The "Race Across" comes from across the Atlantic, with the first crossing in 1982 from West to East of the United States, that is to say more than 5 000km. Already 4 years that in France hundreds of cyclists ride alone and without assistance on the roads of France, from Le Touquet to Mandelieu la Napoule, through the magnificent landscapes of Chambord, Mont St Michel, the Alps...

Relive this 5th edition through the story of Alvaro, founder of Holyfat.

"The Race Across France has become in 4 years a reference in the country and in Europe that gave birth to the Tour de France. To pay tribute to its American sister and to build a bridge of friendship between our two countries, the Race Across France offers a fabulous challenge of 2,500km, inscribed in the memory of the most significant hours of our common history.

4 distances are accessible in a single event to have the possibility to discover, to challenge oneself but also to exceed oneself. The course crosses France passing by the Mont St Michel, the Chambord castle, the Alps and the highest places of cycling, the Ventoux, the Verdon...

Each participant has different reasons to participate in a race like the Race Across France (RAF): to get to know each other in the event, to beat a record, to surpass oneself and to accomplish what seems impossible.

My reasons are varied and both professional and personal. On the professional side, I wanted to represent the Holyfat brand that I created and highlight the effectiveness of our products. On the personal side, my challenge was to step out of my comfort zone and get to know myself better under new circumstances. And on a deeper level, I wanted to mourn the loss of my loved ones that occurred last year. For the past year, I had not had the opportunity to internalize this loss and reconcile myself with the life that follows its course in spite of everything.

This edition of the RAF was extremely demanding because of the temperature changes, we went from over 35 degrees to a wet cold on the descent of the passes that made me shiver. Not to mention the thunderstorms that arrived without warning. The Iseran pass was the first difficulty and as Mike Tyson says "everyone has a plan until they get the first right" and the Iseran gave me a big punch, which made me rethink my whole planning.

RAF Alvaro Col de l'iseran

On the way down I caught a cold and found myself in the valley leading to Saint Michel en Maurienne, on the side of the road vomiting and wondering why I was there? At that moment I had no answer, nor the strength to question myself. I decided to look for a hotel, telling myself that I would have time to think about it the next day.

Second day, I begin to understand the loneliness of this challenge, making it simple and difficult at the same time. A parody of life, we have to move forward but we don't have the desire, the strength or the will to do it, the only thing to do is to pedal so I pedal.

Descending the Galibier with wet roads, I think about the fragility of our lives. A wrong turn and it's GAME OVER. A precipice of a few hundred meters to my right reminds me at every moment that I have vertigo. Despite these thoughts, the possibility of a fatal accident seemed so far away.

At the foot of the Glandon pass, despite the message sent by the organization about a storm warning, I decide to continue with my goal for the day: to cross the last of the Alpine passes before midnight. A few hours later, in the solitude of the pass, the overcast sky and lightning around me, I was scared for the first time in the race. Why am I here? I don't know, but I keep going, I keep pedaling.

Thursday morning I got the terrible news on my phone. A participant of the RAF 2500km was hit by a car, the result is tragic. A father, a brother, a husband who will not come home, a participant who will not cross the finish line. The question returns with relentless force "Why am I here?"

With all the urge to stop and hug my daughters and wife I grab my bike and ride away. I don't know what else to do. Getting on my bike seems the easiest thing to do, move forward so I don't go back, so I don't think. The day is one of the most complicated in terms of temperature. I'm with two participants, Jeremy and Vianney. We move forward together without talking too much. I think they are asking themselves the same question as me. Suddenly we find ourselves under the rain or rather under the shower and we find refuge in a bakery. A croque-monsieur, a coffee, a nap on the table and we set off again to ride 2-3 hours in the rain.

RAF sport sommeil difficulte

I feel like giving up, I can't understand why I'm here. I talk on the phone with my brother who quickly understood my situation, he asks me to hold on. I have the impression that my eventual abandonment may affect my relatives more than myself. I lower my head, I pedal, I continue.

At the foot of the Mont Ventoux, I put my GPS on charge but it didn't like the fast charge... As a result, it doesn't light up anymore. Fortunately I know the Giant of Provence and I leave at 8pm to attack its ascent. I take off the cardio, I don't look at my glycemia anymore and I go by feeling.

What a pleasure to start by changing the rhythm, by forcing a little, I felt more alive in the "zone". At 11pm I arrived at the summit and prepared the descent. My brother accompanies me by phone and it feels good to listen to him, to know that he was living the adventure with me despite the 9000 km that separate us.

I just understood that I am not alone, we share our dreams and if it is true that we are the executors, we, those who pedal, it is just because it is our turn. Tomorrow I will be at home and one of my relatives, one of my friends will be living his own adventure. Climbing his own Ventoux.

I'm beginning to understand why I'm here? Because I had a dream, I had the will.

Saturday was the most beautiful day, arriving seemed easier than giving up, a freedom and a lightness propelled me in the middle of the lavender fields, what a beautiful country! I just have to enjoy this last day, the last climb, the last descent, the last kilometer, the last turn, the end.

A feeling of accomplishment mixed with melancholy, and an answer to the "why I am here". I am here, because I am alive, and living means that we can pursue our dreams, moving forward on behalf of those who cannot, it is my responsibility to live to the limits of my abilities, because one day we will not be here anymore, and it may happen tomorrow, or the day after.

Why am I here? It is obvious. I'm here because it's my turn."

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Félicitations Alvaro,
Beau récit qui traduit bien les montagnes russes physique et psychologiques qui accompagnent tous les ultra-cyclistes, quel que soit leur niveau.
Malgré les innombrables “pourquoi suis-je là ?”, tu as su trouver en toi les ressources et la force pour aller au bout de cette difficile RAF.
Encore bravo !

Jean-Yves Couput

Alvaro nous avons échangé au départ à Megeve
J’ai vraiment aimé donc analyse et ton histoire d’aventure car pour moi c’est plus une aventure qu’une course
J’ai qu’une envie c’est repartir en mode road trip.
Si tu veux échanger sur comment on a vécu notre raf
Je pense que tu as mes coordonnées par rapport à ton entreprise
J’aimerais bien avoir un contact téléphonique avec toi car j’ai bien aimé notre petit échange à Megeve
A toi de voir
Félicitation et à plus tard peut-être


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