Martin and I are signed up for the 2008 La Marmotte this coming saturday, July 5th.
Update: We made it! See here for photos, video and trip report.
La Marmotte (along with l’Etape du Tour) are probably the most famous and two of the most challenging Cyclosportives in France.
Saturday’s course: 174 kilometres and +5,000 metres of ascent (+17,000 feet). Three epic, beautiful, and legendary climbs with the easiest being Alpe d’Huez (seriously).
I don’t know the final count but there should be around 8,000 riders! I am number 5,943.
Here’s a quick preview of each climb with % grade profiles and a zoomable map at the end:
Climb #1 Col de la Croix de Fer
Summit: 1,924 metres; 6,310 feet (note this is summit of Glandon)
The Climb: 29.2 kms (18.2 miles); Ascent: 1,360 metres (4,460 feet)
After a few flat kilometres, the first climb will start near Rochetaillée. the route will climb most of the classic South side of Croix de Fer. But 2 kilometres from the summit, it will turn left immediately reaching the summit of Col du Glandon.
It’s a long, tough climb with varying grade including steep stretches and small downhills in the middle. It gets easier at the top as you ride past Lac de Grand Maison
The descent down Glandon will be crowded and extremely fast and it’s a narrow road – careful. There were some serious crashes in 2006 and racers had to be let down 50 at a time.
Climb #2 Col du Galibier (& Telegraphe)
Summit: 2,642 metres (8,670 feet)
The Climb (from St-Michelle-de-Maurienne): 34.8 kms (21.6 miles); Ascent: 2,120 metres (6,950 feet);
First, one needs to climb Col du Telegraphe (1,566 metres). A pleasant climb through the alpine forest – and a descent challenge in it’s own right.
A quick descent to Valloire – the forest disappears and then it’s up, up, and up. The climb literally goes over the mountains. This is such a beautiful ride, remember to try and enjoy it during the suffering.
While the top is not excessively steep, the rarefied altitude will significantly add to the difficulty near the end. A truly awesome climb.
Climb #3 Alpe d’Huez
Summit: 1850 metres (6,070 feet)
The Climb: 15.2 kms (9.4 miles); Ascent: 1,150 metres (3,770 feet);
After descending Galibier via Col du Lautaret, you may be exhausted, but you will find yourself at the bottom of Alpe d’Huez and it’s 21 famous hairpins – each named for a former Tour stage winner here. The first two kilometres are very hard, the rest is just hard! Good luck and remember to enjoy the views!
To be clear, I don’t expect to finish this course – it’s really beyond my capabilities. And with my bad calf, my priority is not to aggravate the injury before our July Alps Tour. But we’ll see.