On Saturday, 7th July 2012, I am going to attempt one of the toughest challenges in amateur cycling – the world-famous La Marmotte sportif which starts in Bourg d’Oisans at the base of Alpe d’Huez in south-east France. It is around 112 miles in total distance, and takes the cyclist over 4 mountains, all made famous in their own right by Tours de France: the Col du Glandon (1,924 m), the Col du Telegraphe (1,566 m), the Col Du Galibier (a monstrous 2,645 m) and, right at the end, the Alpe d’Huez (1,860 m). The finish is at the top of Alpe d’Huez.
I’ve been training for this for months, concentrating principally on endurance. I’ve cycled this sort of distance and I’ve climbed hills of this magnitude many times, but not all in the same day! I’m not setting myself any time target – I just want to finish it. (However, it would be nice to get a gold award (brevet d’or)…..
Plan is to set out by car from Blighty on Tuesday, 3rd July and take a couple of days to travel through France down to a B&B just outside Bourg d’Oisans (Le Velo Jaune, http://www.bourgdoisansbandb.com/index.html) run by a fellow Team Milton Keynes member (Lynne Coldray). My poor, long-suffering wife will be with me and we will be sampling the delights of the area both before and after the event itself, leaving Bourg d’Oisans on 12th June and arriving back in Blighty on – gulp – Friday 13th! Superstitious? Moi??
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’ll be blogging on my progress. To give you some idea of what’s coming my way, read http://southdownvelo.blog.co.uk/2011/07/07/la-marmotte-11437627 and http://queenofthecols.blogspot.co.uk/. The second one is by Louise Clowes, whom I’ve never met, but hope to whilst I’m over in France. Good old Facebook and Twitter……