Sunday, September 07, 2014

Day 7 - 2014 Haute Route Pyrenees - to the Atlantic Ocean!

Day 7 - St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Anget Basque Coast
115 km / 1800 m+ / 1900 m-

The latest race start at 8:30 am was appreciated with the extra hour of sleep. Super quiet area for accom again. Rode the 1 km to the race start with Vanessa.

Warmest start with leaving the jacket and arm warmers behind. Humid and could feel the ocean air already.

I received a lot of cheers and recognition from riders with the previous days’ efforts. I think all the athletes doing this event are amazing!
Departing the medieval town of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port
 - photo Manu Molle
We had a short neutral start then a fast paced low grade climb. I clung in between my strong group from the prior day and the next group behind. I was happy to have space in between as the descent with the huge peloton took concentration.

The course had 3 climbs relatively 400m climbing each at around 5% grade over 7 km. Quite mild compared to the last 6 days!

The riders spread out during the 1st climb. I worked with a couple riders as we dodged back and forth. We crested the top quickly.

photo Manu molle
In the distance, I could see the cloud level we were going to descend below. I kept two riders in sight until I lost them being more cautious hitting the fog level. Eventually, a solid group of 18 riders gathered.

After the 2nd climb, the group dwindled to 9 riders. We stayed together for a rolling section and a couple of short climbs. I was lucky to have Erikkos from Switzerland in my group again. He was solid to follow on the descent.

We rolled through the countryside of Spain and France picking up some intrigued local cyclists. They worked with us on the rolling hills.

My fav descender in no-sleeves jersey (yellow shoes) who gave me cheers while I was leading the climb - photo Haute Route
Starting the last ascent, I went a hard though comfortable pace. A few riders were on my wheel. I faded a little with 3 km to go. Then came a strong cheer from behind me “Marg, you’re doing fantastic”! That helped energize me to the top.

At the finish, the cheer had been from Erikkos who thanked me for pacing him up the climb! Very cool that we helped each other at different times in the race.

Lots of hugs and kisses were exchanged at the top finish. I joined Amy with the 15 km neutral ride down to the beach resort village of St-Jean-du-Luc. There was time to check out the village and beach while waiting for all the riders to congregate.

Team For Adventure - Paul Hamblett (UK) Triple, Steven Richard (CH), Cyril TinĂ© (FR), Marg Fedyna (CA), Nuno Luz (PT) Triple, Sergio Costa (PT) Triple - photo Manu Molle
Comforting to put my bike and gear in the secure corral while I tour the village

After receiving my finisher medal and shirt, I walked down the main street crowded with tourists. Straight to the beach and into the Atlantic Ocean!
Heading into the Atlantic!
Managed to purchase a disposable camera at a local photo store, happy that cheap print film still exists.
My second dip in the Atlantic!
The toughest part of the day was the last 25 km convoy to Biarritz at a neutral 20 kph (including downhills) in the warm humid air. We had hung around St-Jean-De-Luz for a couple hours already.
An honour to lead the peloton into the finish - Marg Fedyna & Andrea Nicosia from Italy - photo Fabrice Calatayud
Arriving to Anglet Day 7 - photo Fabrice Calatayud

The Triple Crown Challenge Finishers!! - photo Manu Molle
Nine Triple Crown challenge riders finished all three events! As well as the Lanterne Rouge Fergus Grant. Pretty good stats and stories.

Amy in 2nd place after ascending 60,000m!!

A few comments and observations from the Triple Crown Challenge riders:

Amy – At first concerned about not finishing at the beginning of the first event; gained confidence realizing she was a strong rider in the women's field each event. 

Amy mentioned she had not one flat, mechanical, or major issue throughout the 3 events.

Paul Hamblett – Excitedly said he would definitely do it again saying “How can one go back (to just one event)!”

Nuno Luz – Gave the funny comment to “bring the ship to port” in the first day of the 3rd event. He's a tough endurance guy who may change his mind later. Maybe Chris Fisher as well.

Paul Donnelly – Gosh, I spoke with Paul quite abit on the final convoy into Anglet. Yet, we chatted mostly about current affairs and life. Strong athlete who could easily take on another Triple.

Nicolas Raybaud - Prior to the Pyrenees event, I asked him if he would do the Triple again. He, too, excitedly knew he would like to race next year's Triple. Nicolas unfortunately hurt his collarbone on a sketchy corner descending Tourmalet Day 4 and could not complete the full Triple.

Of note... Paul Hamblett, Nicolas Raybaud were consistently in the top 10 men's GC in the first two events, and Sergio Costa joined them in the top 10 men's field at the Pyrenees. Paul finished 2nd in GC in the Pyrenees event by 54 seconds!

Will Levy - Always cheery, will likely join in future Triple events getting to ride alongside his Tour clients from Two Wheel Tours out of Australia.

Christian has a sticker from each Haute Route race on his #plate
Christian Haettich - Has completed all Haute Route events since they started. Will no doubt continue in the future. The extra challenge of racing with one leg and one arm is perseverance at its finest!

Briefly met Jean-Paul Schaeffer from France when Vanessa introduced me to him, as they were riding close to each other each day.

Lanterne Rouge, Fergus Grant – Is awesome at his job to encourage riders at the back and will hopefully continue on.

Congratulations to all that took on the Triple Crown challenge. Stuff happens and getting through it best as possible makes for learning and a stronger next attempt.

Personally, it is enticing for me to want to take on all three events. The highlight is living in the bubble world of cycling for 3 weeks. If only there was more rest in between each event... I'd consider it. Mostly need more sleep, rest & recovery time.

Lasting Impressions

Concluding feelings was this Pyrenees race had a real nice atmosphere about it. There was opportunity to meet most every rider at some point or another, and volunteer or staff. The groups of riders I got to ride with were great!

Big thanks to OC Sport for fantastic organization to get everyone through point-to-point. The opportunity for massages and osteopath treatments was welcome for recovery. Mavic provided awesome service on the spot. Great support from the transport team to get our luggage to the hotels and our backpacks to the finish line each day. The volunteers manning the race feedzones were quick to get us on our way. Kudos to Manu Molle for his incredible photographs.

I know I'm on a different path for food and nutrition than most with the raw food lifestyle, though I really wish for green salads and more raw veggies in the lunch provided. I did manage to get to the market most days to purchase my own super yummy raw veggies.

The same rotini noodle each day was not too appealing for pasta choice! I will put in the post-race survey a request for gluten-free grains like quinoa and brown rice. There was a selection of fruit this year, though unfortunate they were rock hard and needed a few days to ripen!

I thought it was funny hearing Amy talk about the six-pack she had developed after a couple events. I admit, riding even one Haute Route event with 20,000m elevation gain is the best get-fit and toned-quick program!

All in all, the best part of the event is hanging out with a super group of people in a cycling bubble world! Check it out at

All Haute Route POSTS 


Ruud van Dijk said...

Well done, Marg!

Marg Fedyna said...

Thanks Ruud! You're my biggest fan. Had a lot of fun. Even with the smaller numbers, most times there was someone to ride with... except for some of the wicked descents.