Coffee Stop

Wattbike blog: Alpine Challenge Day 1

Monday 12 September 2011

Words by Matt Moran, Wattbike

So we’ve been in the Alps in Annecy for 2 days, within 30 mins of arriving we’d been coerced into a ride with Sven, the organiser of the Alpine Challenge. He took us around Lake Annecy which has to be one of the most stunning rides I’ve ever done. A great loop on a traffic-free cycle path for half of the ride and a great fast road back into Annecy (except for the c. 300m hill which Sven forgot to mention - in typical fashion enthusiasm got the better of me and my legs went bang after 150m).

Throughout the day the guest have been arriving ready for the official start tomorrow, meanwhile myself and Steve went on a ‘leisurely’ ride again with Sven and a guy named Stephen Roche…you might just have heard of him. We recce’d the opening climb tomorrow, which is essentially an 11km mountain time-trial. I managed to stay with Stephen and Sven to the summit although I suspect Stephen was working at around 15% of his maximum…I also got dropped on the descent. Pretty cool to see the technique these guys have on the descents.

Pre-morning rideSven and Stephen Roche

Mark, Steve, Sven and Stephen Roche at the summit of the Col des LeschauxSven, Stephen, Steve and Mark around Lake Annecy

The afternoon featured another leisure ride for all of the guests arriving mid-morning, around 40-50 of us set off on a trip around Lake Annecy, a great way to get to know the people we’ll be spending the next 4 days with. Decked out in full Wattbike kit made for an interesting ride as rider after rider rode up to my side to ask questions about the Wattbike, tell me they’d once done a peak power test att the various events we attend and asking when they could jump on one here in Annecy to take a look at their pedalling technique.

We’ve now set up Wattbike’s for guests to try out and it was interesting to see that we didn’t even have time to set up the big screen before people were clamouring to jump on. Some great conversations about power, training and technique made for a good evening. Prior to the evening meal the organisers announced that the winner of the Wattbike Challenge would win a weeks holiday in a villa with prizes for both best male and female. If only we could enter!

So, it all starts tomorrow, Stage 1, a mountain time trial up the Col des Leschaux, followed by Stage 2 including a climb up Col du Plainpalais, phew!

Last thing for now from the Alps, all riders (including myself and Steve) received a fantastic goody bag containing sunglasses, voucher to spend at Chain Reaction Cycles, mini-pump, mini-tool, rain jacket, enough Science in Sport product to power me around most of Europe!

Alpine Challenge Goody Bag