Cycling to the Alps by numbers

One week ago today I rolled down the drive to my sisters house in Chamonix, France after cycling from my own house in Pontypridd,  South Wales. It was an amazing adventure, and to help ease myself back into everyday life I thought I’d do a blog post by numbers to keep the adventure alive. So here are some interesting numerical facts about the journey…..

Total number of days: From my Welsh Valleys doorstep to my sisters Chamonix Mont Blanc doorstep it took me 10.5 days of riding.

Age of my bike: I bought my Alpinestars mountaine bike in 1993 so that’s 23 years of ownership. It was made in 1991 so is a mere 25 years old.

Number of gears: My bike has 21 gears and I used every single one of them, especially 1st gear for those mega hills.

Longest mileage day: On day 3 from Southampton to Newhaven I rode 83 miles. This is the longest I’ve ever ridden in one day, ever, and my legs most definitely knew it.

Shortest mileage day: This was actually my last day from Bonneville to Chamonix with a distance of only 37 miles. But, this was also my second biggest climbing day.

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Miles per day: From day one to day eleven it went a bit like this…78, 75, 83, 62, 70, 74, 74, 70, 74, 70, 37.

Number of punctures: I think I was pretty lucky with this as I only had two on the whole journey. One was on day 7 at the top of a big hill and the other was at the end of day 10 as I finished up in Bonneville.

Furthest I’d ridden before this adventure: Before setting off on this trip, 55 miles was the longest I’d ever done in one day. My training rides peaked at about 45 miles and included some back to back long distances on consecutive days, but I knew this adventure would challenge me with distance from day one. The furthest I’d ridden in one trip was the Coast to Coast route from Whitehaven to Sunderland at 155 miles over 20 years ago (on the same bike).

Number of times I fell off: In total I keeled over 4 times, and each time was pretty embarrassing. I’ve got clip in shoes / pedals for a bit of extra power but if you lose concentration at low speed it’s easy to forget you’re clipped in and keel over. Well that’s my excuse. My first time was on Brighton sea front at traffic lights, then twice in Paris in the rain, then once in front of Amy as we left Sombernon after a pit stop. Luckily, only my pride was dented on each occasion.

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Number of calories consumed per day: I managed to use my Strava app a couple of times to record some ride data, which also recorded calories burned. On Day 1 I burned 4000+ calories riding 78 miles and day 11, my final day I burned 2700+ calories riding 37 miles. This has given me the excuse to eat LOADS, a habit I now need to break.

Total mileage: From Pontypridd to Chamonix my total mileage was 767 miles. Phew. I can’t quite believe it. I feel mentally shattered. My legs still work but if I go to do anything strenuous they complain…

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Up, up, up and more up

Least elevation in one day: There were some pretty big hills on this ride but the least amount of climbing I did was on day 4 where I climbed the grand total of 187 feet / 57 metres. This was on my ride from Dieppe to Gisors – nice and flat and quite a bit was traffic free so an easy day!

Most elevation in one day: The awards for the biggest climbing days goes to….

3rd place = Day 11 (final day) from Bonneville to Chamonix: 3418 feet / 1042 metres

2nd place = Day 9 from St Jean de Losne to St Claude: 4738 feet / 1444 metres

1st place = Day 10 from St Claude to Bonneville: 6005 feet / 1830 metres

Total climbing in metres and feet: Okay so I knew I’d have to take on a few hills and the odd mountain to get to where I wanted to go, but I didn’t realise just how much this would all add up to. In total I cycled uphill 28,628 feet or 8726 metres. To put this in perspective, the summit of Everest is 29,030 feet or 8848 metres. Not bad for an old Alpinestars and ageing woman with dodgy knees.

Everest – almost cycled its height
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