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Marmotte 2014........



  • Just under 10 hours for me. The Glandon was as I expected.....long. The Telegraph not quite as long as the Glandon, but it was hot ( made worse by the sections of poor road surface). As for The Galibier? What can you say about this's epic! It saps your will to live and just keeps getting steeper and steeper! I lost count of the number of riders I passed who were slumped over their handlebars, totally spent! Others had resigned themselves to walking the remaining few kilometres to the summit.

    But what a feeling when you get to the summit! Not that I stayed up there long, as it was quite cold at 2600meters. I stayed just long enough to put on arm warmers and a gillet and set off down the other side. And what a descent!.....almost 50k downhill which brings you to within a few Klm's of the Alpe.

    This decent also lulls you into a false sense that you are fresher than you actually are. Once you start climbing up the Alp, you realise that this is going to be one tough, tough climb!

    I coped by simply breaking it down into 21 small climbs..starting at 21, I simply aimed to get to the next hairpin, then the next, and so on. Stopping at both water stops, it took me an hour and fourty minutes to get to the top! It has confirmed to me that I am not a natural born climber! :)

    Well done to everyone who participated..simply completing the course is something to be very proud of!

    Official time of 9 hours and 54 minutes....


  • Congrats and well done A. I'm exhausted reading about it. You look a couple of stones lighter in that pic!

  • Just recovering this morning before heading home. It was our first attempt at this epic cycle. I thought Glandon went on for ever but Telegraph was the big killer. Found Galibier do-able but so long. But the big thing was arrived flat out to the base of Alpe d'Huez with an empty tank and then having to take it on. It took us one hour and fifty minutes with one water stop. But never got off the bike once for respite so happy all round.
    Well done Golden Boots and Deadly Submarine!!

  • Would anyone who done this event and booked all travel arrangements themselves(did not use tour company) like to share how they done it.
    I really want to do this next year but the hard part of the travel seems getting from grenoble to le bourg d'oisans. I don't want to use a tour company as i plan on staying about 7-8 nights and package deals for that long are pretty expensive.

    Well done to all those with took part

  • What a savage day! By far the hardest thing I have ever done. A day that tests you physically and mentally in every way, but an absolutely brilliant experience. Even before it started, the descent of a wet Alpe D'Huez was something else.

    Did fine on the first two climbs. The Glandon is long and much tougher than expected, though very doable as it can be broken into three parts. The Telegraph is relentless as the gradient doesn't really change, quite tough for the first 5km, but was in a nice rhythm and got up no problem.

    However, I will never forget the torture of the Galibier and Alpe D'Huez. The first half of the Galibier is a head-wrecker as it seems relatively flat but then you realise that you are in your lowest gear and barely moving. Then you get to Plan Lachat and see how it gets much steeper. Had to stop there for first time just to loosen out the legs. Decided to break the last 8km into sections and stop at the 5km and 2km points. Could not sustain the effort over longer periods but was climbing well when moving. It is stunning at the top, and the descent really is as epic as others have said.

    Onto the Alpe and the torture really began. Committed myself to getting to bend 16 without stopping and did so. The plan was then to get to around bend 10 and stop again. However, it took so long to get from bend 14 to 13 that I 'cracked' at bend 13 when I saw how steep it was coming out of the hairpin. Sat down and seriously considered quitting at that point. After about 10 minutes of a chat with myself, got back on bike and eventually reached the finish. The support from people through the last kilometer was brilliant.

    Well done to anyone who finished this, especially borntobike and Deadly Submarine, two sound lads who were brilliant company over the weekend. Also to Sinead from Orwell Wheelers.

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  • Congrats and well done A. I'm exhausted reading about it. You look a couple of stones lighter in that pic!

    Cheers Ash! yeah..the jersey looks a bit loose around the sleeves alright and my big fat head makes the rest of me look skinny.. :)

  • Hi All, well done on completing. Only ever posted on this once before so not really sure how this works. This query is for all of you Marmotte guys.

    Myself and 3 other guys are planning on doing the "Marmotte" route. We've been planning since last November. Travel, accommodation, car hire, bikes all sorted. Training completed , well at least we hope we're good.

    One big problem. Thing is we are doing it on 19th July. An oversight on our part.
    "The Tour" is travelling along 35 km stretch of road that is on Marmotte route. On the day they are travelling from Grenoble to Rousle. Do any of you guys know when roads would close and be re-opened on Tour days? Our accomodation is also on Alpe D'Huez.
    Do we have any hope of completing the Marmotte route or do you guys have any suggestions?? Not sure if this is the correct place to post buy said I'd give it a shot. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

  • I got around in 11 and a half hours. Toughest thing I've ever done. Glandon felt endless. Telegraph felt longer than I expected. Galibier was a bitch. The Alpe tests everyone I think, regardless of level, and I crept up it with a stop every few turns.
    High point was the descent off Glandon - narrow road, tight bends, riders wiping out, one guy's carbon wheel blew his tyre and levelled him, but Christ was it fun to go down.
    Other high point was the end line, having dug so deep to get to it.

