Alps Tour - July 27th 2021
Have you dreamed of riding on the same roads as the Tour de France pro cyclists? Have you imagined yourself climbing such storied climbs as the Col de la Colombiére, Col de l’Izoard, Col du Galibier, Alpe d’Huez, and more? Do you watch the TdF wishing that you could climb those very peaks?
Join KCT and together we’ll make our way up (and down) the hairpin turns of world famous cols (mountain passes), visit postcard perfect villages, and cycle near pristine lakes, limestone cliffs, deep gorges, and volcanic rock. We’ll even climb above the treeline and above the clouds.
With KCT’s fabulous support, feel free to focus all your attention on your cycling and recovery, without having to concern yourself with planning, logistics, getting to and from the ride, or how to stuff your pockets with all the necessary nutrition and gear.
The KCT SAG vehicle will not only drive us to and from our rides, it will always be alongside to help us out with everything from nutrition and gear to shelter and a ride when it rains or if the legs give out. So rest assured: we’re here to help you achieve all of your cycling goals.
Level: Avid Cyclist, Peaks
Distance: 27 miles / 43 kilometers
Climb: 3,156 feet / 962 meters
Cols: Col de la Sarenne and the cliff road
Description: After arriving at our hotel and checking in, we’ll head out for a ride to get our legs moving. We will start with an easy 4.5 mi. (7.2 km) climb to Col de la Sarenne. There’s 997 ft. (304 m.) of elevation gain, but also 490 ft. (149 m.) of descending. The max gradient is briefly 15% but the average is only 1.3%. We’ll then descend for 10 mi. (16 km.) on a beautiful road with gorgeous views and hairpin turns. We’ll descend 3,733 ft. (1,138 m.) to the large dam at Lac du Chambon. We’ll then take a mostly deserted cliff road with spectacular views almost to the end of the ride, climbing 1,788 ft. (545 m.) and descending 2,588 ft. (789 m.) through the mountains. We’ll end in the beautiful Le Bourg d’Oisans, load the bikes onto the SAG vehicle and head to our hotel for dinner and rest.
Distance: 51 miles / 83 kilometers
Climb: 8,435 feet / 2,571 meters
Cols: Col du Télégraphe + Col du Galibier
Description: We promised world famous climbs and we intend to deliver. We’ll drive to the start of our ride and add these storied climbs to our list of achievements. The Tour de France has crossed the Col du Galibier 58 times, 37 from the north via the Télégraphe.
While the Télégraphe is a winding climb up a forested road, the Galibier, at least in part, is above the treeline. This makes for two very different experiences. The Galibier isn’t a traditional col. It literally goes over the mountains. At 8,677 feet (2,645 meters) above sea level, it is the seventh highest route in the Alps and the fourth highest in France. Andy Schleck said of the Col du Galibier, “You are so, so high up. It’s not like one of these climbs where you look up and see the trees above you. You just go up and it’s like you’re riding into the sky.”
This location and climb is one you will never forget. Even if we don’t have thousands of fans cheering us on, it’s a ride every cyclist must do at least once in his life. Let a little bit of its magic rub off on you.
One of the things I have learned from cycling in the Alps is that no matter how hot it is while climbing, as we reach the summit it will usually begin to feel chilly and will certainly feel very cold when descending. So make sure to always have a windbreaker and some warm gear in the SAG vehicle.
Distance: 57 miles / 92 kilometers
Climb: 7,464 feet / 2,275 meters
Cols: Col d’Izoard
Description: The Col d’Izoard can be climbed by bike both from the north and from the south. We’ll do the classic route – from the south. Don’t worry; we’ll have our awesome support all along the way.
The south side is the well-trodden route. Breathe deeply and relax into a comfortable pace. Beginning in a town of ramshackle pastel frontages and mountain shadows, the dry, scrubby landscape soon gives way to an impressive and imposing gorge. Eventually, the foliage thins, and a final ramp leads you to a swinging right-hander which places you centre stage in cycling’s most grand amphitheatre — the Casse Déserte. We’ll pause at the summit of this majestic and mythical mountain for a breather. Note: There are tunnels, so a rear light is a must.
