Riding La Marmotte, reputedly Europe's toughest cyclosportive. 175km, 5100m+ of climbing, and ascents of the Cols du Glandon, Telegraphe and Galibier, before a final ascent to Alpe d'Huez - for those who make the time cut!
9 Recce ride of the first 12km, followed by the "back route" up to Huez village
10 Getting warmer
11 On the Pas de la Confession, a stiff but quiet climb to Huez village. My first experience of alpine climbing!
12 Working hard on the final hairpins to Alpe d'Huez
13 Almost there!
14 Registration day
15 Very professional looking service trucks, straight from Le Tour
17 The 50 grand ski boot room
18 A short spin on the Col de Sarenne to keep the legs fresh
19 Team photo!
20 And another
22 Official Tour de France finish line, looks like a bus stop :-)
25 Carb loading. Pizza, the food of champions!
26 The big day dawns. Lots of cloud, no rain!
27 Waiting for our 7:50am start time
29 Climbing the Col du Glandon
30 Enjoying the first climb - it wouldn't last...
31 60km later, on top of the Telegraphe. Not so much fun now :-(
32 Grinding slowly up the Galibier after Plan d'achat. Now it's definitely "character building"
33 Faithful steed
34 A stop for a Coke at the cheese house at about 2300m. No hope of hitting the time cut now.
35 Near the summit of the Galibier, a smile for the photographer as it's almost over!
36 Amazing views and engineering to put a road over the 2600m summit. Shame it's a 12% gradient for the last few km.
37 The last summit - just 45km downhill to Bourg d'Oisons at a breakneck pace now.
38 On the broom wagon from Bourg up to the Alpe with Nico. Thank god it's over!
39 Well, that's it. Missed the time cut by an hour, but did 160km and about 4000m of climbing, my toughest ride ever. 9.5 hours riding, 11.5 hours elapsed. The Marmotte and I have unfinished business...!