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George

LA MARMOTTE 2017

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Elaine & I also did this with a group from her work.

Briefly met Grieg, George, Billy, Richie and other for a beer on the Saturday night.

Had a cracking day after a shaky start (literally!). I rode down to the start from Alpe D'Huez and twice had almost uncontrollable speed wobbles at 35mph+. Very frightening, but sorted at the bottom to start almost last and behind the following vehicles!

After starting at the back, we rode steadily and passed people all day, which was nice. The sun came out on the decent from the Galibier and made the Alpe D'Huez climb almost hot. Finished in time for a beer and pasta.

Longest ever ride for Elaine and most climbing in a day for both of us.

 

Happy days!   Ohyadancer!  Ohyadancer!  Ohyadancer!

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Evening all.

 

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 :)

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Guys/ Gals

Don't be put off doing this , it's actually on reflection a fairly nice run through some spectacular scenery, whilst I found it hard , it was more a war of attrition that an eyeballs out event , if you like climbing , have the biggest cassette you can buy on the back , and the weather is kind it would be good fun and manageable by most if not all of the JWCC.

What I would do differently is try and get a couple of rides in before the event , to get use to the descents , and the long climbs, as at my age getting my back used to sitting in the climbing position for two hours would have been beneficial, but never mind the French pharmacies sell good strong over the counter pain killers.

And yes I needed some 6 to be precise

 

Would I do it again yes I think I would but not next year the Stelvio is calling

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To echo Billy, after a few days to reflect, I would do this again. It's utterly epic. The mountains are harder than anything most of us have done but the scenery, the buzz of the event & the sense of achievement are beyond anything I've ever experienced.

 

If I do it again I'd get my diet sorted & train properly as I was totally broken by the finish.

 

I'd also take some loo roll & wet wipes.

 

The Santini Stelio or Maratona are on my list for next year but if a group fancied this I'd go again.

 

Just be aware that it's 7 quid a pint and about £20 for a pizza 😳

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