2008 Time-Megève Mont-Blanc Cyclosportive


Wow, I am tired!

Attracting several thousand riders, the Time-Megeve cyclosportive is one of the bigger cycling events in France.

There are three courses of varying difficulty. The listed distances were as follows (although the ascent data seems strangely and seriously overstated – perhaps by 1,000 metres on each leg).

  1. Blue Route (see map at bottom): 80 kms – 2,850 metres ascent (9,350 feet)
  2. Blue + Green: 110 kms – 3,930 metres ascent (12,900 feet)
  3. Blue + Green + Red: 140 kms – 4,810 metres ascent (15,800 feet)

The design of the event is very clever. You don’t register for a course. Instead you can decide during the race. 10 kms from the finish of the easy route is the turn off for the medium route. And at the top of the final climb of the medium route is the turn off for the expert route.

So if you feel good, you can “upgrade” to a harder route. My plan was the easy route, but I had my eye on the medium route. There was an arrival time cut-off to be permitted to take this route.

Here’s is short video showing me getting progressively more exhausted: 🙂

The start was in Sallanches and was a bit of a zoo. It took a while to cross the start line as it funneled into a narrow ramp to trigger our timing chips – bad planning.

Climb #1 – Col de la Colombière

Col de la Colombiere

After a fast 20 kms through the Arve valley, we reached the first climb: Col de la Colombiere – I took a pee and never saw Barry again. I saw the 2007 Tour de France on this great climb. Wow, the last three kilometres are steep! Although lots of people passed me, I was pretty pleased with my pace – but decided to only take a short snack break to keep the option of the medium route open.

Climb #2 – Col des Aravis

Col des Aravis Col des Aravis Col des Aravis Big Bike!

The second climb – Col des Aravis – is significantly easier. The last few kilometres are superb, big hairpins with big mountains on each side. By now most of the fast people (thousands!?) had already passed me, so generally I was passing people on the climbs and being repassed on the descents (wimp!). And this is a hairy, crazy, picturesque descent.

Climb #3 – Col des Saisies

col des saisies elevation Col des Saisies Col des Saisies

At the bottom was Flumet and time to make a decision. I knew Barry was probably already finished, but I felt pretty good and was well ahead of the cut-off time, so I bravely (stupidly?) turned right to climb Col des Saisies adding the green track on the map to my day.

I ate and drank so much I possibly gained weight. But the extra calories definitely stopped me from bonking near the end.

The route avoided the main road and took a superb quiet back road via Crest Voland that was new to me. I chatted with a funny French guy and let my pulse drop 3 beats, relaxing a little – I enjoyed this climb a lot.

A fast descent on a terrible surface and I had succeeded.

I am pretty pleased to have made it through the middle course. Woooohoooo! A great day.

At the car I took my tights off and we walked through town to get a coffee. On the walk back we noticed that my bike shorts were inside out – very stylish!

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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Fantastic ride Will! I know you feel truly accomplished and even with bruised/busted ribs. Congrats! I love the video… it really is nice to get a feel for the event and the French is a nice addition to learn. Thanks for the entertaining post.

  2. I knew it, I knew it. All the rides we did together you were holding yourself back. Great ride. And now off to slogfester’s blog for another portion of “sad I wasn’t there”.

    Oh yes, I trained too yesterday. Believe it or not, but Katy and I joined my parents for a 90km ride. Good fun for everyone and great ride for my parents as they are both well in there 60’s. But slow and flat for us. I can still hear my mum’s excited voice when we reached the bridge across the motorway: Go for it, go for it! She was genuinely convinced that the bridge would somehow make up for not being in the Alps. Sweet mom.
    And sure belgian beer is the best in the world. I had many, without the slightest effect on my “performance” 🙂

  3. Hi, Will!

    Have come across your site a couple of times already! Absolutely brilliant! Supplies with all information one needs and will certainly help me to prepare for upcoming events.
    Did the Time-Megève Mt.Blanc on Sunday as well and agree with you regarding the ascent data. Did the long run (with cramps in both thighs (flexor and extensor-hell!)) and had merely 3955m of ascent on my computer, thus 900 short of the announced 4810. Distance was matching!
    Ride on,
    Alex (Bavarian currently residing in Geneva)

  4. Hi Alex,

    Congratulations on doing the long course – and with cramps no less! I had to smile when you said “merely” 4,000 metres – still a huge day.

    I was about 1,000 metres below on the middle course – and distance was correct. I think this must have discouraged a lot of riders from trying the harder routes – or even entering. Strange.

    Eric – I hope you brought back some Belgium beer for the Dauphinée on Thursday 🙂

  5. Pingback: 2008 Challenge Update : Cycling Challenge

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