  • Jim Stynes wrote: »
    Where and when can I sign up for next year? I have been following this thread for a while now and it seems to take a lot of commitment so well done to all who took part!

    Registration opens in November/ early December..

  • 07Lapierre wrote: »
    Registration opens in November/ early December..

    There is more than the Marmotte; this is a fantastic and much smaller event.

    I've never cycled anywhere as beautiful

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  • Would anyone who done this event and booked all travel arrangements themselves(did not use tour company) like to share how they done it.

    We got there by car, took the ferry over. There's no shortage of accommodation in Alpe D'Huez as it's full of ski apartments - ours cost around STG300 for the week, but you'd probably be better off staying in Bourg D'Ossain if you don't have your own transport. I saw some people arriving in Bourg by bus with their bike cases, so there's probably one you can get from Grenoble airport.

    The day itself is a great experience. The weather was perfect for it this year - all the peaks looked spectacular and it wasn't too hot for getting up them. Climbing Alpe at the end was still a killer though! Finished in 7:57 so was very happy with the day.

  • Hi Irishrover
    A friend and I used Aer Lingus into Lyons and rented a car for the two hour drive. We did use a UK company (Sports Tours International) who did 4 nights half board with some limited race day support for £400stg each. I don't think this was much dearer than getting accommodation ourselves, but I stand to be corrected.
    Accommodation was in Alpe, but Bourg is probably better to stay in if you can.
    Good luck

  • First of all I would like to say well done to all that went out it was an incredible experience and one which I will never forget.
    To start the day we all had to descend the 21 bends of Alpe D'heuz at 6am to the start in Bourg d'Oisans which for a Saturday morning felt very surreal then thousands of riders let let off in 3 different waves.
    To the first climb the Glandon it was relentless it went on forever 27km early in the day this was a sure sign the long game had to be played slow steady tempo every so often was telling my training partner borntobike keep it steady and he would reply keep reminding me conversations all around were getting very muted and the sound of bikes and riders breathing heavy took over but we got to the summit quick stop at the sportactive car refuel and on to the decent of Glandon which was neutralised I enjoyed it but it was very technical into the valley and through the timing mat at saint Etienne de Cuines and then on to the next climb of the Col du Telegraph.
    The road to the climb was straight and dragged very slightly up for roughly 20km so again in the mind conserve energy its still early started to play on the mind into the village of St Michel de Maurienne Martin from sportactive had mentioned a water fountain just at the turn we had to take for the telegraph which myself borntobike and Golden Boots took advantage of and then started the climb.
    My memory of the climb will be the short sharp switchbacks and the heat which was starting to play a part in the day my right foot was starting to burn and cramp slightly but made it to the summit and second refueling stop were I stretched my foot and changed socks cramp had eased. borntobike had struggled on this one but I knew he would get better in the second half from past experience. On to the decent and this was a short one into Valloire and then the mighty Galibier lay ahead of us. It is an iconic mountain and a spectacular sight to the eyes with its giant grey scree sides to your right at the start of the climb then turning straight back into the climb and looking up its vast sides to the left and the constant trickle of bikes going up its slopes which seems never ending. I suffered with cramp again in my right foot badly this time but kept going as the mountain started to tighten its grip on people some lying down on its sides to rest and others walking. In the distance the summit started to appear and on my right I noticed the Pantani monument which gave me a little lift to keep pushing on in to the final 2km with its snow lined walls and sheer steepness. Our refueling stop was 1km from the summit and it was in the right place and at the right time as again stretched out the feet and took on all I needed to push on to the final challenge. So back on the bike and the final 1km to the summit of the mighty mountain also my earlier prediction had proved correct as borntobike had come to life on Galibier and climbed it very well we also met golden boots briefly who had stopped in Valloire to refuel. The view from the summit is something I will never forget the winding twisting roads down into the valleys below and beautiful scenery all around us from the grey snowlined walls at the top to the green colours lower down the slopes through all the tunnels on the decent and all the time thinking we have to make it to the bottom of the Alpe D'heuz before the cut off time at 6:15pm. Roughly 1 hour 20 minutes later with a huge push we made it through the timing mat at the base of the Alpe at 6:02 pm and on front of us the 21 bends of the legendary Alpe D'huez. The first 3kms of the Alpe were like a virtual wall in front of us so we decided to take a quick break just past the mat take on fluids and plan to break up the mountain mentally into 21 small climbs which made the mountain easier as we were on the limit. My memory of the climb will always be the encouragement from spectators on all the bends willing you on the riders who were stopped and slumped over their bikes the riders who had got off and were walking some bare footed everybody going through their own mental battle the water stop up the climb were I got water thrown over my back even on one of the switch backs an Irish couple sitting on the grass bank with a tri colour a great lift to see it the count down was on bend 9,8,7 dutch corner through the village of Huez the view of the town at the top the famous sign in the grass on ride hand side of the summit big and in white ALPE H'uez bend 3,2,1 up into the streets of the town people clapping and cheering alllez allez on up through the tunnel come on one last push to the finish and yes the beep over the timing mat we've made it 11 hours and 10 mins.
    Every emotion going through the head I reach out and give my training buddy from the last 8 months borntobike a big manly hug and well done we've done it.
    Just to finish well done all the Irish over for the Marmotte Orwell your a great crew the 2 lads from Dungarvan Maurice and John golden boots a sound man and tough as nails to get up that final climb and borntobike the 8 months paid off we made it and what an experience.

