valeta. Cycling around there and guadix, the sierras too is other worldly at times
As someone who’s done a few of these, I feel reasonably knowledgable - enough at least to comment.
As has been said, there’s a trade off between being able to do exactly what you want to do vs a fixed itinerary & having company that you might not like.
The fixed itinerary is very much a personal thing - the 100 hr RAID Pyrenees was a bucket list item for me which I did having got on a bike again just 3 months previously, so barely fit enough. I didn’t really get on with any of the people on that trip and one of them was quite unpleasant (I rode my old tri bike with a wing and no drops which he took exception to).
That nearly put me off but I went back for the RAID du Massif Central and had a blast. Didn’t know any of the climbs so it was a voyage of discovery, every day different and I’m still in touch with 6 of the other riders on a regular basis.
RAID Corsica I did with a cycling friend and there was a group of 7 who were rather unpleasant but we just avoided them. That trip had two days of “challenging” weather and more mechanical failures that I’ve ever seen before or since.
So, taking an organised tour is a potential mixed bag of but there are a lot of good points:
You only have to worry about cycling, gear transferred and snacks and drinks when you need them
The sense of a journey which I really like (rather than discreet days out)
You can avoid the less pleasant people quite easily
Sense of achievement is definitely higher after completing a 5 or 6 day trip … you can’t just decide not to cycle on one of the days
Bad weather is typically unpleasant at the time but enhances the story in retrospect … just this week I was reliving the wettest cycling experience of my life atop the Col de Bavedda: