La Marmotte

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!
IMG 0233  Bonza Bike Box hire put to good use  IMG 0235  View from the chalet hotel  P1000001  P1000002  P1000003  Weather not so good on arrival day!  P1000004 
P1000005  P1000006  Sunnier weather on the other side of the valley  IMG 0238  Recce ride of the first 12km, followed by the "back route" up to Huez village  IMG 0239  Getting warmer  IMG 0240  On the Pas de la Confession, a stiff but quiet climb to Huez village.  My first experience of alpine climbing!  TON37198  Working hard on the final hairpins to Alpe d'Huez 
IMG 0241  Almost there!  P1000010  Registration day  P1000011  Very professional looking service trucks, straight from Le Tour  P1000012  IMG 0244  The 50 grand ski boot room  IMG 0245  A short spin on the Col de Sarenne to keep the legs fresh 
IMG 0247  Team photo!  IMG 0249  And another  IMG 0251  IMG 0254  Official Tour de France finish line, looks like a bus stop :-)  IMG 0255  P1000014 
IMG 0256  Carb loading.  Pizza, the food of champions!  IMG 0257  The big day dawns.  Lots of cloud, no rain!  IMG 0258  Waiting for our 7:50am start time  IMG 0259  IMG 0260  Climbing the Col du Glandon  IMG 0261  Enjoying the first climb - it wouldn't last... 
IMG 0263  60km later, on top of the Telegraphe.  Not so much fun now :-(  IMG 0267  Grinding slowly up the Galibier after Plan d'achat.  Now it's definitely "character building"  IMG 0268  Faithful steed  IMG 0269  A stop for a Coke at the cheese house at about 2300m.  No hope of hitting the time cut now.  MAS06856  Near the summit of the Galibier, a smile for the photographer as it's almost over!  IMG 0270  Amazing views and engineering to put a road over the 2600m summit.  Shame it's a 12% gradient for the last few km. 
IMG 0275  The last summit - just 45km downhill to Bourg d'Oisons at a breakneck pace now.  IMG 0279  On the broom wagon from Bourg up to the Alpe with Nico.  Thank god it's over!  IMG 0280  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...!