  • Great post. Congratulations.

  • Deadly Submarine - I think it was a day for making calculations and let the big favourites do their own thing. There were no pan flat sections or no Caddle Evans. We played the waiting game (deep intake and a waterford accent needed).

  • Deadly Submarine & borntobike - I think Saturday was a day to just tap it out!

  • This might bring back a few memories of one of the more pleasant parts of the Marmotte! For me, descending from the top of the Galibier was the best part of the day!



  • This has been a great thread for all those thinking of doing the Marmotte as I am for next year. I am just looking for advice from any that arranged entry directly, without a tour company. I am travelling next year as part of our summer holiday so will have car, caravan kids etc., and want to make sure I get an entry.

    Can anybody that just arranged their own entry via the website let me know how they got on, any info about the application for entries etc. Any info greatly appreciated.

  • For next year, register on the sportcommunication website now and then wait.

    registration is usiually around the start of November, but keep on a eye on websites etc for info coming up to it. Get in as early as possible to register on the night it opens.

    The website is fairly atrocious, so be prepared for a bit of frustration but it should all go through smoothly enough (I think it just can't handle the level of busiess at the one time).

    I've done it direct twice now and it has never been an issue.

    It tends to sell out in after about a day, but getting in early should be enough.

  • Thanks for the reply Leroy42. ON the sportcommunication website it only appears to allow registrations for upcoming current events, not a general registration, unless I am missing something obvious. Do I wait until the Marmotte is an option on the registrations page, apologies for this but really want to be as prepared as possible for entry.

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  • Maybe I'm mistaken so, maybe you can only register on the day itself. In my case I was regestered from a prior year so maybe that was it!

    It's strightforward anyway, just keep on eye on the web for announcements of when the reg opens and be prepared to get in early to get your place.

    You don't need med certs or anything like that at the time, just choose the non-licence category and click through to choose the event(s). You should receive an e-mail with confirmation of your reg, and they complie a reg listing that is updated, semi-regularly, and you can check that a bit after to make sure.

  • Epic thread and epic adventure.

    What tour companies can you go with on the Marmotte as a matter of interest? And would be interested to know what the total cost was for participants, roughly like, door to door.

  • fat bloke wrote: »
    Epic thread and epic adventure.

    What tour companies can you go with on the Marmotte as a matter of interest? And would be interested to know what the total cost was for participants, roughly like, door to door.

    I went with Frenchcycling

    The only cost not included is flights from Dublin to Lyon which you can look up on the aerlingus website.

  • Thanks. Yeah, I've read through a lot more of the thread now and the links and am getting a better picture :)

    One thing that would be of importance to me would be bike transport from Ireland - as in a company taking charge of that and preferably carrying my bike in a van or truck. That's really what I'd want from a tour operator set up. I'm just paranoid about very cheap airlines carrying very expensive bikes :(.

  • These guys will transport your bike.

    I've always brought my bike on the plane and I've never had any problems. A good Bike box is essential (not a soft shell bag)

  • Nice one thanks.
    Yeah I've done a couple of events abroad but I've always brought my training bike in a hard shell box and left my good bike at home. Last time the hard case came back with a dirty big hole and crack in it. Thankfully the bike was ok, but I just wouldn't dare (personally) risk my good bike. I've heard too many stories from musician and cyclist friends of opening flight cases to jaws dropping and hearts sinking.

    If I couldn't get someone to transport then I'd do it myself to be honest and drive, or of course take my sh1t (but still very good) bike :).
    There would be a gang of us going so could work out well for one or preferably two members to drive over in a van with the bikes.