Well, here's the report from one of the 'also rans'
I had been keen for Roubaix this year until Geo talked me into the Marmotte.
"11 months to go" I thought....what could go wrong!
A combination of work and a 2yr old meant I didn't get as many miles in as I would've liked...I had ridden a couple of 75 milers in the previous couple of months but my last century was at Flanders last April.... but before I knew it, we were flying out to Geneva!
As George said, a bit of delay getting to the Alpe but a nice wee ride down the Alpe on Sat, along to Allemont and then a climb up to Villard Reculas and into Huez village. It did made me think about the day to come!
The descent to the start wasn't as bad as I feared and we were soon off and blasting through the valley. I was with my friend from Dumfries and we were staying together as he has been on the bike less than me.
Up and over the looooonnnnnnggg drag of the Glandon into the cold and mist. Not much hanging about before the neutralised descent.
Neutralised because it's dangerous.....it also didn't help that visibility must've been down to 50ft! Interesting!!
I had lost sight of my mate and found myself on a wee train along the valley. Hanging on a bit as I didn't fancy being stuck on my own into the headwind.
We collected Greg, who was doing exactly that, just before the feed stop and we were joined by my mate before tackling the Telegraphe.
The Telegraphe itself isn't too bad a climb but then we were onto the Galibier. At this point my mate said he was chucking it and as Greg and I spoke to Ramsay and Elaine....who had caught us for about an hour!!...I lost of sight of him and we eventually thought he must've turned round.
The Galibier was ok to start with but the last 8 or 9km is a pretty hard slog. Think it was about 4 or 5mph all the way up!
To surprise and delight, my mate was at the feed station at the top! It was blowing a gale so we headed off down the descent which wasn't too nice in the wind.
The Galibier soon turned into the Col du Lautaret and it's fast, majestic sweeping bends that went on for km after km.
Good for the morale and the sun had came out by now!
We realised we weren't as far ahead of schedule as we had imagined so it was a race on to make the time cut off of 6.15pm at the foot of the Alpe.
We dug in and made it with 10 mins to spare. We had dug in because we had decided we weren't going to ride the Alpe after all.
Then we decided that that would be daft......so off we went!
It was in the 20's by now so off came as many clothes as was decent and we agreed it was every man for himself so I continued on my 4mph slog upwards and got closer and closer....seeing a lot of folk looking in a worse state than yourself is a strange morale boost!!
I eventually got to hairpin 1 and had some new found energy so had a good run in to the finish line.
Total time from start to finish was 12hrs and 20 mins so a long day in the saddle.
I was delighted to have finished because I had my doubts. It was a tough mental battle at times.
I was less than delighted to be told that they didn't have any medals left!!!
I'll see how the organisers reply to my e-mail!
What Ramsay didn't tell you was that he still managed to climb the Alpe in 1hr 10 after everything that came before!! Chapeau
As the others have said about the Fred, not sure if I'd do it again but glad to have ticked it off!
Thanks for reading....and goodnight