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Journal > The Secret Handshake ride

The Secret Handshake ride

August 9th, 2015 - Colin O'Brien

It began with 102 kilometres from Cluses to Areches, to shake out the legs. The arduous Col de la Colombière – so often the scene of drama in the Tour de France – was one of just four mountains that combined for 3,236m of climbing, all under a baking sun. And this was supposed to be the easy day. The warm up.

To cool down, there was only one thing for it. Behind the hotel, over a fence and down a small slope, ran a river. Ice cold meltwater, flowing right from on top of the Col. For a bunch of slow-broiled cyclists with salt-caked kit and swollen legs, it couldn’t have been more welcoming had it been gushing straight from heaven. Even the soigneur – guardian of the legs, high priest of recovery – approved. The pros have proper ice baths prepared for them to fight against delayed onset muscle soreness and inflammation, but for a bunch of friends on a stupidly difficult ride across France, a frigid stream was as good as it was going to get.




It bears repeating: this was the easy day. But then, that’s what happens when you let your crazy friends be in charge for a while. Because, ladies and gents, this is Jered Gruber’s idea of fun. This is his Dream Ride across the snow-capped Alps to Nice and the sun-drenched beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. We’re just along for the ride.

Most of you will know Jered, the photographer. What you might not know is that there’s another side to him: Jered, the cartographer. He has an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of Europe’s great roads, and he’s constantly searching for the lesser-known, hidden gems that weave their way through the Alps and the Dolomites.

This six-day Randonnée from the Rhône-Alpes to Nice and the Côte d’Azur is a leg-destroying, spirit-lifting combination of his favourite ascents. The invitation-only ride covers almost 830km and ascends more than 25,000m, climbing some of the sport’s most iconic roads. The Col d’Iseran, Galibier, Izoard, Sampeyre and la Bonnette are just a few of the peaks along the way, but if the opening stages are any indication, we expect the lesser known summits like the Cormet de Roselend to be the real stars.

Watch this space for more, and be sure to keep an eye on our Instagram for some incredible photos from Jered.




Colin O'Brien