La Marmotte is a one-day cyclosportive event in France, utilizing some of the climbs used in the Tour de France. The route is 174 km (108 mi) long and features more than 5180 metres of climbing. The event goes over the Col du Glandon, Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibier and finishes at the top of one the most famous Tour de France climbs, Alpe d’Huez. Boom, Simple!
The who and why?
Me and two friends, why not. Well, I’ll tell you why not……
Back at the end of 2009 my friend Alex sent me a link to La Marmotte, I was just back from doing 3 days in the Alps as part of a Macmillan Cancer Support challenge and thought it sounded like a good idea. I had trained hard for the trip with Macmillan and as a result had gone really well over all the major climbs that the Marmotte takes in, this was however over 3 days in September so a bit different to doing all of them in one day at the height of summer!
When I first broached the idea of doing this with Mission control (aka Mrs Hilts) she stated that training for this was not to interfere with family life and by the way she was pregnant again with number 3 child due exactly 1 month before the Marmotte. Hmmm, not ideal really, I’m pretty sure Lance Armstrong doesn’t spend the month before the tour pacing up and down with a screaming baby at 2am!
or lack of. I managed to convince myself that sweating in the garage on the Turbo trainer while watching re-runs of the 07 Tour de France on DVD would be a good way to get through the winter and I was right. I managed not to put on the obligatory 14lbs over Christmas and started the year in rude health and fit’ish… Over the course of spring I managed to fit in a few rides to work and back (which is a 47 mile trip each way) and one medium length sportive. So, when June arrived I was pretty much at my fighting weight of 13 stone (82 kilos) and feeling ok about the whole thing. I suppose the only nagging sense of doom came from the fact that I was looking for a time of around 9hrs for the Marmotte, and my longest training ride had been 4 hrs long…9hrs is a long time in the saddle and I had not ridden for that sort of time since the Etape du Tour in 2008 where I had bonked terribly after ‘forgetting’ to eat having been caught up in the excitement..