Early July, a dozen of BBB riders went in the French alps for a weekend to ride the legendary Marmotte Grand Fondo. 180km, nearly 5.000m elevation gain including Col du Glandon, Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier and finally Alpe d’Huez.
Race report by Paul Renson.
On the first day, some of us decided to go for a warm-up ride including a recon of the Alpe d’Huez. Others decided to go easier and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the Alps, especially around Sarenne.
Télégraphe and Galibier is really where the real deal hit.
Sunday was race day. After a group start, everyone decided to ride at his own pace, considering the difficulty of what was still to come. Glandon up and down done, we grouped again for the long valley to Télégraphe.
Here, we could ride as a group at a steady pace as a team which was a highlight of the day for many of us. Télégraphe and Galibier are really where the real deal hits. It’s more than 30km of climbing, very little rest, and more than 30 degrees from now on. We all had to ride at our own pace, some racing, some … less
Still more than 20 degrees at the top of Galibier, we all knew that would mean it’s even warmer at the bottom, with a long valley and the Alpe still to come. Many of us stayed longer than we thought at the top of Galibier, enjoying fresh water and salty snacks. The descent is super long yet super fast. At the bottom, you have to push and it’s a part where you’re happy to have some company and ride with fellow riders.
Then… the legendary Alpe d’Huez. Burning hot. This is where you go as hard as you still can at this point.
Then… the legendary Alpe d’Huez. From the bottom, it was burning hot all the way up. This is where you go as hard as you still can at this point. Many of us stopped a few times with cramps or just to get water because of the heat. Yet, we all gave everything and managed to finish La Marmotte with lots of happy memories. And beers.
We regrouped at the chalet that evening to share stories and a well-deserved dinner. Legendary climbs, pushing yourself all day, and sharing stories with great company, this BBB weekend was the whole package of a perfect cycling experience.