26 September 2019

Chating while riding: Julien Verlay of Haute Route

Julien Verlay is an avid cyclist, ambassador for Festka frames and MAAP clothing and sales manager of Haute Route for UK and France. Julien joined Pedal Greece for our 4-day Summit-to-Sea tour in September 2019.

Julien Verlay is an avid cyclist, ambassador for Festka frames and MAAP clothing and sales manager of Haute Route for UK and France. Haute Route offers riding events of first class hospitality for amateur cyclists retaining all the key ingredients that make up the culture and experience of professional road racing.

Julien recently was hosted by Pedal Greece on a trip to conquer Mani’s climbs. In between hard-hitting watts, fredo-espressos and calamaris we managed to chat about his experience at the hot hot hot Mani peninsula.

How long have been riding bikes “seriously” and what is your background and riding profile?

I’m riding bikes seriously since 2012, first long ride 200km with my first club (Street Pistard), I’ve done Paris Brest Paris, few long distances rides 2 times 1200kms rides 20000m elevation, 4 Paris-Roubaix, several Haute Route 7 and 3 days, gravel in Sweden etc. I love exploring and meet people on the bike, it’s the best way to discover the world.
I used to work for Rapha as Raph Cycling Club coordinator for France during the last 3 years. I’m now the market sales manager for France and UK for Haute Route since the beginning of 2019. I’m developing the partnerships in between Haute Route and B2B and B2C.

What is Haute Route and what is this project’s target for the near future?

Haute Route is probably the most changing life experience sportive that you can do. Before working for the brand I’ve done the Pyrenees a 7days sportive. And it was the best experience in my life. It’s on 3 days or 7 days, 120km 2500 to 4000m elevation/day. Included is full support on the ground, marshalls, safety cars, motos, Mavic assistance, soigneurs and everything else that makes a pro tour atmosphere. Incredible sceneries, mythical cols, hidden roads… A challenging experience for every rider.

This was your first time in Greece. Was it like what you expected?

Yes it was my first time in Greece and I loved it!Honestly, I discovered an amazing country and sceneries, you can’t always find places like that in the world. Mountains and sea. it’s very typical, stone houses, sunny, warm, quiet in the Peloponnese area, and the food is excellent. 

Greece has a varied mountainous landscape with multiple sea to summit rides within the same day. Mani especially is the epitomy of this. Did you like the riding? What do you thin is unique about riding here?

The landscapes are very varied, from Sparti to Limeni it’s really green, but when you go to the cap it’s so different, I loved this side of the Peloponnese, it’s dry, and where ever you look you see the blue of the Mediteranean sea. You can stop and go for a swim if it’s too hot during a foodstop. Where else can you experience this?

Give us your description of the ideal riding day?

The ideal riding day, starting early, to see the sun rising on the sea, feel the freshness of the morning, Ride and share experience with a great group of people on beautiful roads, a bit tough too to make it harder than a simple ride. Feel the wind when you enjoy the descents, and be amazed by the beauty of the sceneries. stop in a village to get some food and coffee before going for more kilometers. 

Food is a strong point on our trips. How did you find the food and the overall experience?

Greek Food is so good, it’s fresh and tasty, I loved it, the food stops on the route were top notch, and the dinners and breakfast on point, local food is always a good solution.

What is your favorite bike that you ride with?

My Favorite bike is a custom Festka Scalatore, I ride Festka bikes since 2015, I had the ONE and now the Scalatore which is lighter and stiffer and so confortable. This bike is simply amazing I could spend hours and hours, days and days on it.

Would you come back to ride?

DEFINITELY !

Follow Julien on @crooam
Haute Route click.
MAAP clothing click.

All photographs by Mike Paschos.

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