Route – 2017

The 2 main aims of the 2017 Tour de Travoy were to first complete the Camino from Dublin to Santiago de Compostela and then cycle the Route des Grandes Alpes from Menton to Thonen les Bains. The complete trip was around 7,000 km with about 100,000 m of climbing.

(Part 1) Dublin – Santiago de Compostela


2017 Tour de Travoy (Part 1) Dublin – Roscoff – Santiago de Compostela. It was roughly 2200 km from Dublin to Santiago de Compostela. The Camino del Norte along the northern Spanish coast was very hilly and this section of the 2017 Tour de Travoy involved about 35,000 m of climbing.

(Part 1a) Dublin – Bilbao

May 9th – 11th 2017 (Days 01 – 03) Dublin to Roscoff (160 km) My Camino gets underway from St. James Church in Dublin

May 12th – 15th 2017 (Days 04 – 07) Roscoff to Nantes (350 km) Brittany is so green it’s as if I never left Ireland

May 16th – 19th 2017 (Days 08 – 11) Nantes to Royan (220 km) Vendee, vidi,vici

May 20th – 22nd 2017 (Days 12 – 14) Royan to St Jean de Luz (360 km) Getting closer to Spain through Aquitaine

May 23rd – 25th 2017 (Days 15 – 17) St Jean de Luz to Bilbao (200 km) The Basque Country basks and sparkles in the spring sunshine

(Part 1b) Bilbao – Santiago de Compostela

May 26th – 27th 2017 (Days 18 – 19) Bilbao + San Sebastian (0 km) Rest and recuperation and lots of sightseeing in the 2 biggest cities in the Basque Country

May 28th – 30th 2017 (Days 20 – 22) Bilbao to San Vicente – (220 km) Cantabria should be re-named Canfabria as this region of Spain is as good as anywhere I have ever been

May 31st – June 3rd 2017 (Days 23 – 26) San Vicente to Gijon (220 km) The Asturias has to be one of the best regions I have ever visited

June 4th – 6th 2017 (Days 27 – 29) Gijon to Ribadeo (250 km) Stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, the Asturias has it all

June 7th – 10th 2017 (Days 30 – 33) Ribadeo to Santiago (200 km) At times in Galicia, it felt like the end of the world

(Part 2) Santiago de Compostela – Nice


2017 Tour de Travoy (Part 2) Santiago de Compostela – Avignon – Nice. The second part of the 2017 Tour de Travoy involved crossing the Pyrenees before then making my way to Nice. I traveled along the traditional Camino Frances route as far as Saint Jean Pied de Port before then going to Lourdes.  After climbing La Pierre Saint Martin and the Tourmalet, I made my way to Avignon before tackling Mont Ventoux. Then, it was onto Nice along the Route Napoleon via the Gorges de Verdon.

(Part 2a) Santiago de Compostela – Lourdes

June 11th – 12th 2017 (Days 34 – 35) Santiago to Ponferrada (220 km) If Galicia is the Wild West of Spain, then Santiago is Dodge City and it was time to get out of Dodge

June 13th – 16th 2017 (Days 36 – 39) Ponferrada to Leon (150 km) Almost end up in hospital in Hospital de Orbigo as my stomach casts me asunder in Castilla y Leon

June 17th – 19th 2017 (Days 40 – 42) Leon to Burgos (180 km) Fierce heat altogether from the Sun of a Gun in Sahagun

June 20th – 22nd 2017 (Days 43 – 45) Burgos to Estella (180 km) 2017 is bound to be a vintage year for red wine in the red hot Rioja region of Spain

June 23rd 2017 (Day 46) Estella to Pamplona – (100 km) Halfway with Hemingway at the bullring in Pamplona

June 24th – 27th 2017 (Days 47 – 50) Pamplona to Lourdes (160 km) Visiting the Pyrenees and Lourdes is like visiting a little piece of Heaven on Earth

June 25th 2017 (Day 48) La Pierre Saint Martin (55 km) Shock and awe on a wonderwall of a climb

(Part 2b) Lourdes – Avignon – Nice

June 28th – July 1st 2017 (Days 51 – 54) Lourdes to Carcassonne (300 km) I bid adieu to the Pyrenees and get in the zone to get to Carcassonne

June 29th 2017 (Day 52) Col du Tourmalet (35 km) Mountain high, revving deep on the number 1 climb on my bucket list

July 2nd – 4th 2017 (Days 55 – 57) Carcassonne to Avignon (240 km) Through Languedoc and across the Rhone just like Hannibal, 2,200 years ago

July 5th – 7th 2017 (Days 58 – 60) Avignon to Manosque (160 km) On the loose in Vaucluse amongst numerous vineyards and fields of lavender

July 6th 2017 (Day 59) Mont Ventoux (from Sault) (60 km) A super, super climb past lavender fields, pine forests and limestone rocks that look like the surface of the moon

July 8th – 10th 2017 (Days 61 – 63) Manosque to Castellane (220 km) A Super Sunday of Cycling through the Gorges du Verdon in Provence

July 11th – 12th 2017 (Day 64 – 65) Castellane to Nice (80 km) Taking the scenic Route Napoleon to the even more scenic Cote d’Azur

(Part 3) Nice – Geneva – Dublin


2017 Tour de Travoy (Part 3) Nice – Geneva – Dublin. The main aim of the third part of the 2017 Tour de Travoy was to complete the Route de Grande Alpes from Menton to Thonen les Bains. The Route des Grandes Alpes is roughly 700 km from start to finish and there is probably no other 700 km stretch of road anywhere in the world as tough to cycle. After completing the Route des Grandes Alpes, I then cycled all the way from the Alps to Ireland via Paris.

