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  • Writer's pictureKevin

The Haute Route Utah Story

Updated: Nov 15, 2018

Some pictures and commentary from the Haute Route event I did in Utah, September 14-16.

We went to Utah a few days early to get settled and do a bit of riding before the event started. This gave us a taste of what was to come in the event.

Monday we unpacked and re-built our bikes after air travel.

By the time Tuesday had arrived we had agreed to do more than just easy rides before the event. We were in a great place to ride, so let’s do more than just the 3 days of the event. I was the one that took the most convincing with this, but it was absolutely the right call. None of the riding we did before the event had an adverse effect on our riding during the Haute Route.

Tuesday September 11

3 hours of riding, 1500m of climbing

One huge climb of 27 km (1hr and 55 min) and 1200m vertical. Average grade of 4.5%

Up to 3000m (9800 feet) of elevation

One huge descent of that climb (30 minutes, 52+ km/hr, max speed 80 km/hr)

I thought this was the climb for the final day of the Haute Route event (uphill time-trial), but it wasn’t. I had missed a turn. Fortunately, the descent would be part of our day 2 route, so it was good to preview that. Knowing the turns on a fast descent like this, even just seeing it once, is very helpful.

Dieter and Ian climbing

Tuesday route

Wednesday September 12

Preview of the uphill TT used for day 3 of the event

2 hours of riding, 1140m of climbing

One huge climb of 20 km (1 hr 22 min) and 1000m vertical. Average grade of 5%, up to 2800m of elevation

Twisty descent in 26 min (45 km/hr, max speed 71 km/hr)

Part way up the climb

Wednesday route

Thursday – rest day

Friday September 15 - Day 1 of Haute Route

Began with a 2-hour bus ride out to the start in Kodachrome basin park

183 km and 6.5 hours of riding with 2400m (7800 feet) of climbing.

2 major climbs for the day. First one not too bad a 3% average for about 15 km (38 min)

Second climb was bigger at 22 km and 1hr 18 min. Average grade of 4%. Up to 3,200m (10,400 feet). Each descent required me to put a vest on because at that elevation and with the wind it was quite cool.

Haute Route Day 1 Profile

Early in Day 1 (Photo courtesy of 7Sherpas)

View from the top

Descent into Parawan – 30 km @ 50km/hr average. Max speed 85 km/hr

Day 1 also included an 8 km stretch of gravel road, plus very strong winds to make the flat sections more difficult than they otherwise would have been.

The last 35 km into a strong headwind was very tough, even with me drafting Dugan for the entire time. I was completely wasted at the end of this. Couldn’t comprehend day 2 in the immediate aftermath of this day.

Haute Route Day 1 Route

Saturday September 15 - Day 2 of Haute Route

Starts with an easy rollout from the hotel in Cedar City. Easy group ride to the base of the big climb of the day, which is climbing up the descent that we did at the end of the previous day. We knew this was going to be a tough climb and it did not disappoint.

155 km and 6 hr 15 min of riding for the day, with 2580m (8460 feet) of climbing.

First big climb was 29 km (1hr 55 min of riding), ascending 1,400m and up to 3,200m (10,400 feet). Average grade of 5%. Arm warmers and vest on and descend 22 km in 27 min at an average speed of 50 km/hr with max speed of 77 km/hr.

Profile of Day 2

Switchback on the big climb (photo courtesy of 7Sherpas)

After this climb we got together in a group of 5-7 people and stayed together for the next 30 km, which was climbing at an average of 2%, gaining 640m.

Dugan driving the train with a little moto help (photo courtesy of 7Sherpas)

Mountain traffic (photo courtesy of 7Sherpas)

Next up was the descent back into Cedar City, which we had done prior to the event, so I was somewhat familiar. Our group broke apart, so we could each descend at our own level of comfort. 27 km of descending in 29 min, average of 55 km/hr, max of 77 km/hr.

A view on the descent back to Cedar City (photo courtesy of 7Sherpas)

Haute Route Day 2 Route

Sunday 16 - Day 3 of Haute Route (uphill time-trial)

One mile easy before starting a 14 km uphill TT. First 4 km of the climb at 2.5% and the remaining 8 km at 7 %. On the timed section we climbed 750m. I was climbing for 53 min. Then we climbed another 3.5 km casually and descended back into Cedar city to end the event. It was good to push it as hard as possible after the 2 previous hard days of riding with no concern for saving for another day.

On the climb (photo courtesy of 7Sherpas)

View of Cedar City from the climb

Weekly totals

20 hours of riding, 500 km and 8,600m (28,000 feet) of climbing

Overall it was a great event and I’m really pleased with how I was able to ride. I love to climb and descend. Thank you to coach Miranda for getting me so well prepared. The back-to-back long ride days really did payoff. Thank you also to WattsUp Cycling for the use of the altitude machine. That also really paid off!

The long-term objective of training for this event was to do a block of bike focused training and become a stronger cyclist (in triathlon) and I feel that has been accomplished. I’ll have to see how that translates for the 2019 triathlon season.

Thanks for reading.

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