After our descent, we continue – mostly descending or flat – through one of France’s ten national parks, and alongside a pristine alpine river.
Our ride ends where it started, and we’ll head back to the hotel to enjoy a delicious and well-deserved dinner.
Distance: 14 miles / 23 kilometers
Climb: 4,767 feet / 1,453 meters
Cols: Alpe d’Huez + Col du Poutran
Description: Shabbos doesn’t start until 8:49 pm, so we will cycle two rides today, starting right after breakfast. The first is a cycling legend, a classic -or maybe the classic – Alpe d’Huez. The word ‘iconic’ is often overused in cycling, but its application to the wiggling climb up Alpe d’Huez is entirely justified, as this climb has featured 30 times in the Tour de France. In fact, it’s the most famous mountain climb in the Tour de France.
The ascent from Le Bourg d’Oisans until Col du Poutran is just shy of 11 miles (18 kilometers) long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 4,177 feet (1,273 meters). The average percentage is 8%. The road slithers its way to the ski resort of Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps, navigating 21 hairpin bends along the way. From the road at the top of the ski resort of Alpe d’Huez the route continues to Col du Poutran.
We’ll head back to our hotel to refresh and eat before heading out to our second ride.
Distance: 40 miles / 64 kilometers
Climb: 1,020 feet / 311 meters
Description: Consider this a recovery ride in one of the most beautiful places in France. We’ll head to Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors for a relatively flat ride.
Note: If everyone is missing the mountains and itching for a climb, we can turn at the 33 mile (52 kilometer) mark and climb some epic cols for an additional 6,198 feet (1,889 meters). But seriously, a recovery ride may be in order, so not recommending it; just putting it here as an option.
Rest and recovery
Distance: 57 miles / 91 kilometers
Climb: 10,695 feet / 3,260 meters
Cols: Col de la Croix de fer + Col de la Madeleine
Description: Nestled in the heart of the Rhône-Alpes and surrounded by a veritable who’s who of mountain peaks like Alpe d’Huez, the Col de la Croix de Fer may not be quite as well-known as its more celebrated siblings but that’s not to say that it is any less of a spectacle; quite the opposite in fact. There’s a certain sense of freedom that the Croix de Fer instills deep inside. Waterfalls tumbling towards the valley far below with little more than the sound of your own breath for company as the road unfolds to reveal a remoteness that’s sure to soothe your soul.
The Croix de Fer has been crested 18 times in total during the Tour de France, and was tackled from both sides during the 2015 edition. You can use the first couple of miles (first few kilometers) to gently spin your legs to warm up and get into a steady rhythm before the climb begins to rise into its forest surroundings. The last part of the climb is around 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) long and starts with a 7% gradient, but soon eases off and becomes gentler and gentler as you reach the summit.
We’ll descend from Col de Croix de Fer for 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) and get ready to climb Col de la Madeleine from the south. The classic south side climb is 12 miles (19.5 kilometers), with approximately 40 hairpins. Beautiful, but heartbreaking is the way cyclists often describe the ascent. Two miles (3 kilometers) from the summit is the ski station of Saint-François-Longchamp and the final stretch of the climb winds up the ski slopes. Col de la Madeleine has appeared in the TdF 25 times.
Distance: 69 miles / 111 kilometers
Climb: 7,887 feet / 2,404 meters
Cols: Col de Carri + Col de la Portette
Description: The Vercors is one of France’s hidden gems, making it a cyclists’ paradise. The national park status means the Vercors has a vast collection of natural wildlife, including wild boar, stag, roe deer, and les chamois (small goats). There are over 140 bird species, including three kinds of falcons. The landscape is spectacular, featuring limestone cliffs, vast forests, deep gorges, rivers, caves, and beautiful and impressive roads.
Our ride starts with a 9 mile, 3,200 foot (15 kilometers, 975 meter) climb averaging 6.2%. Don’t worry – the following 15 miles (24.5 kilometers) only climb 769 feet (235 meters). We’ll end our ride near a mountain village renowned for its houses built into the cliff which appear as if they are about to topple down into the river below.
We’ll leave at 5:30 AM to arrive at Genève Aéroport by 8:30 AM