Trans Alps Challenge Bike Tour in 2012

Mary and I did our last bike tour with Breaking Away in July 2012. Called the Trans Alps Challenge, it was 10 days of epic biking along the border between France and Italy! We biked 57 miles during two warmup days and 594 miles with 78,500 ft of climbing during the tour! There were eight guests plus three guides: Oleg Bozhor (the new owner), Mitch Clinton, and Guillaume Dassonville. We had biked before with all three guides.

Here is the itinerary for the tour.

Days -1 & 0 (Wednesday & Thursday, July 18 & 19): We arrive in Geneva on Wednesday afternoon and shuttle to Divonne-les-Bains in France, where we spend two nights. We do warmup rides of 13 miles on Wednesday and 44 miles on Thursday by Lake Geneva back and forth across the border between France and Switzerland.

Day 1 (Friday, July 20): Shuttle to St Pierre-en-Faucigny on the outskirts of Geneva in France and then bike to Crest-Voland over the Col de St Jean de Sixt (956 m), Col de la Croix Fry (1,477 m), and Col des Aravis (1,487 m) for 43 miles and 6,900 ft of climbing.

Day 2 (Saturday, July 21): Bike from Crest-Voland to Bourg-St-Maurice over the Col des Saisies (1,650 m) and Comet de Roselend (1,968 m), shuttle to Val d’Isère, and then bike to Lanslevillard over the Col de l’Iseran (2,770 m or 9,088 ft), the highest paved pass in the Alps. We bike 71 miles with 9,000 ft of climbing.

Day 3 (Sunday, July 22): Bike from Lanslevillard to Sestriere in Italy. We go over the Col du Mont Cenis (2,085 m) and Colle delle Finestre (2,176 m) and finish with the climb to Sestriere (2,035 m). We bike 55 miles with 10,000 ft of climbing.

Day 4 (Monday, July 23): Bike from Sestriere to Dronero with a short shuttle to avoid some construction. We bike 67 mi with 3,500 ft of climbing.

Day 5 (Tuesday, July 24): Bike a loop from Dronero over the Colle Fauniera (2,481 m) for 56 miles and 6,500 ft of climbing. We are the only guests to do all of this ride.

Day 6 (Wednesday, July 25): Bike from Dronero over the Colle della Lombarda (2,350 m) at the border with France and half-way up the Col de la Bonette (2,715 m) when a thunderstorm forces us to shuttle to Jausiers for the night. We bike 74 miles with 10,500 ft of climbing.

Day 7 (Thursday, July 26): Bike a loop from Jausiers over the Col de la Cayolle (2,326 m), Col de Champs (2,080 m), and Col d’Allos (2,250 m) for 85 miles and 10,700 ft of climbing. We are the only guests to do all of this ride.

Day 8 (Friday, July 27): Bike from Jausiers over the Col de Vars (2,109 m) and Col d’Izoard (2,360 m) and most of the way down to Briançon when a gusty thunderstorm forces us to shuttle the last few miles to town. We bike 53 miles with 7,800 ft of climbing.

Day 9 (Saturday, July 28): Bike from Briançon to the tops of the Col de Lauteret (2,058 m) and Col du Galibier (2,642 m), shuttle through tunnels, and then bike up the famous Alpe d’Huez (1,780 m). We bike 41 miles with 8,300 ft of climbing.

Day 10 (Sunday, July 29): Bike from Alpe d’Huez to the top of the Col de la Croix de Fer (2,067 m), over the Col du Glandon (1,924 m), and down to La Chambre for 49 miles and 5,300 ft of climbing. We shuttle back to Divonne-les-Bais to end our epic tour!

Photos and commentary follow.