Haute Route cycling events exist to offer the amateur club cyclist a high level, professional cycling experience. Multi day stage races, from 3 to 7 days, with all the trimmings you would expect from watching (too much) Tour de France on TV.
From aggregate General Classification timings and motorcycle outriders to post stage massage, it's not your average Sunday sportive.
Two weeks ago I took part in the Haute Route Ventoux 3 day weekend. Reflecting on the event now that my legs have recovered, I have to admit that it was one of the best cycling experiences of my life.
I wasn’t expecting that, for a few reasons. I think I was expecting the event to be a bit on the serious side, with lots of serious riders all taking themselves very seriously.
And it was a serious event. 285km and 8000 metres of climbing in a weekend is serious.
We'd all trained hard for the ride and wanted to do our best. Unlike some other events I've ridden in the past, I didn't see anyone downing rosé the night before stage one!
However the fact that riders were focused didn't stop everyone socialising, helping each other out and mixing well. The balance was good, which I was very thankful for.