In March 1944, 450 members of the French Resistance found themselves dug in, on the remote Plateau de Glieres, high in the French Alps. As enemy troops closed in they were sustained only by intermittent aid drops from the RAF. The embattled freedom fighters were united in a desire to free the French nation from the tyranny of the enemy - "vivre libre ou mourir". The bravery and self sacrifice of their last stand was to offer enduring inspiration to the French people.
Sixty years on, La Resistance is a one day cycle challenge that pays tribute to those brave men, taking in a punishing 130km route of tarmac and mountain gravel across some of the highest passes in the Haute Savoie, including a return to infamous Plateau de Glieres and the iconic memorial that now stands there.
The first running of La Resistance will be in September 2016...
Both the full La Resistance route and the shorter La Petite (90km) route start from the beach in the pretty village of Talloires on the shores of Lake Annecy. After 20km of flat riding on cycle paths and the occassional stretch of gravel road, we reach the foot of the first climb - the rarely climbed and beautiful Col d'Arpettaz. It's certainly a challenge at 16km in length but the relatively benign average gradient of 5.5% should allow some time to warm up. Once the summit is reached, there is a small section of flat tarmac before the rough stuff begins - the 16km Route de la Soif (Route of the Thirsty!). The road offers amazing views over to Mont Blanc and is almost completely traffic free. You'll need your wits about you and a little bit of courage to tackle the loose gravel and embedded rocks.
After you've tamed the gravel you'll enjoy a long descent down the Col d'Aravis, through La Clusaz, before the next ascent, the Col de Glieres after 72km. This has got to be one of the steepest sustained climbs in the Alps at 6km with an average gradient of 12%. Eventually the gradient relents and the Plateau is reached. Another 2km gravel section leads us to the Resistance Memorial. A rapid descent from the Plateau follows with a brief pause to reflect at the Necropole (cemetary) in the valley where many of the Resistance fighters are buried. With the main challenges complete, the final 35km remains back to the finish. Don't be complacent though, it's by no means flat with a couple of short, sharp hills and longer drags to contend with.
When you return to the beach in Talloires, it will be time to celebrate your achievement at our quirky "La Guinguette" after party. We'll be cheering home all finishers as well as laying on live music, dancing, local beers and wine and tasty food to refuel. It's the perfect place for friends and family to come and celebrate with you late into the night. Price of entry to La Guinguette is included in your entry fee.
Find out more at www.laresistance.cc