2010 La Marmotte – Success!


Perhaps the most painful fun ever. 174 kilometres, 5000 metres ascent (+16000 feet), over three of the most famous climbs in France.

How hard? Alpe d’Huez was the easy climb (see map for the nasty (sexy?) elevation profile below).

Yesterday, I completed my second Marmotte – in a heat wave. And while not fast by many standards, I managed to knock off 1 hour 24 minutes off my previous effort. I did really well until Alpe d’Huez, and then the heat nearly killed me. But the carnage of cyclists at each of the hairpins reminded me that a few others felt worse. The many supporters and the knowledge that I was almost done, kept me (slowly) pedaling. Very pleased.

Sadly, my bike’s video camera fell off in a tunnel descending Col du Lautaret – but fortunately I carry lots of devices. Here’s a video of the ride. 🙂

Here’s a few pics: many taken while on the bike:

Col du Galibier Alpe d'Huez Top of Galibier Col du Galibier Col du Galibier Lac de Maison Col du Galibier

Col du Galibier


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Great video! Looks like it was really hot. Hopefully the thunder and rain stayed at bay.

    Disappointed I didn’t make it this year.

    Well done Will!

  2. My deepest respect Will, you were and are fit on the bike! BTW, in your video, the part you made at the water stop before the start of Telegraphe, I see this misfit in the background who is wearing a cap instead of a helmet. What the heck, I thought “LE CASQUE, LE CASQUE!” was mandatory for this race. Well, anyway, he looks such a hobo, most likely never made it to Alpe d’Huez anyway. 😉


  3. Nice one young Will 🙂 1:24 off your old time is huge 🙂

    And yes, the helmetless guy at 1:00 in the video is clearly undernourished and helping himself to a free meal. You should have called the Gendarme 😉

  4. Friday 02/07 162kms
    Sat 03/07 178kms (La Marmotte-Special Hobo Edition without AdH)
    Sun 04/07 142 kms
    After this the scale indicated 72.7kgs (Sunday 17h00). Less than 24hrs later I clocked 77.7kgs. AT LEAST I’M FAST AT SOMETHING 😉

  5. Congratulations Will (and everybody else doing the Marmotte)! I was there too finishing on Alpe d’Huez after the – by far – longest and toughest ride of my life. I noticed the ‘Be Quiet’ signs all over the route but since my french sucks almost as much as my bike-riding I didn’t really pay attention. Was it a bad translation? Cheers, Jesper

  6. Jesper, Duncan, Congrautlations!

    Jesper, I believe the Be Quiet signs meant “descend slowly” 😉

    Agreed, Alpe d’Huez was HOT and difficult.

  7. Ha ha ha… was that what it meant? I thought they didn’t wanted us to disturb the neighbors or the wildlife – which didn’t really made sense, ha ha. Anyway, thanks for filming the event Will – you captured the beauty and the pain (not all of my pain – but that would be impossible to do)

  8. Congratulations Will ! Dur dur cette cyclo, peut être un jour j’essaierai mais pas avec ces températures trop chaudes, c’est un peu dangereux 😉

  9. Good job, pal and really nice pictures and video. Can´t wait to climb all this mountains by myself in two weeks time.

  10. Thanks for your response on my weblog.

    Well done Will and you made a wonderful video. Great job !!
    By the way your website is also amazing.

    Greets Angelo.

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  12. Wonderful website. I hope to do Marmotte in 2012. I did L’Etape in 2009 and it was travelling all the way from Australia.

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  14. Hello Will,

    I enjoyed your video. It brought back some good memories – I rode La Marmotte in 2005. It remains as the best single thing I have ever done on my bike! I never knew how many were entered in the event but there were 750 in my age group that year.

    I read some of the other comments regarding the signage. Maybe I am missing something here but the sign I saw at the top of Galibier said “Descente Dangereuse” which means simply “Dangerous Descent” in English. Nothing to do with being quiet.

    Good work.

  15. My hubby and I are doing La Marmotte in 2012! It looks so amazing! It is going to be so exciting, challenging and all of the emotions that go along with it. Nice work, maybe we will see you along the route. HAHA!!

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  19. Hey Will. We are coming to France in July to do this loop minus the Alpe Huez climb. Without that climb do you know how many feet of climbing the loop would be?



    • Rough math: La Marmotte has 5000 metres climb. Alpe d’Huez has roughly 1100m.

      So the loop minus Alpe d’Huez would have roughly 3900 metres of ascent or 12800 feet.

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