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  • 24-04-2023 4:59pm
    Registered Users Posts: 25

    Hi All,

    Is anyone doing the Marmotte this year? I'm doing it individually without a tour company arranging everything, but I'm finding it difficult to find a travel company that will do a transfer from the airport. Seems like the tour companies have a monopoly on most transfer companies.

    Any suggestions from anyone?


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,791 ✭✭✭fat bloke

    I've always rented a car.

  • Registered Users Posts: 68 ✭✭Londonirish72

    I did it last year. A long day on the bike but I really enjoyed it and because I prepared well I was able to complete without getting into difficulty.

    The video below was really helpful, especially for advice on where to get water away from the official water stops which were often mobbed.

    As fat bloke said rent a car as it will give you flexibility. Where you planning to stay? I stayed in the Eurocamp outside Bourg d'Oissans and it was surprisingly nice though you have to descend Alpe d'Huez after you finish.

    If you need any tips or advice I'd be happy to offer them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25 Asdaman

    Thanks for the advice chaps. The change of date for this year worked in my favour as I was able to secure a quality hotel at the top of d'Huez for a decent rate. One day later, once the tour companies had clocked on to the date change, there was no availability anywhere.

    Good video too!

  • Registered Users Posts: 68 ✭✭Londonirish72

    Good luck.

    I rode off heart ratre for Glandon and was passed by many but got to the top feeling fresh. It was warm so I did not need any layers for the descent and did not stick about at the summit. I refilled my bottles in the village mentioned in the video and fed just before the end of the neutralised zone at the bottom of the descent.

    The drag along the valley was long and hot and was for me the least enjoyable bit of the day. I stuck to a modestly paced group and did little real work. By then it was getting quite hot but as you ascend it gets cooler and the Telegraph & Galibier seemed to blend into one. Strangely I really enjoyed the Galibier in part because so many others were walking or had stopped altogether and that gave me the motivation to continue. The food stops were well organised with lots of bananas, coke and cake but I tried not to linger too long at any of them.

    I continued to ride off my heart rate until Alpe d'Huez but by then I knew that I would be able to finish but Huez was a long slow slog and by then lots of people were in real distress - there were bodies and bikes everywhere.

    I could have done without having to descend after it all.

    I have done a number of Etapes but found the Marmotte easier because I prepared well and stuck to my heart rate plan. A triathlete colleague recommended salt stick pills which I took every 2 hours throughout the ride and did not get cramps and only drank plan water when on the bike.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,791 ✭✭✭fat bloke

    Jeez we did it last year and I thought the "food" stops were appallingly poor. They had no food! Manky power bars, half bananas and fcukin crisps! Honest to God, crisps! We sacrificed a half an hour half way up the galibier just to stop in at a cafe and get an aul sandwich jambon fromage!

    Did it way back around 2017 and the food stops had actual food. Much better.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 25 Asdaman

    Great insight 👍🏻. What sort of times did you both achieve? I've read about others experience re: the final climb, and your story seems to corroborate the suffering I've read about! To mitigate this, I've changed my gearing for a 36T which should hopefully help a little!

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,189 ✭✭✭07Lapierre

    Ah yes, the Marmotte! did it in 2012,2013 and 2014 . I think im still recovering! A great event but the food stops can be very busy and the food is not great. Definitely recommend fueling up with a descent Ham/cheese sandwich or two en-route. plenty of places along the route. Best of luck and enjoy!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,791 ✭✭✭fat bloke

    Both times I did it I felt like sh1te at the start. Found the Glandon a real slog. Got silver times both times, and wasn't really anywhere near threatening gold. Neither time did I feel I gave a great account of myself overall but both times I had a bit in reserve to have a good stab at the Alpe d'huez at the end and finish well. No danger of walking or stopping. The first one especially was fiercely hot and the Alpe was like the start of Saving Private Ryan, bodies everywhere, slain riders panned out on the ground or draped over their bikes :)

    Both times I slept very very poorly before the event, why I do not know. Had times during the events where I felt good too but mostly it was just about getting through it, getting to the finish line. Nothing glamorous. Just get it done.

    Last year 2 of us stayed in a week after the event and that was fantastic. Got to ride some more of the roads at a different pace. Took a proper run at the Alpe in isolation and in anger. That was class. I'd certainly recommend that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 68 ✭✭Londonirish72

    I forgot to add that I used a top-tube bag which i used to store some homemade ham & cheese criossants that I made that morning. Given the heat and the time required to complete I wanted to stay off the gels & bars as long as possible. I also had my back pockets stuffed with bananas. I guess this is why I thought the food stops were ok, because I did not really need to rely on the food on offer (or lack thereof). I also saw more than one cyclist with a baguette attached to their top tube.

    When I did resort to gels I used Maurten which are expensive but are gentle on the stomach and don't contain caffine (which violently accelerates my need to use the toilet).

    I guess the best advice I got is to pace yourself which admittedly can be particularly difficult at the start when you are full of adrenaline and everyone races off on the flat to the bottom of Glandon.

    Don't underestimate the heat either. Again sensible pacing coupled with regular fluid intake should help.

    And your gearing sounds sensible because it should allow you to keep moving no matter how bad you feel.

    Like others I have difficulty sleeping ahead of an event like this but I managed to get my hands on some sleeping tablets which came in handy the night before.