Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Cyclosportives and randonnees, our top 10!

Since riding a couple of Thursday randonnees (see blog 21st March), I have turned my mind to some of the other local randonnees and cyclosportives taking place this summer.

Mont Aiguille (see randonnee #3)
There is an overwhelming choice but we have made a list of 10 of our favourites taking place this year.

These are not necessarily the biggest, toughest or best known events hence don't include 'The Marmotte' or other similar 'epics'. We have chosen 10 rides that we think showcase the area and the wonderful riding we have on offer here. Come on over and ride one!

In chronological order:

1. Randonnee du Balcon de Belledonne - Saturday 10th May - 40, 80, 85 and 110kms. This is a stunning ride that takes you through some amazing countryside, gradually climbing and traversing small roads, villages and hamlets above Grenoble visit website 

2.Challenge Vercors (and Vercors pour Elle) - Sunday 25th May - 42, 121 and 171kms. Very different mountain scenery to us locally here but some equally challenging climbs, the 'Gorges de la Bourne' are an amazing, natural highlight of the circuit visit website

3. Randonnee du Mont Aiguille - Saturday 7th June - 77, 100 and 140kms A friendly and small randonnee taking in some very quiet country roads that keep you in view of the beautiful Mont Aiguille (pictured above) visit website

4.Vercors Trieves Matheysine - Saturday 14th June - 60, 100, 130 and 150km. Three stunning areas of riding all rolled into one lovely randonnee using small, country roads with well-stocked, friendly feed stations.

5. Randonnee de l'Obiou - Saturday 21st June - 40, 74, 114 and 145kms. Lovely route choices in a very beautiful setting, more rolling and gentle than some of the other rides in the area, all within sight of the dramatic 'L'Obiou' mountain. visit website

6. Brevet des Randonneurs de l'Oisans - Sunday 22nd June - 83, 110 and 122kms. Not one for the feint hearted; the 122km is just shy of 3,000 metres of climbing and takes in the Col du Sarenne, Alpe d'Huez and includes an out and back to one of our highlights, La Berarde - visit website

7. Randonnee Dubois Jacob - Saturday 28th June - 80, 117, 140km. If I'm honest, I can't remember much about the route here, though I can only imagine it's pretty nice given the area it covers. My main reason for listing this as one of my top 10 is because it it possibly one of the most friendly events I've ever ridden. The cycle club who host this are the most jovial bunch you could hope to be manning the feed stations and treat us as returning heroes whenever we ride, we always seem to win something on the post-ride tombola too! visit website
8.Meylan Chartreuse - Saturday 13th September - 52, 60, 76 and 100 kms - The Chartreuse is an amazing place to ride with some pretty tough climbs but plenty of stunning scenery to take your mind off of the grind! I like this event because it falls later in the season too and participants have the roads virtually to themselves - visit website

9. DrĂ´moise - Sunday 28th September - 36, 70, 116 and 143kms - Another late season ride so most participants are pretty fit by this time of year. A little drive from the King of the Mountains accommodation, but worth it for the scenery, climbs and welcomes in the various villages you pass through. Last time I rode, one particular village had all turned out in fancy dress and set up their own feed station boasting lots of home made produce and cakes - priceless! -  visit website
10. Alpe d'Huez time trials -not strictly in the category of rando' or sportive, but these mass-start time trials take place every Wednesday morning from 2nd July to 27th August. It's all a bit of fun with a lead-out car (booming out 'Europop' from giant speakers!) and a fun neutralised section from the centre of town to the foot of the Alpe.

The beauty of the randonnees over a sportive is that you do not have to pre-register but can sign up on the day, also, medical certificates are not needed to participate in randonnees, however, for the events number 2 and 9, which are cyclosportives, you will need a medical certificate or racing licence to take part and it's usually prudent to sign up in advance.