Alpe d’Huez, France – July 27, 2016 – Triathlons don’t get more scenic than Alpe d’Huez.
Though the scenery comes at a price if your competing: * Snow melt from the peaks above the Lac du Verney can drop the water temperature enough to chill beer or a crisp Chablis. But blue skies and sunshine can – at least in your head – take the edge off the cold alpine waters.
The three hills you climb will test legs, lungs and your love of mountains:
- Col d’Ornon (1371 m)
- Alpe du Grand Serre (1375 m)
- Alpe d’Huez (1860m)
In particular, it’s when you hit the foot of the Alpe d’Huez climb, the real challenge begins. You begin to count down the 21 bends over the next 13.8km, where the ascent averages 8.1% before you can dismount your bike and start your run. At altitude.
While the last 22km is possibly one of the most scenic runs you’ll experience, the truth is you really don’t get to enjoy views of mountain tops and alpine valleys. While your lungs burn, your heart rate is breaking records and then you realise (if you still have the oxygen in your brain to think) that you’re running a half marathon at 2000m.
Tough yes, but one of the most beautiful triathlons around. It had Chrissie Wellington’s seal of approval.
Plus you get to climb the famous 21 bends of one of cycling’s iconic climbs. And this is made even more of an experience when French motorists lean out the window as they drive past and shout, “Allez” and “Bravo, Bravo!”
The French know how to do scenery, how to put on a stunning triathlon, and how to do random public support, all rather well.
And events like this are always more enjoyable when racing with friends who don’t mind a bit of mountain air, leg burning climbs, and a cold beer at altitude at the finish.
Vive la France 🇫🇷 vive la Alp Triathlon