|Odds & Ends||
Following PBP 2003, Michel Richard stuck around in France and rode several other cycle-tourist events: Raid Pyrénéen, the Diagonale: Hendaye-Menton, and Randonnée Alpine. Events like these are naturally of interest to randonneurs and other distance cyclists, and I thought an information page might be helpful.
Most of this information is summarized or excerpted from the Lonely Planet guidebook: Cycling France... don't leave for France without it! It discusses everything from simple bike maintenance, to wine tours, to local history and geology. It also discusses a number of France's many challenging distance cycling events. (Click image for book details.) I don't look at all at Paris Brest Paris here - it is cover elsewhere: PBP
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These permanents fall into three categories: Flèches, Diagonales, and other free standing events not associated with the Flèches and Diagonales series. All require brevet cards with controls for verification. The rides are not on fixed dates (you can ride them anytime with the approval of the organizing bodies).
These brevets all start in Paris and go to 20 destinations around France, typically at its extremities. On a map, it's like a bunch of wiggly bicycle spokes all radiating from the hub, Paris. Dating back to 1954, these rides have become France's most popular permanents. The full series of 20 which adds up to about 11,000 km, will earn you a plaque ("plaquette") - image left (click it). About 650 of these have been awarded (2009). It's organized by our friends at Audax Club Parisien - the program director is Jean-Pierre PENDU. Here the list of Flèches destinations and distances: (Paris to )
Full info on Audax Club Parisien web site
Diagonales de France
[ 'Amicale des Diagonalistes de France' web site - click image ]
Picture France as a large hexagon with six cities at its vertices: Dunkerque, Strasbourg, Menton, Perpignan, Hendaye, and Brest. Now imagine lines connecting each city to the three cities not immediately adjacent. This is the Diagonale formula. The organizing body is the 'Amicale des Diagonalistes de France', Bordeaux.
The Lonely Planet guide is a little short on information on these rides. It does say "like the other permanent randonnées and raids, riders carry a number plaque on their bicycle and must stamp a route card at specified contrôles. People riding these randonnées are known as diagonalistes; it is a great honour to complete all nine diagonals." Michel says that you can actually design your own route but that there are fixed time limits no matter what route you choose. The Lonely Planet guide lists these times as well as distances. Perhaps these are the distances of recommended routes or maybe the shortest routes.
Four Other Permanent Brevets:
"Slow Beginning for a Big Ride - Originally the dream of Cyclo Club Béarnais leading light, Maurice Bugard, in 1912, a definitive route for Raid Pyrénéen and a successful attempt on it had to wait until 1950. In June that year Paul Mathis left Cerbère with companion Mademoiselle Betbeder, to ride to Hendaye and establish a maximum time to challenge other randonneurs. That time was set at 100 hours for a 710 km route over 18 passes. Later, a version touriste more suitable for unsupported riders, was developed." Lonely Planet: Cycling France, page 412
This tourist version of the raid summits 28 passes (i.e. 10 more than the randonneur version, including the Col du Tourmalet [2115 m], and is a little longer [827 km]). It must be ridden over ten consecutive days. Both the touriste and randonneur versions of the ride can be ridden in either direction. After PBP, Raid Pyrénéen is the most popular and prestigious cycle-touring event in France. It is organized by Cyclo Club Béarnais, Pau.
Story: Andrew Powers: Raid
"Siblings of the Raid Pyrénéen, these permanent randonnées exist in four variants: two with routes from Antibes on the Côte d'Azur via the French Alps to Thonon les Bains on Lac Léman (Lake Geneva); the others begin either in Venice or Trieste, traversing Italy and Switzerland to reach Thonon Like the Raid Pyrénéen, the routes cross many passes which feature regularly in the Tour de France
The Alpine route features a loop from Briançon into Italy across the infamous Col de Sestriere (2035 m), returning to France via Susa. The highlight of the route is the crossing of the stark Col de la Bonette (2715 m) on the highest tarmac road in Europe, which reaches 2802 m 2 km off-route at the Cime de la Bonette. Other well known Tour cols en route include Col de l'Iseran (2762 m), Col du Galibier (2645 m), Col d'Izoard (2361 m, and the location of a monument [photo linked below] to Tour greats Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet), Col de la Cayolle (2327 m) and Col de Vars (2111 m).
Veterans rate the Randonnée Préalpine through the foothills of the Alps the tougher route - it follows roads which rise and fall all the time and are not always as easily graded as on the major cols. It takes a lower and generally more westerly course than the Alpine but still rises over 2000 m within the first 170 km at the Col des Champs (2093 m). The highest pass is Col d'Allos (2244 m) at the 202 km mark.
The organizer recommends no-one undertake these randonnées without utmost care in physical preparation and equipment and gearing selection." LP: Cycling France, pages 520-1
Randonnée Alpine 740 km, 43 cols (18,187 m) Randonnée Préalpine 894 km, 48 cols (17,962 m)
Organized by Cyclos Randonneurs Thononais,
Randonnées Des Cols Corses
"This ride, aimed at only the keenest cycle-mountaineers, visits virtually every pass on Corsica's roads. It starts and finishes at Bastia, the island's largest town, near the northern tip. It traverses busy towns, wild countryside and varied, geologically fascinating terrain, it connects most of the island's extremities - Cap Corse in the north, Bonifacio in the south, Cargèse in the west. Its highest pass is the Col de Bavella (1218 m), in the south-eastern quarter." LP: Cycling France, pages 521-2.
