Raid Alpine South to North
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 November 2013 13:54
The Raid Alpine itself needs little introduction, it is a classic road cycling challenge traversing the Alpine cols of France in either N-S or S-N direction. Originally set up, and still overseen by the Thonon les Bains Cycling Club, this incredible journey travelling north from the Cote d'Azur to the shores of Lake Geneva is the so-called 'pre amble' to another infamous ride; the Raid Dolomites. I would use a different phrase to 'pre-amble' myself. Certainly there is not much 'ambling' about this challenge!
The stats. of course are suitably impressive: 780kms and 31 cols giving you over 14,600m of ascent! There is something seriously psychologically challenging, to leave the flat coastal strip and head inland, knowing the physical barriers that await you in the form of the magnificent and awe inspiring Alps. With some incredible scenery shifts, you cycle through incredible gorges before taking on the highest col in Europe (Cime de la Bonnette), ascending its South side. Its a mighty one to have under your belt on Day 2 of cycling but other great names await you: Col d'Izoard, Col du Mont Cenis, Col d'Iseran, to name drop but a few! This is the heart of the French Alps and the views don't get any better. Col du Pre, Col de Saises, Col du Ramaz - they each have their own character and they will stay in your memory as the bit of route with the 'best view', 'the steepest hairpin', 'the most beligerant cow'! The descent from the final Col de Moises to the expansive shores of Lake Geneva is enjoyable in every way; for the freewheel, for the views, and for the satisfaction of completeing this great achievement.
If you are accustomed to col climbing, this could be a suitable first Raid (in either direction). However, generally for a first Raid, the Raid Pyrenean is probably a better bet as it is a day and a half less in the saddle, which makes it an excellent introduction to a consecutive day event. The jury is still out as to whether this is a tougher direction to take on the Raid Alpine. If you have done the route N - S then sign up and let us know your thoughts at the end! Though you may be doing the same trip in reverse, the routes in reality are entirely different... and you get the satisfaction of having taken on both sides of each col! If you haven't yet done a Raid Alpine, then this is a stunning introduction to the Raids in the Alps. Of course we have had a few people who want to go one way and then the other (nutters!), let us know if this is you!
We follow the official route set out by the Cycle Club in Thonon Les Bains and for your efforts get awarded a badge on successful completion of the challenge in less than 7 days. We have opted to do the challenge in 6 days (to fit it into a week), giving us an average of 130kms a day.
Dates and Prices
Mon 23rd June - Mon 30th June 2014
Mon 25th Aug - Mon 1 Sept 2014
Costs for all trips: £1050 (twin share basis), starting at Geneva Airport and ending at Nice Airport. Single supplement £210 [To be arranged on booking. This supplement only applies if you are booking alone and would like to guarantee your own room for the holiday. If you are happy to share with someone of the same gender then there is no need to pay this supplement.]
Flights are not included but can be picked up very cheaply if booked in advance.
Allow about £100 for lunches and daytime drinks that are not included (outlined below). There are no other local payments or hidden costs. Please note that we offer a 5% discount if you book more than 6 months before the departure date. We also offer group and loyalty discounts.
If your currency isn't GBP £, then you may find the Caxton FX currency calculator useful.
This price includes:
6 days supported rides. Route notes, GPS files and colour maps. Entrance to the official "Raid Alpine". Airport Transfers (at specified times). Medical and Mechanical support from 2 vehicles. 7 nights accommodation. 7 evening meals with table wine. 7 substantial breakfasts. Cycling snacks and fruit during the ride. Certificate and medal on successful completion of the challenge plus the option to purchase one of our new Raid Alpine gilets
NB. There will also be included a freebie Marmot Tours pack: Raid Challenge musette bag, Marmot Tours water bottle and Raid Alpine velopac (waterproof transparent mobile/money holder) for each client. Raid Alpine gilets are available to purchase either before or on the trip (contact us to add the price to your invoice) - see our Merchandise section for gilet piccies.
Why choose Marmot Tours for your Raid Alpine?
In a nutshell, we hope that you will come with us on the Raid Alpine because you have enjoyed our product elsewhere, and would like to take on a new challenge with the level of support you know you can expect from Marmot Tours, or because you like the sound of our approach to cycling holidays from our website.
As usual, we will be on hand to assist with travel arrangements and queries prior to the trip and during the trip you can also expect the following:
- we cater for various dietary requirements and supplement your breakfasts with wholesome cereals and fruit to give you that kick start in the morning (continental breakfasts aren't always the best for cyclists!)
- we use small friendly and family run hotels that know us and our needs (particularly regarding cyclists), and who make every effort to make your trip comfortable and easy
- we will limit our group size to 20 so you get the benefits of being with enough other cyclists to find others who cycle at your pace and to have a good laugh en route, but also so that you are not just 'one' in a sea of faces who never get to know anyone else in the group, or your leaders.
- we always have 2 support vehicles, driven by members of the Marmot Tours team. The front van offers support to the speedier cyclists in the group, plus makes sure that everyone's bags are at the hotel before they arrive. The back van stays on the road with the second half of the group ensuring that they have support for as long as it takes for them to complete the days ride. This means that we can have a group with mixed cycling experience and different paces, and still offer everyone the same, high level of support. It also means that in the case of any emergencies or mechanicals, a van is never far away.
- We provide GPS notes (.gpx or .tcx) and comprehensive route cards with colour maps, altitude profiles, detailed directions, information of places to stop for food and the odd bit of local / historical information.
- One driver will always be a bike mechanic so help is on hand for any problems en route (though it is helpful if you are independent as regards punctures).
Marmot Tours has been running road cycling holidays since its conception in 2001. James has been in the leisure industry for even longer and so you can be sure that we will not overlook any aspect of your trip, from the riding, to the travel arrangements, to the accommodation.