Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Allez-y! A few days in the Alps

on the road....
The first stop on our European trip this summer was meant to be in Aigle, Switzerland for Luke to attend a bike launch. However, following some map investigation, Luke remembered that his Aussie mates Joe & Amelia had opened up a training camp called Tri 4 the Alps  just over the French border in Morzine and we decided to tack on a few days to the trip. We thought it would help up get settled a bit earlier in Europe (with the big time change) and be a good opportunity for both of us to put in a bit of training. Auntie Jacque was along for the ride as the best nanny in the world, so the four of us set off from California to Europe with more luggage than you can possibly imagine (3 adult suitcases, jogging stroller, car seat, 2 bicycles, travel crib....)
ready or not....
Speaking of bicycles.... The European trip marks the first adventure for my new Cannondale Women's EVO... If your'e going to ride the Alps, no better way to do it.
2014 SRAM Red Cannondale Evo w/ a compact Quarq powermter, ISM Attack saddle, Zipp 404 Carbon clinchers (insert Emoji with googly heart eyes here) 
The 5 days we spent in Morzine were unreal and this was my first real all-inclusive training camp experience. I wasn't going to write this as a Tri 4 the Alps, "review" and rather just chronicle my experience, but it's one of those places I wish I had known about before, so I'll give you a bit of a rundown on the experience. Joe & Amelia (the Aussie ex-pat hosts) take care of literally EVERYTHING and all you really need to do is show up. We stayed at their Brown Bear Lodge, where all the campers/ holiday go-ers reside and take their meals.
Brown Bear Lodge 
Most of folks there during our stay were participating in the "triathlon holidays", but there were also a couple doing pure cycling holidays or "Activity holidays" (white water rafting, mountain biking, zip lining, etc...) Luke and I did a bit of our own thing, but also joined in for a couple of cycling outings with the group. No matter your choice of adventure, it is all organized for you from cycling routes and SAG support to transfers to activities to pool passes, etc. When you purchase a package through Tri 4 the Alps, you not only purchase lodging and structured/organized training every day (sample schedule here) , you also get two amazing meals (breakfast & dinner) that make the experience really unique (not to mention serve as great motivation to get some training done as the food is incredible and it's a little tough not to overeat). Hazel, the head chef, serves up something gourmet & hearty (yet healthy) every day and it's all accompanied by good french wine and champagne cocktails during happy hour. With coffee, tea, and snacks available throughout the day, you don't even really need to go out for lunch as you barely have time to digest before the next big meal is served. I was really surprised at the value of the packages they offer- very affordable compared to a lot of the tri camps you see in the states that are less inclusive but cost thousands.
a little sample of some of the "every day" food at Brown Bear Lodge
Morzine, France is a pretty incredible spot as far as triathlon training (and of course cycling-in-general) goes. You can climb Alps for days on your bike, but what make Morzine unique to many Alpine villages is the outdoor 50 meter pool (and an indoor 25m as well) smack in the center of town, and tons of running trails (some flat!!) that weave along the river and around Lac du Montriand. Darren Smith & his D-squad of mostly ITU athletes call Morzine home all summer and it was easy to see why. 

zee pool
nestled right under the Morzine ski gondola

Lac du Montriand has a flat running trail around it.  
Where's Waldo on the switchbacks of Col du Corbier (can you see me huffing and puffing while Luke does his nails and has a meal or two at the top?)
somehow we found the only week of the summer with rain, but that couldn't stop us. 
wet climb up Col de la Joux Plane
Amelia filling bottles before a café stop in Sixt Fer à Cheval
Goat village at Les Lindarets, a nice climb up from the town of Morzine

Luke's new mates at the goat village

All-in-all it was an amazing beginning to the trip... up next... Switzerland and Germany! A bientôt! 


Alison said...

Looks gorgeous - another place to add to the travel list!

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