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Archive for July, 2012

Col du Galibier – which side is harder?

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

One question we get asked quite a lot, Which is harder, Col d’Telegraph + Col du Galibier or Col d’Lauteret + Galibier?

The classic route is the Telegraph + Galibier which is 35km with 1924m climbing & the Lauteret + Galibier is 43km with 1897m climbing

Having cycled both ways a number of times and because it’s the classic route we have always said the Telegraph & Galibier is harder. Well I have changed my mind!

After cycling the Lauteret & Galibier on Sunday I decided it was harder, why? I can’t really explain except to say I find the Lauteret a tough grind and always struggle after La Grave, maybe its the total distance, maybe it’s that there is a 5km descent between the Telegraph and Galibier, maybe it’s that I prefer the slightly steeper climbs, whatever the reason I am sure it will create some more debate!

 

 

La Mi-Marmotte – a great race!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Last August, after probably too many red wines I (Lynne) agreed to compete in the Mi- Marmotte with Jane one of our guests as her partner James was doing the full Marmotte.

The mi-Marmotte is basically half the Marmotte sportive at 80km with 2400m climbing, it starts in Valloire goes over Col d’Galibier – descends the Lauteret & finishes at the top of Alpe d;Huez.

It is always good to have something to train for and even though my training didn’t go as well as I wanted, does it ever? I was always going to do the mi-Marmotte as soon as Jane & James booked to stay with us I was in. Once I have agreed to do something with someone, I do it unless there is a very valid reason.

Once our La Marmotte riding guests got underway, Alan took Jane & I over to Valloire for the start, it was a beautiful day, ideal for cycling not too hot and little wind.

This was the first long event I have done with a power meter so I had put together a ‘power plan’ with the help of my friend  Helen, the idea being to stop me going off to quick and blowing up at the end, it was a challenging plan but hopefully doable!

After much debate to Alan’s frustration about arm-warmers & gillet ‘to wear or not to wear’ I went without them calculating it would be warm enough descending and avoid me having to stop.

All was very relaxed at the start, in fact the most relaxing start to a ride / race I have ever had, about 200 riders, no blaring music and all very friendly. Quite a few Brits and Jane & I nattered away, always good to have someone you know on the start line.

At 10am we were off, straight up the Galibier, it was very hard to be disciplined to the power meter but I was determined, I just watched as a number of ladies went off, I just hoped I would catch them later. This was the first time I have climbed the Galibier without the Glandon & Telegraph in my legs, what a difference that made! I climbed well overtaking a few people, about 10.30 the first of the Marmotte sportive riders overtook – they were quick, not a chance of sitting on their wheels. As I approached the final km I was catching the lady I believed to be in 2nd or 3rd place, I got her just as we crested the summit. Totally the right decision to not have arm warmers or gillet, warm enough & no stopping.

Time to descend for my life, 32km virtually all down hill. I couldn’t believe it, I spent it all on my own with the occasional man over-taking, I was trying to remember all the things Alan had told me about how to descend quickly whilst trying to eat to get ready for the Alpe, that was multi-tasking! One day someone will make a fortune out of an energy bar that’s easy to eat whilst cycling.

We had planned for me to get drink and dump anything with Alan at the bar near ours. Only a slight hitch as I nearly hit the owners car as I came round the final corner of the Lauteret, all a bit over excited to see people I knew & be in 3rd position.

Pit stop done and it was Alpe d’Huez, once I had ridden through the cramp I got on the first bend it all came together, fantastic support all the way up & legs working. I really appreciate support it always gives me a lift and it certainly did up the Alpe. Once in Alpe d’Huez the road flattens and I could even use a different gear! As a rode to the finish, a tear came in my eye as the crowd clapped & I had nothing left!

Over the line 4hrs 4mins & 52 secs and 3rd female – fantastic, what a great day, made even better as when I got back home all the neighbours congratulated me.

On reflection:4 – 5 hour races are the longest I want to do, I can do them pretty well, I enjoy riding at my max more than conserving energy to get round something like the Marmotte, power meters are a superb tool and support is brilliant.

Finally I must thank Jane, James & Helen for assisting me in drinking one to many red wines which made me enter and Alan for his support. I would recommend the mi-Marmotte to anyone.