The Grand Tours are the crucibles in which cycling legends are forged. In the heat of competition, pressured by three straight weeks of racing against weather and mountains, inner demons and long odds, champions emerge, but Grand Tours are really won by teams... no one in the modern era rides 3,500 kms without support. The Giro, the Vuelta and the Tour de France have always been the ultimate tests for professionals, leaving the rest of us to watch in awe, perhaps ride an étape, even sample a week in the mountains, but an entire tour is beyond us... or it was until now. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and read on...
RIDE A GRAND TOUR WITH US
Rêve, French for dream, will change that. In the past three years two groups of amateur cyclists have challenged themselves to ride an entire Tour de France and succeeded with our organization. In 2008 we organized the Tour for Jan Janssen, retracing the complete route of Jan’s 1968 Tour victory. In 2010, fifteen Dutch cyclists rode the Tour for Kika, a children's cancer charity based in the Netherlands.
Two things were different about this second Tour. First, we rode a day ahead of the actual race, and second we partnered with VeloDramatic Photography to document the challenge all the way from Rotterdam to Paris. The team's desire to ride so close to the Tour itself presented logistic challenges for hotels and transfers, but they insisted, we persevered, and ultimately came to the conclusion that this timing was key to an extraordinary experience for the team.
And so it is we're launching Rêve (pronounced rev) with a mission to help you realize the ultimate Grand Tour dream.
In 2013 we'll support a team of 15-25 riders accepting the epic challenge of a complete Tour de France. A day before the professional teams take the start, we'll begin our own Tour. We hope you’ll be riding with us.
As we discovered, there’s something remarkable about riding the route while the Tour itself is underway. All of France is focused on the race, host cities for the starts and finishes are making final preparations and every village is decorated to celebrate the passage of the peloton. On many stages we rode under the flamme rouge and finished inside the barriers adding to the feeling we were part of the building excitement.
French drivers seemed to be particularly aware and tolerant of our team during the Tour. This will come as good news to those of you in North America who often get a hostile reception from motorists.
There is however one drawback to consider. You’ll be totally focused on your own riding, so don’t expect to have much time for what the pros are doing beyond a quick nightly update. We’ll have a couple of chances to watch the race live on our rest days, and of course, we’ll arrive in Paris a day before the pros, so you can watch the race unfold on the Champs Élysées if you've recovered from our own celebrations.
That's just the beginning for Rêve. In 2014 we plan to support similar Tours on the Giro and Vuelta routes.
- 23 nights accommodation
- All transfers, bike and luggage transport during tour
- All meals (B/L/D), snacks, energy and recovery drinks, supplements. Welcome and Celebration Dinners
- Team Kit: Team Helmet, 2 team jerseys, 2 pr team socks
- Start to Finish photographic coverage
- Commemorative Books - two volume hardcover set (approx 200 total pages) documenting team's journey
- Team Mechanic
HARD CHOICES — TAKING ON A MONUMENTAL CHALLENGE
Can you do this? We don’t have to tell any serious cyclist this won’t be easy. You’re going to string 18 century+ rides and two time trials back to back. If you can ride 100-120 miles, handle 3,000 to 4,000 metres of climbing, and feel good the next day, you’ve got potential to do this with the right training.
Last summer the Kika boys, aged 25-35, were often joined by a Belgian chap of 70 who was riding the complete route solo, and he managed it. To be clear, age is not a determining factor, our 2008 Tour for Jan Janssen was completed by a group of riders with an average age over 50. It's also not an exclusively male tour; women with the legs for it are welcome to join the team.
Transfers are another reality that even the pros complain about. Some days our hotel will be an hour’s drive from the start and we need to be at the start and riding by 7:30 am. In the evening we may have another hour to our next hotel.
You want the real Tour experience, well this is it. There is one piece of good news about transfers, after a tough first two weeks, the final week has only one large transfer from Grenoble to Créteil.
Expect to complete your ride by 5 or 6 pm to keep us on schedule. Anyone can have a bad day, and it’s almost guaranteed to happen to everyone once. We’ll do our best to support you but at some point Ride Director, Wilfred de Kruijf will make the call if you’re way off the back and need to be swept up to fight another day. We'll do everything to avoid making that call but be aware it can happen.
We’ll have plenty of training advice for you, but here’s the executive summary. The boys who rode the Tour in 2010 came well prepared. They put the miles in over the Winter and rode a sportif every weekend through the Spring building up their mileage to handle 220-250 km days. They even managed a 3-day camp in the Alps. In other words, they did everything they could to be ready.
So your mind and legs are made up. What's next?
The cost of the trip is 7,975 euros (approx $10,650) per rider, a healthy sum to be sure, but we're confident you'll come away with a once-in-a-lifetime experience that makes this a worthwhile investment; the dent in your bank balance offset by incomparable memories and friendships. And you'll have the pictures to prove it.
Chances are this isn't a decision you can make alone. Pay close attention to our 5 step process graphic, and step two in particular. You need 25 days off work including travel. If you've cleared the financial hurdle, there's probably someone else in your life who will be impacted by you disappearing to France for three weeks.
Assuming you'd like to keep that person in your life, you'd better develop a positive step 2 before you jump to step 4. Based on our own experience, inviting your spouse to meet you in Paris for 5 or 6 days can do wonders for the relationship deficit you'll be in. It's a great way to unwind after all the miles you've put in, and frankly you'll be feeling like work can wait.
If you've arrived safely at step 4, we'll need a deposit of 2,000 euros for your place on the tour. Consult our booking and faq pages for a detailed schedule of payment and refund information.
That coffee is either cold or finished by now, but resist the temptation to pour another cup... you're in training now ;-)