Road Cycling in the French Swiss and Italian Alps
Cyling in the Alps; Don't get hung up on the distance, focus on the height gain
"We are use to riding 100 miles a day, however you only seem to do 60 miles or less in your itinerary........"
A question we are asked many times over.
Many of our riders from the UK, USA and Australia quite rightly look at their 'volume' of weekly or daily riding by distance and when they look at trip itineraries for cycling in the Alps , they often interpret that the daily rides are shorter than they would like hence the tendacy to look around for cycling trips with higher ride distance. There is a mistaken belief that they will be able to cover the same daily distance in the Alps as they do at home.
In answering this regular question our stock reply is....
Don't worry about the distance, focus on the amount of climbing we do each day
Unless you have ridden in the Alps or the Pyrennees before its unlikely that you have experienced climbs where you will be heading uphill for more than an hour per Col. Multiply that by 2 or 3 Cols in a ride and you definately won't be worrying about the distance.
Typically our daily rides cover between 1700M and 2500M per day (5500ft to 8500ft) however on the tougher days we can be well in excess of 3000M (10,000ft). We usually ride at least 2 Cols in one ride, and up to 4 Cols on some of the tougher days.
For example, on our 'Epic Cols in 3 Countries tour' we often climb the Colle San Carlos in the Aosta Valley which has been used in the Giro D'Italia. When you have been climbing the San Carlo for over an hour to cover 11km at an average gradient around 10%. After descending down into La Thuile for a quick Italian coffee, you will carry on to another 10KM to the summit of the Petit St Bernard Pass which summits at 2030M - please trust us when we say you won't be worrying about the distance covered