A group of determined riders have decided to take on not only one but two, or in a few cases, all three Haute Route events in 2014*. Cyclists representing France, UK, Brazil, USA, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Australia and the Czech Republic hope to join the Iron Riders Club established last year, with the advent of the Haute Route Pyrenees that gave hardcore riders the chance to do both the Haute Route Alps and Pyrenees events one week apart. So far 20 riders have registered for the ‘double whammy’ this year and, all being well, their names will be added to the existing 34 names on the Iron Riders roster from 2013.
Each Haute Route event offers amateur cyclists the unique opportunity to ride like a pro in the highest and toughest cyclosportives in the world, as hundreds of riders tackle up to 800km of mountain terrain, climbing 20,000m+ across multiple mythical cols, in seven timed stages over seven days, across Europe’s most legendary mountain ranges – Dolomites, Swiss Alps, French Alps and Pyrenees. It is an exhilarating and unique experience that binds the riders together as they take on one of the toughest cyclosportives in existence: “The opportunity to ride with a superb bunch of people over some of the best cycling roads in the world was an experience I won’t forget,” said Baden Campbell who competed in the Haute Route Pyrenees last year.
As the Iron Riders completed the Haute Route Alps and Pyrenees events last year, there was already a buzz around the prospect of a third Haute Route event, and the tantalizing prospect of the ‘Triple Crown’… The Haute Route Dolomites Swiss Alps was confirmed in December, and to date ten cyclists have taken up the gauntlet of riding all three Haute Route events back to back, starting with the Dolomites Swiss Alps, then the Alps and finishing with the Pyrenees totaling over 2,500kms, 60,000+m of ascent, and nearly 60 mountain cols. London-based Richard Mergier, and 2013 Iron Rider, explains why he has chosen this punishing challenge: “Quite simply because it’s there and I wanted to do it in the first year it was possible. After doing both events last year, I could not miss the opportunity.”
On finishing, these riders will become the founding Triple Crown Riders .It is likely to be a small and elite club, as taking on this type of commitment is not for the faint hearted: “I finished the Haute Route Pyrenees in great shape and was really envious of the Iron Riders who did both events, so I have taken the plunge and signed up for the Triple Crown,” said Chris Fisher of Germany. “I am really looking to all three fabulous routes this year, right from the Passo di Giau on day 1 in the Dolomites with its tough 12-13% ramps in the opening kilometres, through all those hallmark climbs from the Giro and the Tour, and then ending with the rolling hills in the western Pyrenees. Most of all, however, I am looking forward to really pushing myself every day out on the road and enjoy the great camaraderie of all of the other riders from around the globe, with all of the organisational hassles being taken care of in a superbly well run series of events.”
Another Triple Crown Rider in 2014 will be Christian Haettich (France), already Finisher of all previous editions, whose challenge is made even more difficult by having the disability of only one arm and one leg.
If all the riders attempting to become either a Triple Crown Rider in 2014 (riding all three events in one year) or to complete the Triple Crown Challenge (by riding all of events over a number of seasons) are successful, the Triple Crown Club will consist of just 71 members.
The final entry phase for the 2014 Haute Route events is still open to riders and the organisation is expecting the number of Iron Riders and Triple Crown Riders to increase over the coming weeks. Places are very limited so riders should.