Organized by Cyclos Randonneurs Thononais, in Thonon-les-Bains.
Brevet Des Sept Cols Ubayens
"This ride takes you over seven major cols in a series of loop rides from Barcelonnette, near the Italian border, to some of the highest passes in the Alps Cyclists keen enough to conquer all seven can earn a medal Special card punches have been installed at the top of the passes [photo in box, below] to enable cyclists to validate their route cards. Unfortunately vandalism and wear and tear may mean they don't all work properly all the time." LP: Cycling France, page 522.
Distance: 207 km
Contact: Maison de la Vallée de l'Ubaye, Barcelonnette
There is a lengthy discussion of Paris Brest Paris in the Lonely Planet guide (pages 115-8), as well as briefer treatment of the four events listed below (pages 518-9).
"Since 1974, masochists have had the opportunity to test their endurance and skills on a 'tourist' version of the grueling professional Paris-Roubaix classic Only about 56 km of the ride is on genuine pave The route is well marked and all cobbled sections are closed to motor vehicles. Food is available at contrôle points en route All rides have a time limit." LP: Cycling France, pages 518-9.
April: Mt. bike version (120 km - starts in Raismes) June: 4 distance options: 50 km starts from Attiches 75 km starts from Beuvry 120 km starts from Raismes 275 km starts at Cambronne-lès-Ribecourt, near Compiègne
Organized by Vélo Club de Roubaix Cyclotourisme
(web site -> click image)
"A gruelling kick-start to summer for about 4000 cyclist who, in a day, ride 174 km with 5000 m of climbing including the infamous crawl up the Alpe d'Huez." Start: Le Bourg d'Oisans.
Alternate Profiles - Recommended! (on the Ed Peters site)
La Marmotte "is one of three classic rides making up the Trophée de l'Oisans based in Le Bourg d'Oisans at the base of l'Alpe d'Huez, about 45 km south-east of Grenoble." The other two:
Grimpe de l'Alpe - 13 km mass start ride
up Alpe d'Huez
"Both events usually held within a week of La Marmotte. Riders receive a classification for each individual event in the Trophée de l'Oisans, and the times for the three events is compiled to give an overall classification." There is no mention of time limits. LP: Cycling France, pages 519.
Organized by 'Sport Communication'. [???]
Film: Reportage J. Laurent - La
Marmotte 1984 (3:56) [short version (YouTube
La Marmotte is also a restaurant in Telluride, Colorado - really
Brevet de Randonneur des Alpes ('BRA')
"Extremely difficult based in Grenoble thousands of cyclists began in 1960 three route options " LP: Cycling France, pages 519.
252 km - 4650 m elevation gain 260 km - 4950 m " 300 km - 5400 m "
Story/Photos: (author not indicated) Riding BRA in Grenoble (2001)
Memorial Fabio Casartelli
In 1995 Fabio Casartelli fatally crashed on the decent from the Col de Portet d'Aspet, on a Pyrenean mountain stage of the Tour de France. The memorial ride, begun in 1997 is centred around St Girons, the starting point of the Casartelli's fatal stage. "Money raised from the event supports a fund established by the Casartelli family to aid professional cyclists injured in falls." It is a two day event with routes starting and finishing in St Girons within a time limit:
"Day 1 offers a choice of a 'small'
102 circuit or a 130 km (approximately) route visiting Col de
la Core (1395 m), Col de Latrape (1110 m) and Col d' Agnes (1570
Organized "with the support of the town of St. Girons."
Eric Fergusson, January 2004
Trento Bike Pages, France
Les Randonnees Permanentes (FFCT)
BIG: Brevet International du Cyclogrimpeur or here?
Brevet Randonneur des Pyrénées Centrales
Club des Cent Cols
Bienvenue sur le site du Mont Ventoux
Confrérie des Fêlés du Granc Colombier
Cyclo-climbing links page
XXAlps Extreme (results 2005 - UMCA)
Jean-Marc LEFEVRE photos
Story: Adrian Spencer: Two Lumpy "Holidays" en France
(1998) [gone: was here
- cached here]
Story: Robert Enestedt & Mikael Przysuski: Raid Pyreneen 2002
Photos: uncredited: 2002 Raid Pyrénéan
Story: Julie Robinson - Raid Alpine 2003 (Thonon-Antibes) [gone: was here]
Story: Graeme Fife - A Raid Pyerneen Diary (2005)
Story: Stephen McNally - RAID Pyrenean 2006
Film: wormauld - raid pyreneen (2007?)(YouTube 7:28)
Story: Francis Cooke - Raid Alpine: Thonon-Trieste 1995 [discontinued?]
Marmotte photos: Fons Rademakers - Photos 2001
Story: Mikael Przysuski - La Marmotte 2004
Films, Photos - Mike? - The Trilogy - VOL.3 La Marmotte (2007?) elsewhere?
Photos/story: jeanpba - Riding
BRA in Grenoble (2001)
Info site: Le 44ème Brevet de Randonneur des Alpes - BRA 2007
Article: Jean-Paul Cazes - Mémorial Fabio Casartelli ~ 11ème édition (2007)