(Part 3a) Nice – Col d’Izoard

July 13th 2017 (Day 66) Nice to Menton (60 km) Nice to meet you, Nice as I cycle along the Cote d’Azur to Monaco

July 14th – 15th 2017 (Days 67 – 68) Menton to Isola (120 km) Rallying up the Col de Turini at the start of my challenge to cycle the Route des Grandes Alpes

July 16th – 17th 2017 (Days 69 – 70) Isola to Jausiers (60 km) No bee in my bonnet climbing the Col de la Bonette Restefond to 2,715m

July 18th – 19th 2017 (Days 71 -72) Jausiers to Aiguilles (100 km) The faster the ski slope, normally the slower the climb and the Col de Vars has the fastest ski slope in the world

July 20th 2017 (Day 73) Col d’Izoard (Tour de France) – (60 km) Wa Wa Barguil wins the stage while Va Va Froome wraps up his fourth Tour de France

(Part 3b) Col d’Izoard – Bourg Saint Maurice

July 21st – 22nd 2017 (Days 74 – 75) Aiguilles to Serre Chevalier (70 km) Its so hard, the Izoard, when you have a heavy trailer strapped to your bike on such a steep climb

July 23rd – 25th 2017 (Days 76 -78) Serre Chevalier to Valloire (40 km) Never as terrified going up or down a climb as on the Galibier

July 26th – 30th 2017 (Days 79 – 83) Valloire to Lanslebourg On Hannibal’s trail along the Route des Grandes Alpes

July 27th 2017 (Day 80) Mini-Marmotte (200 km) My recce of the route of the Marmotte sportive took so long I ended up finishing in the dark

July 31st 2017 (Day 84) Lanslebourg to Bourg Saint Maurice (80 km) Milestone day as I reach the highest ever point and also experience the longest ever descent on the Tour de Travoy

(Part 3c) Bourg Saint Maurice – Geneva

August 1st 2017 (Day 85) La Plagne (75 km) Tackling the climb where Stephen Roche collapsed and needed oxygen before then winning the 1987 Tour de France

August 2nd – 3rd 2017 (Days 86 – 87) Col du Petit Saint Bernard (75 km) Following in the footsteps of Hannibal and his army in 218 BC by climbing the Col du Petit Saint Bernard from Bourg Saint Maurice

August 4th – 5th 2017 (Days 88 – 89) Bourg Saint Maurice to Saint Jean de Sixt (100 km) There are lots of incredible sights on the Route des Grandes Alpes but few are as impressive as Mont Blanc

August 6th – 8th 2017 (Days 90 – 92) Saint Jean de Sixt to Thonon les Bains (100 km) Finally make it to Lake Geneva after 3 weeks and 3 days on the Route des Grandes Alpes

(Part 3d) Geneva – Paris

August 09th – 11th 2017 (Days 93 – 95) Thonon les Bains to Lons le Saunier (160 km) Here on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland is the solution to the UK’s Brexit turmoil

August 12th – 14th 2017 (Days 96 – 98) Lons le Saunier to Troyes (280 km) From the foot of the Alps to the outskirts of Paris in 3 days

August 15th – 18th 2017 (Days 99 – 102) Troyes to Paris (180 km) Going around in circles trying to find a hotel in Montmatre in Paris

(Part 3e) Paris – Donegal

August 19th – 21st 2017 (Days 103 – 105) Paris – Bayeux (280 km) Passing by the Arc de Triomphe where Mark Beaumont started and finished his record breaking world cycle

August 22nd – 23rd 2017 (Days 106 – 107) Bayeux – Cherbourg (110 km) Reflecting on Normandy’s history and tapestry before getting the ferry to Ireland

August 24th – 27th 2017 (Days 108 – 111) Rosslare – Dublin (170 km) Despite the wind and rain, it was great to be back in Ireland after over 3 months away

August 28th – 29th 2017 (Days 112 -113) Dublin – Donegal (270 km) The fourth time in 4 years I had cycled from Dublin to Donegal and believe me, it doesn’t get any easier

So, what was the story with 2017 Tour de Travoy. The Camino del Travoy was my third major tour in the last 3 years. My debut 2015 Tour was a bit like the Stone Roses debut album and the 2016 Tour was like Oasis 2nd album. So, before I set out, I was hoping my third tour wouldn’t end up like both those bands third album and instead, end up as good as U2’s third album. It turned out to be a great tour, though at times it certainly was War.